The countdown is on...
49 Years and Over 95 Million in Prize Money
The White Marlin Open is a 49-year-old deep-sea fishing tournament held annually in Ocean City, Maryland. Long known as the “World’s Largest Billfishing Tournament,” the Open has awarded over $95 million for catches of the gamefish that migrate up the Gulf Stream each summer. The first tournament was held in 1974 and drew 57 boats, 150 anglers, and paid $20,000 in prize money. The 2022 event drew 408 boats, over 3,500 contestants, and awarded over $8.6 million dollars in prize money, including the top individual prize of $4.53 million dollars which established a new world record award for the catch of a fish!
Last Day Marlin Wins World Record Payout… Again
For the second year in a row, the last white marlin weighed netted a world record purse. In 2021, "Sushi" out of Ocean City, MD took the top white marlin at the last minute, and at the time collected (a then world record payout) of $3,200,000 for catching a fish. That record payout lasted just 10 months when angler Matthew Brown fishing aboard the "Mercenaria" in the 2022 Big Rock tournament out of Morehead City, NC weighed a 572.6-pound blue marlin and won $3,489,813.
During this year’s White Marlin Open (as they would say in fishing parlance), the billfishing was lousy. In 2016, 1445 billfish were caught, while the 2019 event saw a total of 1,504 billfish taken. But this year, the marlin were AWOL for most boats. A total of just 155 whites were caught with 151 released while 58 of the 59 blue marlin caught were released. And no marlin was even weighed until Thursday.
On day four, the "Cabana," out of Fenwick Island, DE, arrived at the scales with a 511-pound blue marlin. The blue was taken by Bill Britt from Sandy Spring, MD, to take first place as the only qualifier in that division. That fish held on until the end and Britt was awarded $1,208,420 for his efforts.