There was a white marlin winner on last day of WMO & it earned a record $4.4 million

Though I watched the White Marlin Open Marlin Cam virtually from beginning to end on Friday, I missed the only big money catch of that generally disappointing final day when I switched to get my blog out. There were no tournament leaders listed all night, and I never heard a mention of the 77.5-pound white marlin which took over first for Billfisher and won a record 4.4 million payoff.

C-Student, which had been first with a 71 1/2-pounder, dropped to a “mere” $120.000. The big fish of the contest also did well as Cabana’s 511-pound blue marlin was all alone in that division and was worth $960,000.

The hotly contested tuna division was topped by Southern C’s with a 247.5-pound bigeye which moved them ahead of Big Stick by just one pound. That resulted in $940,000 while Big Stick received just $100,000. The payouts depend on how many Calcuttas are entered — and Billfisher was in all of them. Komotose was third in tuna for $320,000.

I’ll have more about the WMO winners tomorrow.

At Belmar, The Golden Eagle’s canyon trip produced “some” yellowfin tuna and many others were lost as they were 60-80-pounders. There were also some dolphin, including one that was about 20 pounds. There’s room on Monday night’s inshore exotics trip by reservation.

The Jamaica from Brielle reported customers on Friday caught all the chub mackerel they wanted plus a few sea bass.

At Point Pleasant, the Queen Mary had shots of larger blues on Friday, though the fishing wasn’t up to Tuesday’s hot bite on poppers.

The Mimi VI has an opening on a Aug. 17 canyon trip limited to 10 at a cost of $320. Call 732 370-8019 for reservations. Sunday’s forecast is for west winds at 5 knots before going south in the afternoon.

Oliver McMurry with his first yellowfin tuna caught on a popper after his father had a cancellation and took his son out instead. Oliver had a broken foot, but fought the tuna unaided.

Disapointing last day in WMO

Big changes seemed like almost a sure thing with most of the 408-boat fleet at sea. Yet, the results were very poor unless I missed something on the Marlin cam. There were some 50-60-pound yellowfins, but the only catches of note were bigeye tuna weighing 194.5 pounds for Komotose and 241 pounds by Sushi. I haven’t been able to access the leaderboard since early in the week, and can’t swear by the results I’ve posted, but will check everything out and do another blog in the morning.

Last shot at WMO millions

Every boat with a fishing day left is trying to boat a marlin or tuna worth over a million dollars during the conclusion of the 49th White Marlin Open at Ocean City, Md. and Cape May, N.J. as 408 entrants have been competing for a purse of $8.6 million. As noted in yesterday’s late blog, there was finally an entry of the highest value species — a white marlin. The 71 1/2-pounder taken on C-Student was well over the minimum length at 72 inches, but hadn’t been listed as a tournament leader by the end of weigh-ins, and I thought there might be a protest involved. However, that fish could be wort $2.8 million if no other whites are entered. There was no question in the case of blue marlin when Cabana weighed a 511-pounder to start the parade to the scales which consisted mostly of yellowfin tuna.

There was also a new third place bigeye tuna entered that didn’t make last night’s list. Komotose from Manteo, N.C. weighed a 242.5-pound bigeye. The dolphin category got a lot tougher when Irene from Stuart, Florida weighed 58 1/2-pounder – -as did wahoo when Water Marlin came in with a 54-pounder. I’ll have results on the late blog after the scales close

There should be a new leader in the Fisherman magazine’s Dream Boat fluke category after Akira at True World Tackle weighed a 33 1/2-inch, 15.8-pounder for Marc Blazek, who caught it on Aug. 7 from Jeff Onzepowski’s Verao just south of Ambrose Channel.

Saturday’s forecast is for north winds at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 before dropping to northeast 5-10 in the afternoon.

The Miss Belmar Princess reported very good chub mackerel fishing today. Some fares also fought sand tiger sharks.

