It’s hard to believe nearly 30 years have passed since the first MidAtlantic tournament. Back in 1992 the inaugural tournament, then known as the Mid-Atlantic $500,000, was founded as the country was coming out of a brutal recession and the event played an important role in rejuvenating the offshore fishing community. It was a bold step but a successful one indeed as over 125 boats gathered and battled for, at that time, the world’s largest cash purse as well over $1 million was paid out to the winners making the event the first million-dollar marlin tournament in the world.
Today, the MidAtlantic continues to set the standard for dockside service, hospitality and conservation as well as multiple large cash payouts each year. Spreading the wealth has been an important part of the event and last year another tournament record cash purse was distributed with well over $4 million paid out. No less than 11 winners received checks of six figures or more including Mike Yocco’s tournament record payout of $913,883 for the two heaviest tuna aboard his MJ’s! Additionally, eight other winners received payouts of $20,000 or more. Could this be the year for another tournament record purse or individual cash payout?
This year’s MidAtlantic is set for August 15-20 and once again Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey will serve as the tournament’s signature home port while Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland will again be the event’s satellite port. Participants may sail from either port but must designate their home port when registering.
Aaron Hoffman, Tournament Director for the MidAtlantic, notes it’s a good idea to sign-up early. “We’ve continued the port caps policy we instituted a few years back which allows us to provide the highest quality dockside service and hospitality for tournament participants,” Hoffman said, adding “Early registration has been brisk and we expect another strong turnout for this year’s tournament which should once again provide a cash purse of over $4-million.”
Tournament Week gets underway on Sunday, August 15 with Registration, Calcutta Entry, Welcome Party and Captain’s Meeting scheduled at both venues. Participants select three of five days from Monday, August 16 through Friday, August 20 to fish the offshore canyons. All boats must fish within 125 miles of the Cape May Sea Buoy regardless of their sailing port. Boats may not pass their inlet’s sea buoy prior to 3 a.m. and fishing hours are 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. All fish to be weighed must be at the scale of the marina of their designated sailing port by 9 p.m.
Cash prizes are awarded for the three heaviest white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, dolphin and wahoo. To qualify for cash prizes white marlin must weigh 65 pounds and measure 69 inches while blue marlin must weigh 400 pounds and measure 99 inches. Note all billfish are measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the fork of the tail. All billfish released and weighed will earn points and valuable awards will be presented to the top three point winners in both billfish categories as well as the top three tuna points winners based on points earned for tuna weighed. There’s also a high boat award for the most points overall.
The tournament’s cash purse is generated from a series of calcuttas, also known as side bets, and there are 11 in all. Entry to any, all or none is entirely up to the participant. New this year to help celebrate 30 years of MidAtlantic tournaments, the MidAtlantic 30th Anniversary Mega Marlin Calcutta will payout to its participants for the two heaviest white marlin and blue marlin. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from this specific calcutta will be split between three worthwhile organizations which benefit all anglers including the International Game Fish Association, The Billfish Foundation and Recreational Fishing Alliance. Entry fee is $3000 and covers all dockside hospitality for a crew of six.
Note that any local, state or federal protocols regarding Covid-19 which may be in place at the time of the tournament will be followed to ensure the health and safety of tournament staff, guests, sponsors and participants. For further information contact Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman at 609-884-0177 or visit the tournament’s website at www.themidatlantic.com.
– Jeff Merrill