Following up my late night blog, the official press release from Jeff Merrill appears at the end of this blog as there was an exciting finish to the MidAtlantic. There were no blue marlin qualifiers until the last day, even though it was an exceptional tournament for blue marlin releases.

My unofficial record of having the largest blue marlin that never won a cent in this contest still stands. In 1996 I was fishing with Bernard and Drew Dinardi on their Ab-solutly when I boated a 503-pound blue which would often be a winner. However, that was a year of big blues, and we got knocked out of third place by the winner on the last day. The Dinardis did win the Blue Marlin Points Trophy as we also had a release, but I believe that was the only time a 500-pound blue didn’t win any money.

Particular congratulations are due to Haulin ‘n’ Ballin for following their blue marlin win at the White Marlin Invitational with  another at the MidAtlantic. Though Uno Mas lost their white marlin weigh-in lead on the last day, they also had 10 releases the day their leader was caught – leading to easy wins in the most overall points and white marlin trophy races. — after having finished second among Top Release boats at the White Marlin Open.

The northeast wind that blew in today made it tough on boaters and surfcasters. I didn’t last long at Manasquan as even my 2-ounce Tactical Anglers Bomb Jr. was buried in the white water even though it cast well into the wind. The forecast for Sunday is similar with a small craft advisory. The northeast wind will be gusting to 20 knots.

That didn’t bother the Jamaica from Brielle, as they had good jigging for small blues early before chumming to catch some bonito plus sea bass and a few more blues. Some fares had limits, and Jeffrey Wisher of Philadelphia won the pool with a 4 1/2-pound blue.

Jeff Merrill’s official press release follows:


Dramatic Finish as White Marlin, Blue Marlin Dominate Final Day!

Several Tournament Records Broken as 2019 MidAtlantic Comes to a Close!

Iwas a day for billfish and another nail-biting finish at sportfishings Main Event as Moving Day once again lived up to its storied reputation on the final day of the 2019 MidAtlantic!  This tournament has a long and exciting history of major changes to the leaderboard on the final day of the event and this years Day Five was epic to say the least as the leaderboard once again took a beating in two of its major categories.  With a tournament record $3.52 million on the line it was sure to be an exciting finish to the 28thedition of the MidAtlantic and indeed it was!    

A strong cool front moved through the midAtlantic region as 120 boats headed offshore in a moderate chop on Day Five though it didnt seem to have much impact on the billfish bite.  Going into the final day of the tournament the leaders of the white marlin category had to be a bit nervous as the entire fleet was well aware the top three billfish of 71 pounds, 6pounds and 67 poundon the leaderboard were definitely within reach.  Additionally, although over four dozen blue marlin had been caught through the first four days of the eventfinding one that could break through the tournaments 400-pound minimum weight proved difficult.  

The drama began early on Day Five under rainy skies athe tournaments official weigh stations at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland opened at 5 p.m.  Captain Rob Skillman had Edward Bondarchuks Lighthouse Point, Florida-based Moore Bills waiting athe scale in Ocean City and weighed a white marlin of 72-poundfor angler Dan Bannercon to temporarily take the lead for the heaviest white marlin.  That lead alone atop the leaderboard was very brief however as shortly thereafter Captain Rhett Bailey maneuvered Alan SadlerNorth Palm Beach, Florida-based Intents to the same scale and weighed an identical white marlin for angler Michelle Keeney to tie Moore Bills.  The drama continued when Captain Paul Robertson aboard his Fishing for MD radioed the same weigh station indicating he too had a white marlin to weigh for his angler Ken Garufi.  As rain continued to fall the crews from Moore Bills and Intents held their breath as Fishing for MDs white marlin was measure and lifted to the scale and weighmaster Frank Ingram yelled out the weight at 67-pounds.  Nother white marlin were weighed and as the scales closed at 9 p.m. the celebration got underway!  

The final standings in the white marlin category found Moore Bills and Intents tied for the heaviest white marlin at 72 pounds and Intents received $527,977 while Moore Bills won $453,529.  Brooks Smiths Uno Mas from Stuart, Florida finished in third place with his 71-pounder caught on Day Three and received $111,288.  

