It is fitting that the “World's Largest Billfish Tournament” is held in “The White Marlin Capital of the World.” In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt bestowed that title to Ocean City, Maryland and to this day, no better white marlin fishing can be found. In 1974, the first White Marlin Open drew only 57 boats but its popularity grew quickly and by 1977, the 147 registered boats outdrew all other billfish tournaments in the world – an honor the WMO has maintained annually for the past 39 years. This 44-year-old symbiotic relationship has only reinforced these well-earned titles. Last summer’s event saw 328 registered boats catch and released over 1,300 white marlin. Large tournament with many fish. Roosevelt’s pronouncement proved prophetic.

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World’s Largest & Richest Billfish Tournament?

What factors justify the claim of “World’s Largest & Richest Billfish Tournament?”  The number of boats or anglers entered, the total prize money awarded or the top cash award?  All of the above?  It is clear is that the White Marlin Open is a very big fishing tournament, but how does it defend the “Largest and Richest” tag?  There are a number of long established offshore fishing tournaments on both coasts that have drawn anglers for generation.  The Silver Sailfish Derby, established in 1935 by the West Palm Beach Fishing Club, the 58th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament out of Morehead, NC, the 25th Annual Mid-Atlantic out of Cape May, NJ, the 34th annual South Jersey Shark Tournament, the 28th Annual Ocean City Tuna Tournament are a few of the long established sportfishing tournaments in the US.  The Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament is the largest outside the US and has paid large awards since 1981 for winners of their Cabo San Lucas event.    The largest tournaments (in number of boats and the biggest payouts) center on marlin fishing.

Participation:  As far as boat/angler participation, the Open is way past “large.”  As noted by Marlin Magazine, "By any measure, the White Marlin Open is a big one."  From the 56 boats that entere...

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