Furious Friday Finds Big Flux in Fishermen’s Fortunes

In the most dramatic finish in the 48- year history of the White Marlin Open, over $6 million dollars changed hands in the final hour of weigh-ins at Harbour Island Marina on Friday.

Mike Atkinson off the “Fender Bender” (both from Virginia Beach, VA), weighed the first fish of the tournament. Until the last 30-minutes, his 82.5-pound white marlin was winning $5,000,000! As the line of boats with fish to weigh dwindled to the final three, there was one boat flying a white marlin flag. It was the “Sushi” out of Ocean City, MD with angler Butch Wright from Arnold, MD aboard. Wight’s white marlin tipped the scales at 85.5 pounds, taking $3,200,000 from the “Fender Bender,” leaving them a very respectable $1,800,000. Rounding out the white marlin division the “Billfisher”, also out of Ocean City, MD weighed a 78.5-pound white caught by Billy Gerlach from Jupiter, FL worth to take third and$105,000.00.

The blue marlin division saw the same change of fortunes. The second fish weighed on Monday was a 559-pound blue marlin taken by Chris Perry aboard “Mama C”, both also from Virginia Beach, VA. Like the “Fender Bender”, Perry’s fish was winning $1,000,000 until the last hour. Late Friday, Scott Zurawski from Avalon, NJ fishing aboard the “Canyon Lady” out of Cape May, NJ weighed a 511-pound blue marlin that shaved $250,000 from the “Mama C” winnings but left Perry in first place, for a while. Then things got crazy. The “SEVEN” out of Jupiter, FL had made a successful trip to the scales earlier in the week. Angler Lawrence Morejon from Stuart, FL had weighed a 137-pound tuna on Monday that took first place and the $1,200,000 that came with it. On Friday, they showed up to the scales again flying a boated white marlin and blue marlin flags. Their white marlin weighed in at 72-pounds and took over third place. It was their blue marlin that electrified the crowds. The fish caught by David Cash from Palm Beach Gardens, FL strained the scales at 775-pounds, vaulting into first place to add another $1,100,000 to their winnings! No boat in 48 years had ever won two divisions.Their white marlin was pushed out of the top three when the “Sushi” showed up  at the last minute, but the boat still ended up with $2,220,000 and the respect of all the other teams. The final blue marlin winnings were the “SEVEN” with $1,100,000, the “Mama C” netting $240,000, and the “Canyon Lady” taking $95,000.

There were some big winners in the tuna division. In addition to the $1,100,000 taken by the “SEVEN”, “A Few G's” out of Furnace Creek, MD took $270,000, the “Cookie Monster” from Dover, DE earned $100,000, and three boats tied with $80,000: “Kilo Charlie” from Ocean City, MD, the “Real Chaos 62”, and the “Reely Chaotic” out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. In the wahoo category a monster 84-pounder off the "El Azul" took first, the “Island Hopper” took second with a 48.5-pound fish, but the big winner was the third-place fish. The “Oysta Gangsta” out of Seaford, DE was also in the small boat division and their total prize money of $90,000 was earned by Tim Richardson from Easton, MD for his 46.5-pounder. There were five $18,000 plus winners in the dolphin division lead by 31.5-pounder taken aboard the “Kilo Charlie” from Ocean City, MD. The other $20,000 included: “Point Runner”, the “Due Course”, the “Boy's Toy”, and the “Catch 23”
Rounding out the gamefish leaderboard was the shark division were the “Go Fish” out of Middle River, MD weighed a 132.5 and a 131-pound to take $4,500 for the two catches.

For a full list of all winners visit our website: whitemarlinopen.com

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