Each of the 353 registered boats are permitted to fish any 3 out of the 5 fishing days. There are different strategies involved when choosing the days to fish. Some teams prefer not to fish the first day to better learn where the fish were found before using their fishing days. Most will fish the first day if the weather allows. Others prefer a day between trips to recover from a day on the ocean, which can be brutal at times.
This year, the weather called the shots on which days most boats would fish: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Only 136 boats went out Monday and just 12 fished Tuesday. What that means is over 300 boats will be fishing each of the last 3 days in weather forecasted to be perfect for fishing. The early risers can expect a parade of 300 boats passing thru the inlet between 4 to 6 AM each day.
Of the $4,966,215 in prize money $3,800,000 is reserved for billfish and no qualifying white or blue marlin have been weighed. That money will be won over the next three days with the top white marlin winner potentially winning $2,000,000.
The big action so far has taken place in the tuna category. On Monday the Slabjack weighed in a 57 pound tuna that was worth $450,000 until the Millin Around out of Atlantic Highlands, NJ came in a few hours later with a 64 yellowfin taking the Slabjack’s $450,000.
Of the 12 boats that fished Tuesday, the Blue Runner out of Point Pleasant, NJ had the best day. James Boynton from Situate, NJ weighed in a 67-pound tuna good for $460,000 and knocking Millin Around down to 2nd and $100,000. Also off the Blade Runner, James Keely from Dayton, OH added $30,000 to the boat winnings with the third place 60-pound tuna. Boynton and Keeley told of slow ocean that suddenly light up. “A little after noon the ocean suddenly came alive. Birds started gathering, bait fish were breaking the water and the ocean just light up,” Boynton related. “At 12:22 the first tuna hit and over the next 2 hours it was crazy.” Of the 5 tuna they caught, 4 on at one time.
In summary, 300 boats will fish each for the next 3 days seeking to claim a share of the $4,400,000 that’s not yet on the board.