White Marlin Open Celebrates 50th Anniversary

“We’re thrilled to honor 50 years of hosting one of the most exciting and competitive fishing experiences in the world, right here in Ocean City, Maryland,” said Madelyne Rowan, Tournament Director. “Following this year’s tournament, we expect to surpass more than $100 million in cash rewards to our anglers, who we cannot thank enough for their continued support. We also want to recognize our long-term sponsors, partners, and most importantly, the amazing community of die-hard fans who show up year after year and make this a truly unforgettable experience.” 

New Anniversary Level Entry Category 

In celebration of the anniversary, a new white marlin ‘Winner Take All’ entry category has been added. The $50,000 category, also known as the “Anniversary Level,” will add to the millions of dollars already at stake for the heaviest white marlin. 

“It’s remarkable to reflect on 50 years of tournaments, especially back to our first event held in 1974. We drew 57 boats, and 150 anglers, and paid $20,000 in prize money,” stated Jim Motsko, Founder of the White Marlin Open. “Fast-forward to today and we continue to stay true to our mission of world-class fishing, with our added entry categories more than doubling that initial payout in 1974. Last year, we drew 408 boats, over 3,500 contestants, and awarded over $8.6 million in prize money, including the top individual prize of $4.53 million – a new world record award for the catch of a fish!”

Supporting Local Food Pantries 

The White Marlin Open invites anglers to donate their catch, making the WMO the largest supplier of protein to food pantries in Maryland annually. This year, the tournament will be partnering with Catch N Carry to clean, portion, flash freeze, and distribute donated fish directly to local food pantries throughout the Eastern Shore of Maryland. 

Marlin Fest 

Held at the Inlet from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm each day of the tournament, the free event welcomes families to bring beach chairs and blankets to spread out and enjoy live music and views of the anglers as they bring in their daily catches to nearby Harbour Island. Vendors will be onsite selling a variety of items including official Marlin Fest merchandise and White Marlin Open gear, as well as food and alcohol. 

This year, Marlin Fest will support the Ocean City Reef Foundation, an organization committed to the enhancement, and restoration, of Maryland’s seafloor by deploying reef substrates and monitoring coral coverage. The foundation’s goal is to build living reefs that will help bring back species of fish, lobsters, crab, and shrimp closer to shore. 

Marlin Fest is a free event, no ticket or registration is needed. Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are available—for more information contact sashawhitemarlinopen@comcast.net.