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.

Thursday also saw the "C- Student" out of Southside Place, TX, weigh a 71.5-pound white marlin good for first place and a temporary grasp of $2,800,000 for angler Keeley Megarity from Houston, TX. The "C- Student" wasn’t as lucky as the "Cabana" because on the final day at 6:20 PM, the "Billfisher" out of Ocean City, MD pulled up to the scale and Jeremy Duffie from Bethesda, MD turned the leaderboard upside down by weighing a 77.5-pound white marlin moving him into first place. The "Billfisher" was across the board with all the added entry skill levels and reclaimed the title for the largest price ever paid for catching a fish: a staggering $4,536,000. Duffie’s fish took almost $2,000,000 from the "C- Student" leaving them with a still respectable $197,000 for their 2nd place white.

There was a lot of money shared in the tuna divisions lead by 247.5-pound bigeye taken by Jason Hersh from Maple Glen, PA. Hersh was fishing aboard the "Southern C's" out of Ocean City, MD, and received a check for $1,278,197. The "Big Stick" also out of OC, MD took 2nd place tuna with Anderson Bowen from Suwanee, GA weighing a 246.5-pound bigeye good for $152,405.00. Because they were in more of the added skill levels, the 242.5-pound bigeye taken off the "Komotose" out of Manteo, NC netted $437,918 to Richard Hawse from Pasadena, MD. 

The wahoo division saw approximately $74,000 split among the "Jenny Poo" out of Palm Beach, FL which took $24,566.00 for a 71-pounder caught by Chris Thompson from Mount Airy, MD. $23,566 was awarded to Hans Mulford from Seaford, DE fishing on the "Water Marlin" out of Seaford, DE for their 54-pounder. Third place wahoo was a 51-pounder taken by Patrick Brown from Miami, FL aboard the "Irish Twin" winning $22,566 for his effort.

The "Irene" out of Stuart, FL took first place in the dolphin division with a huge 59.5-pound fish caught by Frank Sinito Jr from Cleveland, OH who earned $31,297. It was the 29-pounder taken aboard the "10-4 Joker" out of Chincoteague, VA that earned the biggest dolphin payday. Because they were also in the small boat heavy dolphin added entry, Vernon Merritt Jr. also from Chincoteague, VA netted $104,447 for his efforts. The 28-pound dolphin caught off the "JEB" out of Ocean City, MD earned $28,297 for Lutherville, MD native Vince Piccinini.

The most prestigious categories in the WMO are unseen. They are for the boats and anglers that release the most billfish during the event.

The Top Anglers in the 2022 WMO were:

  1. Bill Haugland on the "Lights Out" with 490 pts.
  2. Kelly Weber on the "Max Bet" with 420 pts.
  3. Victor Roof on the "Miss Maxine" with 420 pts.
  4. Noah McVicker on the "Billfisher" with 350 pts.
  5. Rusty Reddish on the "Bar South" with 350 pts.

The Top Female Anglers in the 2022 WMO were:

  1. Kelly Weber on the "Max Bet" with 420 pts.
  2. Virginia Rodriguez on the "Par Five" with 315 pts.

The Top Boats in the 2022 WMO were:

  1. "Billfisher" 708 pts
  2. "Mama C" 700 pts
  3. "Lights Out" 490 pts
  4. "Hydrosphere" 490 pts
  5. "Catch 23" 455 pts