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The offshore tournament season is in full swing, with $4.97 million awarded in last week’s White Marlin Open and a purse of over $3 million expected in the MidAtlantic kicking off August 20.
By Jim Hutchinson, Jr.  |  August 14, 2017
The Canyon Club docks are a bustle of activity during the 2014 MidAtlantic. According to tournament director Aaron Hoffman, there are still slips available for the 2017 tournament which kicks off on Sunday, August 20 with registration and welcome party. Photo by John DeBona.

With just minutes to spare before the official close of the 2017 White Marlin Open scales at Harbour Island Marina in Ocean City, MD, a local boat called the Wire Nut made the 4 p.m. bridge and hit the weigh-in with a 95.5-pound white marlin. It was a first billfish for angler Glen Frost of Stevensville, MD, and the third largest white marlin ever caught in the 44-year-old event.

Narrowly edging out the 86-pound white caught off The Griffin from Palm Beach, FL on Wednesday by Wilmington, DE angler Mike Donohue, Frost’s white marlin earned his crew first place in the 44th annual White Marlin Open and $1,654,800 in prize money. That fish cost Donohue $1,400,000 but his team aboard The Griffin still earned $1,525,964 for the 2nd place white. MR Ducks fell to third with earnings of $164,673.

The tuna category produced eight winners including a White Marlin Open record $866,553 tuna payout to Joe Sadler off the Intents both from Jupiter Florida. Other top tuna winners were $90,380 to James Boynton of Situate, MA fishing aboard the Blue Runner out of Manasquan, NJ for their 67-pound tuna. The Warden Pass from Cape May, NJ carried Buena, NJ resident Kris Rainear who caught a tying 67-pound tuna and earned $52,950.

A total of 353 boats entered last week’s White Marlin Open, competing for a total tournament purse of nearly $5 million in prize money. Next week, many of these same crews will be doing it all again as the 2017 MidAtlantic Tournament gets underway at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, NJ and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, MD for the 2017 edition of sportfishing’s “Main Event.”

The week’s festivities get underway on Sunday, August 20 where entry registration and calcutta entries will take place during a Welcome Cocktail Party sponsored by Interlux/Awlgrip in Cape May and Alexseal in Ocean City. Tournament participants select three days to fish offshore during MidAtlantic tournament week from Monday, August 20 through Friday, August 25.

Last year, 35 winners won part of a record cash purse of nearly $3.16 million in the MidAtlantic including nearly $750 thousand to the heaviest white marlin winner and $530 thousand to the blue marlin winner. In fact, the 2016 record billfish catch in the contest included over 800 white marlin and blue marlin, of which over 93% were released.

With a seven-figure payout out of last week’s White Marlin Open and an intensifying marlin bite in recent weeks, there’s definitely a sense of excitement in the air which comes around in late August every year. According to Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman, pre-registration for this year’s MidAtlantic is up considerably from 2016.

“We’re ahead of where we were last year at this time with entries up at both Cape May and Ocean City,” Hoffman said, adding “in fact, we’re seeing a lot of new participants signing up in Cape May. With port caps set at 95 boats for each tournament port and entries continuing to stream in on a daily basis it’s quite possible last year’s record $3.1 million payout may be surpassed!”

Hoffman said there is still dockage available for those interested in participating. Contact Aaron Hoffman at 609-884-0177 for tournament information or sponsorship information or visit the tournament’s official web site at www.themidatlantic.com where you’ll find all the details pertaining to this year’s event including a schedule, rules, calcutta breakdown and printable tournament brochure and entry form.

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