OCEAN CITY- The 31st Annual Ocean City Shark Tournament held last weekend is in the books, and with a renewed conservation effort including a partnership with renowned artist and conservationist Guy Harvey, the release division was the major focus of the event this year.
Just 40 boats participated in the 31st Annual Ocean City Shark Tournament last weekend out of the Ocean City Fishing Center, but there was no shortage of action. Just three makos were actually weighed at the scale over the course of the three-day event. With a greater emphasis on the release division, competitors released 100 sharks of various size and species offshore.
For years, the focus of the tournament has been on the conservation of and education about sharks. This year, tournament organizers, with the partnership of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, expanded on the conservation effort with greater incentives for the participating boats and anglers to release more sharks and bring fewer to the scales. As a result, three makos were weighed at the scale at the Ocean City Fishing Center while 100 were released and documented offshore.
In the Mako Division, the crew aboard the “Nontypical” continued its recent run of success in the shark tournament, and in resort-area tournaments in general, with angler Jim Hughes’ first-place mako, a 224-pounder worth a tournament-high $26,670. Shark tournament enthusiasts recall the “Nontypical” crew won the 2009 event with an 876-pound mako that set a new state record that had stood for decades.
Second-place in the Mako Division went to angler Nick Kuba and the crew aboard the “Triple Threat” with a 174-pounder worth $1,806. Angler Chuck Duban and the crew on the “Stress Reel-Ief” took third place in the mako division with a 155-pounder worth $15,444, which was higher than the second-place award because of added entry levels.
In the Release Division, it was Captain Terry Layton and the “Nontypical” crew taking first place with 38 total points for five makos, four tiger sharks and one dusky worth $14,193. The crew aboard the “Cool Hand Luke” was second in the release division with 36 total points for six sandbar sharks, five hammerheads and two dusky sharks worth $3,306. The “Restless Lady” was third in the release division with 30 total points, while the “Fish Box” was fourth with 22 points.
Angler James Kirk took first in the tuna division with a 43-pounder worth $720, while Tim McGuire on the “Nontypical” took first in the dolphin division with a 32-pounder also worth $720. Captain Terry Layton and the “Nontypical” crew also took home Sharker of the Year honors. The title is awarded to the captain and crew that accumulates the most total points in the Mako Mania and Ocean City Shark Tournament combined.