OCEAN CITY- Ocean City will once again become the center of the sportfishing universe starting August 5 when hundreds of anglers and thousands of spectators gather in the resort for the milestone 40th White Marlin Open.
For four decades, the White Marlin Open has been one of the highlights of the summer season in Ocean City, a kind of crescendo before the downward slide into mid-August and the close of another summer season. Thousands of fishing enthusiasts will cram into host Harbour Island marina each day next week for a chance to see a potential million dollar fish raised at the scale. Over 300 boats typically compete in the annual tournament, recognized as one of the top billfish tournaments in the world.
Just as they have for decades, hundreds of spectators will line the seawall at the Inlet to watch the parade of boats chugging out to the canyons off the coast on Day One. Much has changed since angler Vince Soranson won the first White Marlin Open with a 68-pounder way back in 1974, but much has remained the same. The tournament gets underway on Monday, August 5, with the first of five official fishing days and participating captains and teams of anglers choose to fish three of the five days.
In some years, the winning fish in the signature white marlin category is caught on the first day and hangs on all week as challenger after challenger are brought to the scale. In other years, the winning fish is brought to the scale at Harbour Island at the 11th hour on the tournament’s last day.
In either case, there is never any shortage of drama in the tournament with millions in prize money at stake in several categories, including, of course, white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, dolphin, wahoo and shark. Thus far, after a lukewarm start, the offshore fishing season in Ocean City has started to heat up in the last few weeks as evidenced by the remarkable big-eye tuna bite during the Ocean City Tuna Tournament two weeks ago. In the last week or so, the number of reported billfish release has spiked up and wahoo have started making appearances around the marinas as the resort’s sportfishing fleet has started to gear up for the tournament.