As noted earlier, no qualifying blue marlin had been weighed through the first four days of the tournament and many crews focused on that species on Day Five and the drama as fish were weighed was also intensas thstandings changed quickly in this category as well.  Captain Robbie Inglima had the Pipe Dreamer of Colts Neck, New Jerseys Chip Caruso at the scale in Ocean City shortly after the 5 p.m. opening and put a 473-pounder on the board for Caruso, who was also the angler, to temporarily take the lead in the category.  A little over an hour later, Ken Hagers Taylor Jean based in Tinton Falls, New Jersey weighed a blue marlin of 452 pounds for angler Dave Mekendrick and temporarily moved into second place.  The crews of Pipe Dreamer and Taylor Jean held their breath as they watched the weigh-in live via web cam from Cape May where Captain Shelby Myrick was backing Burke Walls Savannah, Georgia-based Trash Man to the scale wita blue marlin for angler Brian DeMille where Weighmaster Chris Booth noted the weight an yelled out 549 pounds to the crowd of spectators at Canyon Club Resort Marina.  However, a mere 10 minutes had barely gone by when Captain Howard Lynch pulled to the scale in Ocean City with Pasadena, MarylandKristen Jezierskis Haulin n Ballin to weigh a blue marlin for angler Zeb Zebley of 630 poundsthe heaviest blue marlin in the tournament.Haulin n Ballin received $556,365 for the heaviest blue marlin while Trash Man won $178,203 for the second heaviest blue marlin.  For the third heaviest blue marlin Pipe Dreamer won $91,253.  

The tuna category remained unchanged as the tournament drew to a close and a pair of big eyes of well over 200 pounds were hard to beat.  CurtiMacomber of Berlin, Maryland aboard his Stalker weighed big eye tuna of 226 and 207 on Day Three and took the heaviest and second heaviest tuna in the category and received $802,275, a tournament record payout for a tuna winner!  The third heaviest tuna belonged to Tommy Hancock of Isle of Palms, South Carolina on his Dem Boys and he received $147,353 for his 96pounder which was caught on Day One.  

In the dolphin category, Laytonsville, Maryland’s Todd Dickerson and his Top Dog and Baltimore, Maryland’s Curtis Campbell on Reel Estate finished tied for the heaviest dolphin at 33 pounds.  Reel Estates dolphin was caught on Day One and Top Dogs was caught on Day Two.  Top Dog received $68,361 and Reel Estate won $34,474.  Anthony Martina of Middletown,Delaware aboard his Sea Wolf finished with the third heaviest dolphin of 29 pounds which was caught on Day Three and received $12,586.  

The wahoo division saw Newmanstown, PennsylvaniaRoss Clubb aboard his Chain Reaction win the category with his 33-pounder which was caught on Day Two and receive $1410.  Tucker Colquhoun of Ocean City, Maryland aboard Special Situation finished in second place and received $57,481 for his 29-pounder caught on Day One.  Andy Schlotter of Hilltown, Pennsylvania on his My Time finished in third place and received $23,735 for his 28-pound hoo which was also caught on Day One.

Some of the boats with significant billfish releases on Day Five included Luke Blums C Boys with five white marlin and one blue marlin released whilBob GenordMiss Victoria released five white marlin.  Nick NearyLit Up released four white marlin while Danny Veids Amarula SunPat Healeys Viking 72, Ted Wills Pipe Dream, Gary Stamms Buckshot and Anne Armendias Give it Away each released three white marlin.  Matthew Webers Max Bet released two blue marlin and a white marlin while Mike Donohues Griffin released two blue marlin.  Bill Hauglands LightOut released a blue marlin and a white marlin.  David Johnsons JT, George Robinson’s Polarizer, Marty Judges Judge, Joe Roberts Love Boat, Joe RahmanAuspicious, Anthony Matareses Reel Chaos and Alan Carters I-Carter each released a blue marlin.  



tournament record $3,528,760 was handed out to nearly three dozen various winners including seven checks of over six figures and another 17checks of $15 thousand or more!  Prize money totals awarded to the winners vary based on the level of calcuttas entered by each participant and the heaviest fish in each category may not receive the largest payout.  Worthy of note is an incredible 73 blue marlin were caught during the tournament with 68 released which is a new tournament record for both figures!  Additionally, while not a record, 487 white marlin were released by the fleet of 156 boats fishing three days each which translates to just over one white marlin released per-boat per-day!  

Cash Prize Winners

* Denotes tournament record payout

Heaviest White Marlin – Tie 72 lbs. – Intents  Alan Sadler  North Palm Beach, FL – $527,977

  Moore Bills  Edward Bondarchuk  Lighthouse Point, FL – $453,529

3rd Heaviest White Marlin – Tie – 71 lbs. – Uno Mas  Sean Gallagher Stuart, FL -$111,288


Heaviest Blue Marlin  630 lbs.  Haulin n Ballin  Kristen Jezierski Pasadena, MD – $556,365

2nd Heaviest Blue Marlin  549 lbs. – Trash Man  Burke Wall  Savannah,GA – $178,203

