There were 213 boats fishing today in the White Marlin Open out of Ocean City , Md. , and if they don’t shake up the standings it will almost surely happen tomorrow since 335 boats still have a day of eligibility to fish the conclusion.
Nothing is unbeatable, but Joe Rahman must be comfortable with the 881-pound blue marlin he opened the contest with. If no others are weighed, he’s good for $700.000. A blue was brought in yesterday on Sea Note, but it didn’t make the 114-inch minimum length to be weighed.
The big winner so far is Bill Haughland on Lights Out with a 75-pound white marlin worth $2.4 million. He’s had to sweat out a few smaller whites brought in that made the minimum length but not the 70-pound minimum weight.
Also looking good is the dolphin leader of 50 pounds caught by Louis Genello on Fin-Nominal. Large dolphin have been scarce during tournaments since last year. The wahoo lead changed again last night after I had done my late blog. Kenny Sexton brought in a 58-pounder on Desperado just three minutes before the scale closed.
It’s the tuna category that’s prime for a shake-up. Only medium yellowfins have been weighed so far, and not many of them. The Canyon Runner fleet from Point Pleasant has had record-breaking bigeye tuna fishing this year, and both boats are in this contest. However, the northern canyons are beyond the 100-mile limit from Ocean City. There was a big change yesterday as Blinky IV from Point Lookout, N.Y. took over first for $520,000 with a 73.5-pounder,
I’ll have an update on today’s weigh-ins later tonight.
Capt. Rob Semkewyc had good news about fluke action today on his Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands. Everyone caught lots of fluke though keepers weren’t easy to come by.
The Jamaica from Brielle caught a dolphin and some bonito among the small blues, chub mackerel and sea bass on Wednesday’s trip. They have several August specials. Go to their web site for savings.
Capt. Vinny Vetere continues to catch stripers up to 35 pounds from his Katfish out of Great Kills. He lost the bunkers for bait after waters were clouded from heavy rains, but they’re back. He’s open for Saturday.
There are some small stripers in the surf, but finding them isn’t easy. I tried the Belmar surf this morning, It was beautiful, but I never raised a thing. Vinny D’Anton was fishing a few miles south of there and came upon a area where he raised seven bass to his Chug Bug and released three from about 17 to 23 inches. Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park reported some small blues were caught in the surf on metal last evening. Fluke fishing remains the best surf bet. Some rays and brown sharks are being caught at night.
Can you say hot? Despite the heat inland, the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are finding beautiful conditions once they clear the inlet on their fishing trips. The water is clean, the seas have been calm, and the temperatures are much more comfortable than onshore. When you throw in some nice catches of fish, It adds up to ideal fishing conditions.
As an example, the “StarFish with Captain Carl Sheppard along with mates Marlyn Graham and Max Goldman had a group of avid anglers out on their second trip of the year. According to Max, they “threw back tons of fluke” while boating six fluke up to 23-inches. The ocean temperatures were a balmy 74-degrees with the calm breezes making for long slow drifts.
There is action offshore also. Captain Ray Lopez had the Senker group out on the “Miss Liane” for a non-stop day of tuna fishing about 50 miles offshore. The crew left the dock at 2am and began trolling early in the morning. The fish cooperated as the group put four yellowfin tuna in the box ranging from 30 to over 40-pounds. The offshore action is as hot as the weather.