Ocean City, MD (PRWEB) August 10, 2009
The 36th Annual White Marlin Open came to a close Friday night with two Maryland state records being broken during the five day fishing tournament. Sean Healey of Prides Crossing, MA, fishing aboard the Orion out of Palm Beach, Fl., took home a $903,442.00 paycheck with the winning 93.5 lb. white marlin; however, the new state record blue marlin stole the show.
The winning blue marlin weighed 1,062 lbs., and shattered the existing Maryland state record of 942 lbs., set in 1989 by Jim Daniel. The fish earned Robert Farris of Charlotte, NC, and the crew aboard the No Problem a $454,999.00 paycheck. The fish was caught on 80-lb. class tackle, and took over three hours to bring to the boat. Another Maryland state record broken at this year's event was the scalloped hammerhead shark, caught by Jamie Gill aboard the Lisa. The 254 lbs. shark bested the existing record by 60lbs., and earned the crew a $4,500.00 paycheck.
This year's winning white marlin was the largest seen at the White Marlin Open since 1980 when a tournament record 99lb. white marlin was caught. This year's winning white marlin fell short of the state record of 135lbs. As soon as the fish was hooked the boat experienced engine trouble. The Orion was stuck in forward, and could only circle the fish in wide loops. The angler was forced to walk around the boat and fight the fish for an hour before it was finally brought to the boat. The fish was then brought to the tournament scale by truck, which is legal by tournament rules. It was only the second white marlin Mr. Healey had ever caught.
Rounding out the leaderboard were the 1st place tuna, dolphin (fish), and wahoo divisions. 1st place in the tuna division was a 249.0lb. bigeye tuna caught by Doug Slater aboard the Shadowfax. The big tuna earned the crew a $179,581.00 paycheck. First place in the dolphin division was a 37.5lb. dolphin caught by Ronald Bennett aboard the Crush-Em. The fish earned the crew $16,572.00. The winner in the wahoo division weighted 47.0lbs., and earned the crew of the Wave Dancer $2,000.
The White Marlin Open is the World's largest billfish tournament, and while the tournament requires fish to be brought in and weighed, the tournament directors encourage the release of billfish with high minimum size and weight regulations. White marlin must be at least 67-inches long and weigh 65lbs. to qualify, and blue marlin must be 105-inches long and weigh 500lbs. Boats are required to use non-offset circle hooks when using natural baits or natural bait and lure combinations. Research has shown that the use of non-offset circle hooks drastically reduces the mortality rate of released fish. This year's tournament had a 92.9% release rate.
This year the White Marlin Open teamed up with SportFishermen.com to bring an updated tournament website, replete with live webcam coverage of the weigh-ins, daily tournament blogs, live leaderboard updates, and all pertinent tournament information. SportFishermen.com is the internet's largest website dedicated to saltwater sport fishing around the World. Complete coverage of the tournament can be seen at http://www.whitemarlinopen.com and http://www.sportfishermen.com.
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The upcoming sport fishing tournament coverage by SportFishermen.com includes the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 (August 17-21, 2009) and the Bisbee's Black and Blue Marlin Tournaments (October 16-18, 2009 and October 20-24, 2009).
Launched in 2004, SportFishermen.com is the fastest growing online community for sport fishing and receives over 300,000 visits each month. It features boating and fishing forums, live big game fishing tournament coverage, sport fishing reports, fishing videos, fishing pictures, marine weather, fishing tournament calendar, saltwater fishing articles and boats for sale.