Following is the wrap-up of the dramatic 30th anniversary MidAtlantic Tournament as prepared by Jeff Merrill::
Historic 30th MidAtlantic Wraps Up in Record Fashion!
Potential State Record Blue Marlin Highlights Day Five!
It was indeed a tournament for the ages! The 30th MidAtlantic wrapped up last night and saying it was one for the record books would be an understatement! Records were set in several categories including two before the first day of fishing when a tournament record field of 203 were entered breaking the previous record of 183 set last year. Additionally, the total purse of $5,929,050 eclipsed the previous tournament record purse of just over $4 million set last year as well! While the 2020 MidAtlantic created quite a stir when two 800-pound-plus blue marlin were weighed minutes apart on the final day of the tournament, this year’s event saw the tournament record for that species broken and then broken again a day later! The 30th Annual MidAtlantic will be talked about for a long time!
Day Five of the tournament saw rain cover both tournament venues for most of the day and crews reported offshore conditions were pretty much the same conditions as they dodged squalls and showers for most of the day. 176 boats had Day Five left to fish and while some of the categories may have seemed out of reach, there is always that chance because it only takes one bite! And as we all know, Day Five, known as “Moving Day” at the MidAtlantic, always seems to have its drama and this year it couldn’t have been scripted any better. Jon Duffie’s Billfisher of Ocean City, Maryland was at the scale at 5 p.m. when the evening’s weigh-in session got underway and the crowd had already gathered as the word had spread that he had a monster blue marlin aboard however jaws dropped when they saw the size of the massive blue stretched out in the cockpit of Billfisher. Angler Billy Gurlach battled the huge marlin for 3½ hours on an 80-pound outfit and Duffie reported they had the leader in hand over two dozen times before they were able to sink the gaff. The marlin’s tail hung through Billfisher’s transom door as she sat at the scale and it required a skiff to assist with pulling the fish from the boat through the door so it could be hoisted to the scale. Once on the dock Weighmaster Frank Ingram, assisted by other tournament staff, stretched the measuring tape and noted the length at 136½”, and while she was only 1½” longer than Wolverine’s 958-pounder weighed the day before, the girth of 80” had everyone thinking it may be a grander. It took eight men to heft the monster up onto the scale and it got very quiet as Ingram noted the weight before yelling out “1,135 pounds!” Not only did it break the tournament record set the previous day, but the marlin is also a potential state record for Maryland. Once verified, it would break the current state record of 1,062 pounds caught by Robert Farris in 2009. As you would expect, Billfisher’s blue marlin took the top prize in the category and netted the crew $1,167,762! Rocky Hardison of Beaufort, North Carolina aboard his Wolverine finished in second place with his 958-pounder caught on Day Four and received $198,716 while Larry Hesse’s Goin’ in Deep out of Manasquan, New Jersey finished in third place with his 681-pounder caught on Day One and won $412,237. Worthy of note is the prize money differential is based on the level of tournament sanctioned calcuttas, also known as side bets, the participant enters. The more they enter, the more they can win.
The white marlin category remained unchanged on Day Five and Anthony Martina’s Sea Wolf from Middletown, Delaware took the top prize of $1,017,127 for his 82-pounder weighed on Day Three. Art Boykin’s Berlin, Maryland-based Lucky Duck II finished in second place with an 80-pounder weighed on Day One and took home $162,604. Andrew Dotterweich of Jupiter, Florida aboard his Fish On finished in third place with a 75-pounder and received $680,387.
The tuna division saw nearly two dozen big eyes weighed during the tournament as well as dozens of yellowfin tuna including one of 172 pounds caught by Nicole Scotti on Gina Addeo’s Gina Lisa from Staten Island, New York. However, it would be the big eyes dominating the leaderboard and Chip Caruso from Colts Neck, New Jersey aboard his Pipe Dreamer swept the top two places with big eyes of 235 and 227 pounds weighed on Day Three to win a total of $1,000,065. Bob Hugin of Summit, New Jersey aboard his The Right Place finished in third place with a 188-pounder weighed on Day One and won $244,556.
