OCEAN CITY – The weigh scale at the Harbour Island Marina was a busy place for the second straight day on Tuesday as the leaderboard was shook up from top to bottom.
White Marlin Open officials reported 310 of 398 boats fished on Tuesday. Boats can fish three of the tournament’s five days, and it’s unusual to have two back-to-back busy days to kick off the Open, which is the largest and richest billfishing tournament in the world. It’s unknown this morning how many boats are fishing today.
Although most of the divisions changed yesterday, the high-dollar white marlin race did not, as the “Intrinsic” of Annapolis and angler Craig Ziegler of Woodstock, Ga. Remained in first place with the 71.5-pound beauty weighed in on Monday. The fish is worth $1.4 million after two days of fishing. In second place in the white marlin category is the “Triple Crown” of Palm Beach, Fla. and angler Gary McCullay of New Hope, Pa. with a 70-pounder worth $182,819.
The action heated up early on Tuesday as the “Gale Force II” of Snug Harbor, Md. was waiting at the docks at 3 p.m. with a large blue marlin. When the fish was hung, it tipped the scales at 590 pounds, capturing first place and giving Berlin angler Bill Matthews a potential payday of $291,390. That beast knocked Monday’s 567-pound blue marlin, hooked by Bob Belansen of Cape May, N.J. aboard the “Beast,” into second place. Due to added entry levels, the second-place fish is worth $554,530.
The tuna division has been competitive this year, although nobody on Tuesday threatened the massive tuna hung on Monday by Jonathan Stallings of Garner, N.C. aboard the “Wet Floors” of Morehead City, N.C. However, Stallings’ 259-pound tuna is worth only $2,000 because the boat did not enter any of the added entry levels.
Consequently, the 191-pound tuna landed by “Ursula Priscilla” of Indian River, Del. and angler Rob Grodzicki sits to make $242,817. Rounding out the tuna division is a 160.50-pound beauty hooked on the “Rhonda’s Osprey” of Singer Island, Fla. by Bill Schatzman of Wilmington, Del. That could earn the crew $94,237. Rounding out fourth place is a 134-pounder caught by Lucas Giple of Annapolis aboard the “Centaur.” It’s worth $36,895.
Leading the dolphin category is Patrick Sciacca, who hooked a 23.5-pounder while fishing on the “Blinky III” of Freeport, N.Y. It’s worth $6,500.
There has been some excitement in the wahoo division this year, and a local angler was largely responsible for some oohs and aahs at Harbour Island last night. Local businessman Stephen Lewis and the “M.R. Ducks” of Ocean City came to Harbour Island with a 83.5-pound wahoo, big enough to take over first place and stand to make the boat $4,000. The huge wahoo would have won the last 17 of 20 tournaments and is clearly the favorite heading into today. Rounding out the top catches in the wahoo division are a 74.5-pounder, which was caught by Paul Crampton of Funkstown, Md. aboard the “Marlin Magic” of Hampton, Va. and a 66.5-pounder boated by Kevin Mundy of Selbyville, Del. aboard the Kristalena of Swann Keys, Del.
Michael Brennan of New York and the crew of the “Smoker” of Manteo, N.C. continues to hold down the shark division with Monday’s 111-pounder worth $6,500.
After two days of fishing, 152 white marlin have been caught and released and nine have been boated. On the blue marlin front, 36 have been released and three have been boated.
Throughout the week, The Dispatch will be updating its website with daily recaps of all the White Marlin Open action. Friday’s print edition will feature all the leading fish in photographs and a recap of all the action after three days of fishing.