Capt. Ron Santee had very tough conditions for fluking from his Fishermen out of Atlantic Highlands due to a screaming current and nasty roll. A couple of guys had three keepers, and the pool fluke was over 6 pounds.

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A blue & a white at WMO

Each type of billfish was finally entered at the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Md. and Cape May, N.J. but bigeye tuna continued to dominate as 352 of the 408 boats fished in good conditions. There’s no question about the 511-pound blue marlin caught by Bill Britt on his Cabana. That blue is in line for a payoff of $960,000.

I watched on the Marlin Cam as the white marlin was measured above the “70-70” standard of 70 inches and a minimum of 70 pounds as C-Student’s white was 72 inches and weighed 71 1/2 pounds. Yet, that prospective million dollar white hasn’t shown up on the WMO Tournament Leader list.

Southern C’s one pound lead in tuna yesterday may be worth $940,000 while that single pound could drop Big Stick to $100,000. Big Stick came in with a 193-pound bigeye today which may be the daily tuna winner. Knot Again had two bigeyes of 180 and 189 1/2 pounds.

Water Marlin took over first in wahoo with a 54-pounder. A huge 59 1/2-pound dolphin was weighed, but I got a phone call at the time and never saw the boat name. The WMO site didn’t list tournament leaders for dolphin and wahoo at all. I’ll try to get everything cleared up tomorrow as every boat with a day left will be taking aim at these leaders before tomorrow evening’s awards party.

All out for billfish in the last two days of the White Marlin Open

Millions are on the line during the last two days as both the white marlin and blue marlin categories are wide open — and tuna leaders are hoping that none big enough to qualify will be caught since those funds will then be added to the tuna winners.

After Big Stick took the lead yesterday with a 246.5-pound bigeye tuna (photo below), Southern C’s weighed another just one pound heavier that could be worth several million dollars. I’ll do an update blog after the scales close tonight. There were 352 of the 408 boats entered fishing today.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported reading lots of bluefish though they only jigged a few’ During the afternoon they were milling on the surface. Since the boat is leaving on a canyon trip tonight, the next bluefish trip will be on Saturday.

Capt. Ron Santee had sad news this week about Capt. Marty Haines having died last weekend while running a boat. Marty had been out of the party boat business for some time, but his Sea Pigeon IV at Perth Amboy was one of the best known at the Shore. I made a successful ling trip with him many years ago when mall bergalls were feasting on my clam baits until Marty suggested I switch to strips of bergalls — which solved the problem. I haven’t been able to find any information about services so far.

Santee noted that the rain ended early this morning, and fluke fishing on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands was decent. It was great for Louise Lauria as she boa ted a 6.5-pound pool winner that’s also the monthly leader. The Fishermen is chartered on Sunday.

The forecast for Friday is for north winds at 10-15 knots which decrease to 5-10 in the afternoon.

More bigeye excitement at White Marlin Open — but still no billfish

The bigeye tuna blast during the first day of the White Marlin Open was duplicated today, but the only two white marlin brought in didn’t meet the double standard of at least 70 inches in length and 70 pounds.

The bigeye blast started with Big Stick taking over first and a potential payout of $1,200,000 while First day hero Dante Soriento on MJ’s from Beach Haven moved up again with a 230.5-pounder that could be worth $100,000 before being pushed back to third when Big Stick weighed a 246.5-pounder Yet, Southern C’s arrived with a 247.5-pounder to lead for the big money.

There were also changes in dolphin as Jeb took over second at 28 pounds, while Jenny Poo jumped into first in wahoo at 71 pounds.

There will be lots of boats out the next two days to seek out the biggest money for white and blue marlin before the Friday evening conclusion.

White Marlin Open heading toward a dramatic conclusion

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.

It’s always an adventure with Crazy Alberto

Inshore fishing at Marco Island in southwest Florida was slow in very high water temperatures over the weekend, but Crazy Alberto Knie always seems to have a trick up his sleeve even when conditions aren’t good.