The dolphin category saw the biggest shakeup on Day Five as all three places changed. Danny Veid’s Amarula Sun from Tarpon Springs, Florida took the top prize of $98,441 for his 45-pounder followed by Tinton Falls, New Jersey’s Ken Hager on his Taylor Jean with a 36-pounder that was worth $36,707. Randy Gibbs of Houston, Texas aboard his Picasso Moon finished in third place and won $16,826 for his 33-pounder.
In the wahoo division Tom Perry of Pasadena, Maryland aboard his Just One More weighed a 58-pounder on Day Five. Perry’s wahoo was the heaviest in the category and won $63,614. Amarula Sun’s wahoo of 57 pounds weighed on Day Three took second place and $68,614. Kevin Moore’s Pasadena, Maryland-based Reel Moore finished in third place and received $3,055 for his 50-pounder caught on Day Four.
Some of the boats with notable billfish catches on Day Five include Matt Weber’s Max Bet with four white marlin and one blue marlin released while Daniel Burt’s Pumpin’ Hard and Charles Gagnon’s Reel Current each released three white marlin. Nick Cortezi’s Sea Weez and Warren Halle’s Cookie Monster each released one blue marlin and one white marlin. Dale Gurgo’s The Chaser released two blue marlin while Darren Helwig’s Roll Groove and Patrick Curry’s Top Notch each released a blue marlin on Day Five.
Cash Prize Winners
* As noted above, cash payout differences vary by level of calcutta participation.
Heaviest White Marlin – 82 lbs. – Sea Wolf – Anthony Martina – Middletown, DE – $1,017,127
2nd Heaviest White Marlin – 80 lbs. – Lucky duck II – Art Boykin – Berlin, MD – $162,604
3rd Heaviest White Marlin – 75 lbs. – Fish On – Andrew Dotterweich – Jupiter, FL – $680,387
Heaviest Blue Marlin – 1135 lbs. – Billfisher – Jon Duffie – Ocean City, MD – $1,167,762
2nd Heaviest Blue Marlin – 958 lbs. – Wolverine – Rocky Hardison – Beaufort, NC – $198,716
3rd Heaviest Blue Marlin – 681 lbs. – Goin’ in Deep – Larry Hesse – Manasquan, NJ – $412,237
Heaviest Tuna – 235 lbs. – Pipe Dreamer – Chip Caruso – Colts Neck, NJ – $738,252
2nd Heaviest Tuna – 227 lbs. – Pipe Dreamer – Chip Caruso – Colts Neck, NJ – $261,813
3rd Heaviest Tuna – 188 lbs. – The Right Place – Bob Hugin – Summit, NJ – $244,556
Heaviest Wahoo – 58 lbs. – Just One More – Tom Perry – Pasadena, MD – $63,614
2nd Heaviest Wahoo – 57 lbs. – Amarula Sun – Danny Veid – Tarpon Springs, FL – $68,479
3rd Heaviest Wahoo – 50 lbs. – Reel Moore – Kevin Moore – Pasadena, MD – $3,055
Heaviest Dolphin – 45 lbs. – Amarula Sun – Danny Veid – Tarpon Springs, FL – $98,441
2nd Heaviest Dolphin – 36 lbs. – Taylor Jean – Ken Hager – Tinton Falls, NJ – $36,707
3rd Heaviest Dolphin – 33 lbs. – Picasso Moon – Randy Gibbs – Houston, TX – $16,826
Huk Billfish Points Calcutta – Cape May
Most Points – 1575 – Viking 80 – Pat Healey – New Gretna, NJ – $12,220
2nd Most Points – 1050 – Krazy Salts – Dave Anderson – West Palm Beach, FL – $7,332
3rd Most Points – 1050 – Canyon Lady – Jamie Diller – Stone Harbor, NJ – $4,888
* Point ties broken based on time of catch
Atlantic Tackle Billfish Points Calcutta – Ocean City
Most Points – 1275 – Max Bet – Matt Weber – Vero Beach, FL – $25,850
2nd Most Points – 1275 – Blood Money – William Keller – Brielle, NJ – $15,510
3rd Most Points – 1200 – Big Stick – David Bowen – Suwanee, GA – $10,340
* Point ties broken based on time of catch
The following participants received calcutta winnings for various positions on the leaderboard during the tournament:
