Annual White Marlin Open Gets Under Way in O.C. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Annual White Marlin Open Gets Underway in Ocean City

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

OCEAN CITY, Md.- The 43rd annual White Marlin Open kicked off in Ocean City on Monday morning.  The competition is said to be the largest billfish tournament in the world.

This year, 329 sports fishing boats from around the country have registered for the tournament and will vie for a combined total of a record $4.42 million in prize money. Anglers fish for white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, dolphin, mahi-mahi (dolphin fish), wahoo and shark.  Cash prizes are also awarded for billfish releases.

Anglers participating in the tournament got an early start Monday. The crew on the "Country Girl" shoved off from the Harbor Island Marina at 4:30 a.m. They had 80 miles to go before reaching a prime spot to fish. It is something crew member Justin Holder, of Sharpsburg, Md., looks forward to every year. 

"Good weather, good seas, and you know lots of fun with all the guys," he said. "I don't see them all the time through the years."

Joe Bezzosi and his crew on the "Matador" have been coming down from New Jersey since 1998.

"Oh, it's fishing and you're hoping that you're going to see something big and you've got something to come back to the scales with," he said. 

Bezzosi said being prepared early is important for a long day of fishing from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Neil Ashley, who is aboard the "Maverick" from Florida, is starting Tuesday. 

"I love to fish," he said. "Ocean City's got a great fishery, white marlin fishing's a blast. You get out there and you never know what you're going to get."

The competition will end Aug. 12 with weigh-ins every day at 4 p.m. at Harbour Island Marina, 14th Street and the bay.

"Everybody's down at the scales waiting to see them come in," Holder said. "We're right here by the scales. It's a great slip. We've had that every year." 

Bezosi said of the weigh-ins, "It's mayhem. We'll leave it at that."

For more information about the event, visit www.whitemarlinopen.com or call (410) 289-9229.

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