There’s usually not a lot of difference between large white marlin, and every one meeting the minimum length to be weighed becomes a  heartstopper for the leaders at the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Md. as a few ounces may mean millions of dollars.

The crew of Chasin Tail has led since Day 1 with a  74-pound white that’s currently worth $1,450,000, but they had to sweat out nine weigh-ins yesterday. Backlash barely missed catching up to them by eight ounces as they took over second at 73.5 pounds. Ironically, their fish is worth even more at $1.5 million as they are in more Calcuttas. The big loser was the previous second place boat, Reel Chaos, which dropped out of the big money when Cricket took over third with a 71-pounder currently worth $89,000.

I had some trouble with my late blog last night, but the feature of it was the weigh-in of the first blue marlin by Haulin N Ballin at 465.5 pounds. That blue would be worth $740,000 if it stands up,

Though Crisdel wasn’t challenged for first in tuna with their 201-pound bigeye worth $940,000, the relatively small tuna in second and third were moved out as Mjolnir boated a 145.5 -pound tuna and The Right Place was close behind at 135 pounds.


Game Changer leads in dolphin at 35.5 pounds, but Viking 72 moved into second with a 33-pounder. The Natural is way ahead in wahoo at 82 pounds, though Keepin It Reel took over second a 61.5 pounds.

The species count for Day 2 was again impressive with billfish. There were 473 whites released and nine boated for a total of 482 whites by the 335 boats that fished. There were also 23 blue marlin released in addition to the one weighed. Most interesting was the seven sailfish released after only one the first day. Sailfish are a rarity in the canyons. The other species landed were in modest numbers with just four tuna, three dolphin and one wahoo. That may be because leaderboads were filled and boaters didn’t bother weighing much smaller fish.

After most of the fleet sailed during the first two days with perfect weather, I figured few would do so today in order to save a day for the end of the contest. Yet, 120 boats headed out into a forecast of possible storms late in the day.  I’ll summarize the results later tonight.

Others seem to be having a hard time catching big fluke, but it’s been no problem for John Letizia. As noted in last week’s blog, he ran his boat out of Manasquan Inlet to the north to just miss doormat status with a 9 3/4-pound fluke. Yesterday he waited until his target  had lunch — and it weighed 10 pounds, 6 ounces as a true doormat.

Capt. Vinnie Vetere of Katfish from Great Kills said striper fishing was tough Tuesday, though one near 30 pounds was caught. He noted that jumbo porgies have moved into waters off the Rockaway jetty, and took his party there to load up on scup to 15.5 inches.

Bob Matthews from Fisherman’s Den in Belmar Marina reported better ocean fluking. The Ocean Explorer had a 10-pound, 5-ounce doormat last week along with 7-and8-pounders.  There are some keepers in the river for his rentals along with lots of shorts.  The surf has some small blues and stripers plus lots of kingfish. The mid-range grounds continue to produce bluefin tuna up to over 100 pounds with regularity.

The Monmouth County surf was good to Frank Manzi this morning as he caught four bass up to a rare legal 29-incher that was also released. Vinny D’Anton and I fished Shark River which looked good, but was dead. Just before leaving, with a thunder storm coming, Vinny caught a 26-inch bass on a Chug Bug  — and then I got the skunk off on my last cast as a fat 22-inch bass hit a Band of Anglers Spin Dart plastic.

Joe Melillo reports from Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant that the local surf came alive again with early morning cocktail blues plus some fluke, Spanish mackerel and small weakfish. Use small lures of an ounce or less.

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