Even if a hurricane blew out the rest of the week, the 30th MidAtlantic would still be considered a success with most of the categories already filed in with hefty fish. Jeff Merrill’s official account of the first day follows:
The first ballyhoo hadn’t hit the water on Day One of the 30th MidAtlantic and already two records were set at sportfishing’s “Main Event.” The tournament field is set at 203 boats, smashing the previous record of 183 set last year. Both tournament venues were busy prior to the Captain’s Meeting yesterday handling calcutta entries and last-minute registration and although cash payouts are still being verified, another cash purse record has been set this year at $5.9 million-plus, breaking the previous record of just over $4 million, also set last year.
On Day One 163 boats headed offshore into light winds and sea conditions were beautiful on the edge based on reports heard around the weigh stations. The evening’s weigh-in session got off to a fast start as Luke Blume’s C-Boys from Berlin, Maryland weighed a 69-pound white marlin but unfortunately their time atop the leaderboard would be brief. Less than 30 minutes later Art Boykin’s Lucky Duck II, also out of Berlin, Maryland set the standard in the category after weighing an 80-pounder bumping C-Boys to second place. Nick Shriver’s RoShamBo from Leonardtown, Maryland and Lance Converse’s Lunatico on Effe Mae based out of West Palm Beach, Florida are tied for third place after weighing 68-pounders on Day One.
In the blue marlin category, Larry Hesse’s Goin’ in Deep based in Manasquan, New Jersey with Captain Walter Harmstead at the wheel weighed a blue marlin of 681 pounds and currently sits atop the leaderboard in the category. Steve Pilipauskis’ Reel Tight got on the leaderboard after weighing a blue marlin of 487 pounds and currently is in second place. Third place is vacant.
The tuna bite was very good on Day One with a mix of big eyes and yellowfins weighed at both venues. Summit, New Jersey’s Bob Hugin aboard his The Right Place was definitely in the right place today weighing five big eye tuna including a 188 pounder which leads the category and a 175 pounder which is in third place. Ken Hager’s Taylor Jean from Tinton Falls, New Jersey weighed a big eye of 179 pounds and is in second place.
With no minimum weight for dolphin, many were weighed on Day One and Jeremy Blunt’s Wrecker out of Ocean City, Maryland leads the category with his 26-pounder followed by Joe Drosey’s Rhonda’s Osprey with a 24-pounder. Third place currently belongs to Curtis Campbell’s Reel Estate from Baltimore, Maryland with a 23-pounder.
Numerous wahoo were also weighed and Patrick McGovern’s Mack 900 based out of Somerset, New Jersey is atop the category with his 32-pounder followed by John Homick’s Salt Lick out of Annapolis, Maryland with his 18-pounder. Third place is vacant.
Some of the boats with notable billfish releases on Day One include William Keller’s Blood Money with seven white marlin released while Peter Cherasia’s Shark Byte and Wil Thornhil’s Showtime each released six white marlin. Eddie Wheeler’s Cabana, James Davis’ Wave Paver and Matthew Weber’s Max Bet each released four white marlin. Rusty Carter’s Stream Weaver released three white marlin and a blue marlin. Jamie Diller’s Canyon Lady released four white marlin and two blue marlin while Darren Helwig’s Roll Groove let go two blue marlin and two white marlin. Boats with three white marlin released on Day One include Jon Duffie’s Billfisher, Ryan Putman’s Is That So, Joe Bernert’s Quick Raise, Billy Wrede’s Lovin’ Life, Anthony Alves’ Kaarmaa, Adam Youschack’s Reelin’ Feelin’, John Gudelsky’s Reel Joy, Joseph Stein’s III Marli, Daniel Burt’s Pumpin’ Hard and Warren Halle’s Cookie Monster.