3rd Heaviest Blue marlin  473 lbs.  Pipe Dreamer  Chip Caruso  Colts Neck, NJ – $91,25

Heaviest Tuna – 226 lbs. – Stalker  Curtis Macomber  Berlin, MD 

2nd Heaviest Tuna – 207 lbs. – Stalker  Curtis Macomber  Berlin, MD $802,275* – total for both places

3rd Heaviest Tuna – 96 lbs. – Dem Boys  Tommy Hancock  Isle of Palms, SC – $147,353

Heaviest Wahoo – 35 lbs. – Chain Reaction  Ross Clubb  Newmanstown,PA – $1410 

2nd Heaviest Wahoo – 29 lbs.  Special Situation  Tucker Colquhoun Ocean City, MD – $57,481

3rd Heaviest Wahoo – 28 lbs.  My Time  Andy Schlotter  Hilltown, PA – $23,735

Heaviest Dolphin – Tie 3lbs. – Top Dog  Todd Dickerson  Laytonsville, MD – $68,361

                                                    Reel Estate – Curtis Campbell  Baltimore,MD – $34,474 

3rd Heaviest Dolphin – 29 lbs. – Sea Wolf  Anthony Martina  MiddletownDE – $12,596 

Atlantic Tackle Billfish Points Calcutta – Cape May

Most Points – Tar Heel  Rob Mahoney  Manteo, NC – $10,810

2nd Most Points – 750 – JT  David Johnson – Mount Laurel, NJ – $6,486

3rd Most Points – 675  Trust Me Too – Greg Lentz/Jim Foulke  Cape May, NJ – $4324


Atlantic Tackle Billfish Points Calcutta – Ocean City 

Most Points – 1571  Uno Mas  Brooks Smith  Stuart, F– $23,030 

2nd Most Points – 1050 – Billfisher – Judith Duffie – Gaithersburg, MD – $13,818 

3rd Most Points – 965 – Auspicious – Joe Rahman – Wanaque, NJ – $9,212    

The following received calcutta winnings for various positions on the leaderboard during the tournament:

White Marlin

68 lbs. – Judge – Marty Judge – Upper Marion Township, PA – $83,642 

67 lbs. – Fishing for MD – Paul Robertson – Dayton, MD – $19,740 

67 lbs.  Double Barrel  Nick Eubank  Boca Raton, FL – $$30,845



67 lbs.  Sea Mistress  John Raimondo  Avalon, NJ – $54,032 

65 lbs.  Auspicious  Joe Rahman  Wanaque, NJ – $9274

Blue Marlin

452 lbs.  Taylor Jean  Ken Hager  Tinton Falls, NJ – $31,396


80 lbs. – Sushi – Charley Pereira – Nags Head, NC – $9274

79 lbs. – Blue Runner – Tom Kelly – Point Pleasant, NJ – $53,078 

77 lbs. – Lucky Linda Jean – Andrew Hall – Chester, NJ – $19,928 

72 lbs. – Viking 72 – Pat Healey – New Gretna, NJ – $23,876

57 lbs., 58 lbs. and 64 lbs.  Random Chaos  Michael Pintozzi Langhorne, PA – $16,920


27 lbs. – Canyon Lady  Jamie Diller  Stone Harbor, NJ – $1660 

27 lbs. – Trash Man  Burke Wall – Savannah, GA – $1660 

27 lbs.  Big Deal  ERusso  Carlstadt, NJ – $1660


27 lbs.  Fish On  Todd Willard  Greenville, DE – $18,894

27 lbs.  Nasty Habit  Walter Koller  Westfield, NJ – $18,894

Point Winners (Trophies) 

* Ties broken based on time of catch.

Most Points White Marlin – 1571  Uno Mas – Brooks Smith – Stuart, FL 

2nd Most Points White Marlin – 1125– Amarula Sun – Danny Veid – New Port Richey, FL

3rd Most Points White Marlin – 1050  Billfisher – Judith Duffie –Gaithersburg, MD

Most Points Blue Marlin – 450* – JT – David Johnson – Mount Laurel, NJ 

2nd Most Points Blue Marlin – 450* – Auspicious – Joe Rahman  Wanaque, NJ  

3rd Most Points Blue Marlin – 450* – Love Boat – JoRoberts – Cape May, NJ 

Most Points Tuna – 216.5 – Stalker – Curtis Macomber – Berlin, MD 

2nd Most Points Tuna – 142 – Blue Runner – Tom Kelly – Point Pleasant, NJ 

3rd Most Points Tuna – 115 – Random Chaos – Michael Pintozzi – Langhorne, PA 

Most Points Overall – 1571  Uno Mas – Brooks Smith – Stuart, FL


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