White Marlin Open Celebrates 50th Anniversary
The White Marlin Open (WMO), the world’s largest offshore billfish tournament held annually in Ocean City, today announces plans for its 50th anniversary tournament week, presented by Pure Lure. Held from August 7 through August 11, anglers will have the opportunity to hook a record-breaking white and blue marlin, tuna, wahoo, swordfish, or dolphin. Tournament Directors expect the purse for this year’s event to be over $10 million, and have added a new $50,000 entry category. Additionally, for the third year in a row, Marlin Fest will coincide with the tournament – a free viewing event located on the beach at the Inlet featuring a festival-like atmosphere as well as real-time, unobstructed views of the live stream of the tournament weigh-ins via large screens.
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.