69 lbs. – C Boys – Luke Blume – Berlin, MD – $48,598
68 lbs. – RoShamBo – Nick Shriver – Leonardtown, MD – $292,152
68 lbs. – Lunatico on Effe Mae – Lance Converse – West Palm Beach, FL – $7,896
487 lbs. – Reel Tight – Steven Pilipauskis – Riva, MD – $32,571
472 lbs. – The Zipper – Eddie Zajdel – Ocean City, MD – $36,660
185 lbs. – Slim Shady – John Arceri – Mineola, NY – $98,104
184 lbs. – Endorfin – Jere Murdoch – Howell, NJ – $79,398
182 lbs. – Warden Pass – Val Fichera – Cape May, NJ – $8,883
182 lbs. – Internal Fixation – Marshall Allegra – Rumson, NJ – $6,110
179 lbs. – Taylor Jean – Ken Hager – Tinton Falls, NJ – $34,639
175 lbs. – The Right Place – Bob Hugin – Summit NJ – $7,896
26 lbs. – Risky Business – Daniel McCarthy – Avalon, NJ – $6,298
32 lbs. – Mack 900 – Patrick McGovern – Somerset, NJ – $23,124
Point Winners (Trophies)
Most Points White Marlin – 1575 – Viking 80 – Pat Healey – New Gretna, NJ
2nd Most Points White Marlin – 1200 – Big Stick – David Bowen – Suwanee, GA
3rd Most Points White Marlin – 1125 – Blood Money – William Keller – Brielle, NJ
Most Points Blue Marlin – 450 – Roll Groove – Darren Helwig – Owings, MD
2nd Most Points Blue Marlin – 418 – The Zipper – Eddie Zajdel – Ocean City, MD
3rd Most Points Blue Marlin – 389.5 – Wolverine – Rocky Hardison – Beaufort, NC
Most Points Tuna – 626 – The Right Place – Bob Hugin – Summit, NJ
2nd Most Points Tuna – 231 – Pipe Dreamer – Chip Caruso – Colts Neck, NJ
3rd Most Points Tuna – 122.5 – Internal Fixation – Marshall Allegra – Rumson, NJ
Most Points Overall – 1575 – Viking 80 – Pat Healey – New Gretna, NJ
White Marlin Released – 475
White Marlin Weighed – 16
Blue Marlin Released – 43
Blue Marlin Weighed – 9
Tuna Weighed – 83
Dolphin Weighed – 42
Wahoo Weighed – 7
Always a tournament that spreads the wealth to multiple winners, this year’s MidAtlantic saw record payouts for the heaviest white marlin and blue marlin as well as a combined record payout for the top two tuna as each received well over $1 million! In addition to the three $1 million payouts, six others received checks of $100,000 or more and five more received checks of $50,000 or more. Additionally, a record for tuna points was set by Bob Hugin’s The Right Place.
For further information contact Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman at 609-884-0177. You can review all the information about the 2021 MidAtlantic via the South Jersey Tournaments App which is available free for IOS or Android devices from the Apple App and Google Play stores. Be sure to check out the tournament’s official web site at www.themidatlantic.com where you’ll find all the facts, figures and information about the 2021 MidAtlantic including a complete rundown of final standings, calcutta payouts, rules, points and tournament records. You’ll also find a link there to purchase official tournament merchandise. On social media follow the MidAtlantic on Facebook at The MidAtlantic Tournament; on Twitter; @midatl and on Instagram; @themidatlantictournament
NOTE: I’m attending a wedding this afternoon, and there will be no evening blog. Despite the tropical storm warning and big swell, the Big Mohawk from Belmar reported fine fluking on Friday that included many in the 7-pound class. That storm warning continues and may become a hurricane watch in NY/NJ Bight if it changes course for eastern Long Island to New England.