The 51st edition of the Beach Haven White Marlin Invitational Tournament (WMIT) wrapped up Saturday, July 25 with the 62’ Viking, Business, winning the white marlin championship with a pair of white marlin releases. The 46’ Hatteras, Sun Runner, won the tuna championship with a 133-pound bigeye. The winning crews earned approximately $19,000 and $40,000, respectively.
“This year’s tournament was a great success”, noted Dave Ridley, tournament director. “Despite the obvious headwinds from COVID-19, the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club (BHMTC) is extraordinarily proud to have been able to continue on with this year’s tournament as we have for 50 consecutive years.”
As they say, the two elements you can’t control are the fishing and the weather; but outside of the COVID-19 and other uncontrollable factors, prayers were mostly answered in 2020 with only a couple of stormy days during the WMIT and “fairly mediocre fishing” as Ridley put it.
“Every year is different, but the marlin bite just wasn’t on this year and a lot of the tuna were within a few pounds of one another which at least adds to the excitement and competition,” he said. A total of 28 boats fished their pick of two of the five available fishing days in pursuit of high boat awards and payouts totaling $114,000.
While Business and Sun Runner were the respective winners of the Marlin and Tuna categories, there were a handful of other participants who won significant money including first time tournament Cap’t Reub out of Point Pleasant earning $26,000 with a 55.2-pound yellowfin tuna and longtime WMIT participant, Jersey Nutz, with multiple tuna from 46 to 52.2 pounds for a respectable $17,000.
“There is little doubt that we will look back to 2020’s tournament and consider it nothing short of a successful, safe and enjoyable week of fishing. It was different without crowds cheering the weigh-ins, but there was a great vibe amongst the participants and the feedback from participants has been positive,” Ridley noted.
Sponsors of this year’s WMIT included Manahawkin Jeep/DiFeo Auto Group, South Jersey Yacht Sales, Marine Max, Jersey Cape Yachts/Jersey Cape Yacht Sales, TC Irons Insurance, Viking Yachts, Structure Tone Construction, Fisherman’s Headquarters and Morrison’s Marina.