With just two more days to fish, the White Marlin Open 208-boat field competing for $8.4 million will be pulling out all stops before the Friday evening awards party.
As noted in yesterday’s blog, not much was expected as only 15 boaters fished in rough seas and the leaderboard was unchanged. However, 279 sailed today and the last of each boat’s three fishing days will be used Thursday and Friday. I’ll do a late blog after the scales close at 9:15 to update the standings.
Monday produced enough large bigeye tuna to make that category a success even if another isn’t caught, but there hasn’t been a single billfish entry for the biggest payoffs in the contest. Even the volume of billfish releases has been far below par — though I suspect that will change in the last few days.
The tuna category is led so far by Reel Tight with a 213.5-pounder that would be worth $1.3 million. MJ’s is second at 198.5 pounds, followed by Right Bite with a 189.5-pound bigeye. Other than that, there are only two dolphin entries that may not stand up (29 pounds on 10-4 Joker, and 26.5 pounds by C-Student ) — plus a 51.5-pound wahoo on Irish Twin.
The long-awaited party boat doormat fluke was boated yesterday on the Big Mohawk from Belmar, and it was well over the 10-pound mark for that designation at 13 pounds. Dan Mancini was the fortunate angler who’s now leading the Big Mohawk monthly pool.
Capt. Alan Shinn reported a fine Tuesday trip on Miss Belmar Princess as 5-8-pound bluefish were jigged early. When that slowed, they moved offshore for “tremendous chub mackerel action along with some bonito, blues, sea bass, and even blacktip and sand tiger sharks.
The Golden Eagle from Belmar marked plenty of blues on the bottom today, but they didn’t want to bite. They ended up picking a few to 6 pounds plus some sea bass and fluke.
Capt. Ron Santee found better fluking today from his Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands as the swell diminished and there was no southerly wind. The high hook caught six keepers and 25 shorts. The pool went to a 6.9-pounder.
The inshore forecast is for northeast winds at just 5 knots with possible morning showers.