After getting a break in afternoon thunderstorms, we did some small boat fishing with Dave Rizzo. We started with blind casting metal lures at the pass into the Gulf of Mexico which produced a few ladyfish for them while I only hooked a Spanish mackerel which Alberto turned into a live bait for Goliath grouper at the Marco Island Bridge. Alberto knew just where to drop that live mackerel and I was soon involved in a short but intense battle on a Shimano Trinidad reel with a pinned down drag needed to prevent it from cutting off in the pilings. Fortunately, it was the right size for an old man — and we soon released the Goliath that Alberto estimated at 70 pounds.

That species has been protected for years after divers almost wiped them out in spawning aggregations, but they’ve recovered so well that it’s hard to get a snapper off bottom on wrecks before a Goliath swallows it. Florida plans to allow some to be harvested next year by anglers buying permits in a lottery system.

Crazy Alberto and Al with Goliath before release

We didn’t get wet that afternoon, but the next afternoon made up for that after Alberto jumped a big tarpon which hit a small blue runner — and got off by that fish on his 80-pound mono. We couldn’t figure that one out as there were no obstructions and the fish was in the air when it cut off. Before heading back Monday morning, we joined John Mueller for a shot at redfish and snook in mangrove areas. but only came up with odds and ends of smaller species in the 83 degree

As noted in last night’s late blog, there were some impressive bigeye tuna boated during the first day of the 49th White Marlin Open at Ocean City, Md. and Cape May. N.J. However, with most of the 408-boat field fishing, there were very few billfish encountered — and none large enough to be brought in for weighing. There were just 29 white marlin released along with a surprisingly high 17 blue marlin. Don’t expect much change today as only 15 boats went to sea. If there are any changes to the leaderboard, I’ll add a late blog after the scales close.

The Golden Eagle from Belmar reported bluefish wouldn’t bite today, though two bonito were lost at the boat. They did catch some Spanish mackerel, chub mackerel, sea bass and ling.

The Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands had poor fluking today in tough drifting conditions. That boat is chartered on Sunday.

Northeast winds at just 5-10 knots are predicted for the morning, but showers and thunderstorms are possible in the afternoon.

Soriente takes early WMO tuna lead – but gets dropped a place

The 49th White Marlin Open at Ocean City, Md. and Cape May, N.J. opened today with 408 boats entered and a purse of $8.6 million. Though there were no marlin entered, there was no lack of competition in the tuna category.

Regular tuna tournament winner Dante Soriente got started on MJ’s in fine fashion by taking the lead with a with a 198.5-pound bigeye though he was pushed back to second when Reel Tight weighed a 213.5-ounder. The Right Bite from Brick, N.J. moved into third at 189.5 pounds.

There were also a couple of entries in other divisions. Leading the dolphin entries is 29-pounder on 10-4 Joker, while C-Student is second at 26.5 pounds. There’s no competition in wahoo so far for a 51.5-pounder on Irish Twin.

There were 292 boats using the first of three fishing days on Monday.

White Marlin Open started today

As I noted in Saturday’s blog, I was fishing in Florida with Crazy Alberto Knie and MIGHT be back Sunday. As it turned out, I just got back tonight. The White Marlin Open started today at Ocean City, Md, and Cape May, N.J. C heck back later tonight for an update after the scales close. I’ll discuss the Florida fishing tomorrow.

There was good news about bluefishing today on the Golden Eagle from Belmar where there were limits of small blues mixed with some 5-8-pounders plus lots of chub mackerel along with sea bass.

The Jamaica from Brielle has room on a tilefishing trip which departs at 10 p.m. Tuesday. Reserve at wwwbigjamaica.com The next morning departure will be at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

Capt. Ron Santee has good news about fluking on his Fishermen from Atlantic Highlands. He said Saturday was his best trip of the season as one fare limited from nine keepers, and the pool winner was 4 1/2 pounds.

The forecast is for southwest winds at 10-15 knots.