Shawn J. Soper
OCEAN CITY- The threat of less than perfect weather and unpredictable seas kept the number of boats participating in the 14th Annual Captain Steve Harman Poor Girls Open down somewhat last weekend, but the event was another huge success with over $62,000 in prize money doled out and over $38,000 raised for the American Cancer Society.
With the high-dollar, high profile White Marlin Open out of the way, the lady anglers had the opportunity last weekend to head out to the canyons off the coast of Ocean City and compete in their own Poor Girls Open. The event, which typically falls on the weekend after the White Marlin Open, was founded in 1994 by the late Captain Steve Harman and his wife Pam to provide a ladies-only fishing event with the proceeds donated to a local charity.
In recent years, the American Cancer Society has been the charity of choice in conjunction with other “pink ribbon” events held in and around the Ocean City area. Last year, 114 boats participated in the Poor Girls Open, which generated over $50,000 for the ACS. This year, however, bad weather and rough seas resulted in smaller numbers with 74 boats participating and $38,500 raised for the American Cancer Society, bringing the two-year total to a remarkable $88,500.
Despite its charitable overtones, the event is still all about fishing and this year’s tournament produced some outstanding results from the 74 teams of lady anglers. The event got started last Thursday with the first official day of fishing and concluded when the scales at host Bahia Marina closed on Saturday.
For the record, a total of 21 white marlin were caught and released in the tournament with four blue marlin caught and released. There was also one hatchet spearfish, which mimics the characteristics of a white marlin, caught during the event. Several large tuna were caught during the tournament and weighed at Bahia Marina.
In terms of individual and team awards, the “Tuna Bite” took the tournament’s top honors with four white marlin releases and earned $21,042 in prize money. The “D.A. Sea” came in second with two white marlin and one blue marlin releases and earned $12,625. The “Hot Rod” came in third with three white marlin releases and earned $8,417.
In the Tuna Division, angler Erin Murray fishing aboard the “Reel Addiction” took the top honors with a 125.9-pounder worth $5,882. Angler Tina Fontana took second place with a 121-pound tuna worth $2,929, while Kristie Buchanan, fishing aboard the “Endeavor,” took third place with a 116-pound tuna worth $1,953.
Angler Beth Moore took first place in the dolphin division with a 16.9-pounder worth $5,324 while fishing on the “Lisa.” The “Marli” took second and third in the dolphin division with a 14.9-pounder caught by angler Nancy Haigley worth $2,594, and a 13.9-pounder caught by angler Diane Werking worth $1,729. The Junior Angler award went to 11-year-old Quinn Collins, who caught a 55.8-pound tuna. Collins was rewarded with a $100 savings bond from Taylor Bank along with two new rods and reels and a tackle box.
As always, the Poor Girls Open was a great success with lots of good fishing all for a worthy cause. Kudos go out to event organizers Joslyn Harman, Ben Greene, Earl Conley and Shawn Harman.