Posted on August 9th, 2020
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I just got home from the final day of the 47th Annual White Marlin Open and am excited to report on another record breaking tournament. This year’s WMO started off pretty tough. Tournament directors decided late last week to extend the tournament by two days because of a hurricane that was coming up the coast and expected to impact the area on Tuesday of last week. The decision ended up being a good call as zero of the 443 boats registered were able to fish on Tuesday thanks to winds of 45-55 MPH and seas of 11-19 feet. The weather shaped up quickly on Wednesday and led to one of the most exciting White Marlin Open tournaments that I can remember.
There were several big stories, but the biggest of the week was a gigantic 97 pound white marlin that was weighed on Saturday that would clear the other leaders in the white marlin category by 20 pounds. The crew of the Canyon Blues broke a few hearts with the third largest white marlin in tournament history, but they were ok with it when they realized their fish was worth over $1.5 Million!
There was a tie for second place that was broken by the WMO’s gaff rule. WMO rules state that in the event of a tie any fish that is not gaffed will be declared the winner. The Crisdel and the Drillin’ & Billin’ both caught fish of 77 pounds to tie for second place, but the Drillin’ & Billin’ did not gaff their fish while the Crisdel did. This meant that Drillin’ & Billin’s fish would take second place and be awarded over $1.6 Million and Crisdel’s fish would end up in third place.
The final big story was the big tuna caught on board the Restless Lady II that was weighed in on Monday and stood for 7 days to take 2nd place in the heaviest tuna category. Thanks to the fact that the first place fish was not in all of the calcutta money, and there was no blue marlin to qualify, Restless Lady II’s 114.5 pound tuna will win around $1.3 Million.
Two other notable stories were the 273.5 pound swordfish caught by the Jersey Boy that wins almost $400 thousand and the 73.5 pound mahi caught by the Backlash that broke a tournament record for heaviest mahi ever that had stood for 34 years.
2020 threw everything it had at the White Marlin Open this year with COVID-19 and hurricane Isaias, but everyone involved with the tournament and the fish rose above for a great event that I won’t soon forget. 443 boats competed for a record purse of over $6.7 Million and there were some incredible stories to be had. It was my pleasure to be involved with the event once again. Congratulations to all of the 2020 White Marlin Open winners!! Dollar amounts are estimates from WMO.
Big Fish & Big Fish Small Boat
Jersey Boy 273.5 Pound Swordfish $375,000
3rd Place Seacurity 54 Pounds $20,000
2nd Place Jenny Poo 58.5 Pounds $20,000
1st Place Backlash 73.5 Pounds $22,000
3rd Place Miss Stella 45.5 Pounds $3,000
2nd Place Tail Chaser 57 Pounds $46,000
1st Place Magic Moment 60.5 Pounds $47,000
3rd Place Blue Runner 106 Pounds $165,000
2nd Place Restless Lady II 114.5 Pounds $1.4 Million
1st Place Sentient 121 Pounds $99,000
3rd Place Crisdel 77 Pounds $206,000
2nd Place Drillin’ & Billin’ 77 Pounds $1.762 Million
1st Place Canyon Blues 97 Pounds $1.85 Million
Outside of the tournament the bottom fishing bite was impressive once again. Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star is even comparing the sea bass fishing to what he sees in the spring.