When the fishing stops at 3:30 PM each day, most boats are from 2 to 4 hours offshore, so the heaviest weigh-in activity occurs between 5:30 and 7:30 PM. The exception to that schedule can occur when a boat catches a big fish early in the fishing day that may move the leaderboard. The theory is that a dead fish will lose some weight over time and it’s best to weigh the fish as soon as possible. In those cases, the boat may decide to skip extra fishing hours to be at the scale by the 4:00 PM start of weigh-ins. Today the Auspicious was waiting for the next bridge and came under the bridge flying a blue marlin boated flag. The sleek vessel out of Palm Beach, FL glided to the HI scales to the cheers of the waiting crowd. Angler Joe Rahman said later that when the blue marlin came all the way out of the water to attack the bait, he thought it was big. Rahman’s hunch was correct as the scale flashed 881 pounds which turned out to be the 6th largest blue marlin in the 45-year tournament history. For this year’s Open, Joe’s fish jumped into first place and is currently holding the $700,000 first place money.
Once the 4:55 Bridge opened, the flow of boats was constant with various fish to weigh with a few additions to the leaderboard. The Full Pull and El Camino, both out of OC, MD came up a bit light with their white marlin. But some big money tuna quickly followed starting with the Brass Monkey out of Leonardtown, MD. The tuna flag was flying and so was the angler Jake Pilkerton when his 71-pound tuna jumped into first and a current hold on the $960,000.00 first place money. Ocean City boats scored well with tuna as Rhonda's Osprey angler Jack Melocik weighed a 54.5-pound tuna good for 2nd and $85,000.00 followed by OC’s Uno Mas carrying angler John Mothershead with a 52.5-pound tuna good for 3rd and $12,000.
This, however, is the White Marlin Open where the one constant is change. This year, as soon as the 3 tuna slots were filled, along came the raiders - modern day pirates who plunder and pillage other people’s money, not by a sword but with a bigger fish. First came Dialed In from Spring Lake NJ with David Rose who weighed a 69 pound tuna which took 2nd place and the $85,000 from Rhonda’s Osprey without a fight. That left Rhonda’s Osprey with a respectable $34,000… for another 20 minutes. In sails the Makai out of Indian River, DE with a 61-pound tuna that was more effective in snatching the $34,000 from Rhonda’s Osprey than a blunderbuss.
Rounding out the money winners were the 3 top dolphin all caught off Ocean City, MD boats: Moxie Boys angler Rob Overfield weighed a 36-pounder worth $17,000.00, and the Halcyon weighed a 30-pounder worth $2,000 and Miles Norris 22.5-pound dolphin good for $1,000.
There is a lot of fishing left and millions of unclaimed prize money. The tournament has 4 days of good weather projected and a lot of fishing left to go.