Capt. Willie Zimmerman on the Ro Sham Bo has a crew that is trying desperately to put Ocean City, Md., in the mix of the 50th annual White Marlin Open.
The event is held out of Ocean City, but heading into today’s final day of competition, no billfish had been weighed – leaving the tuna catchers to fight for the $10.5 million total prize money.
Zimmerman’s team hooked up with a large blue marlin at a little past 8 in the morning and as of 3 p.m. were still fighting the fish. It’s being reported that the fish sounded (went deep) and is holding its own against the angler.
Officials also are reporting that a blue has been boated by another team which is heading for the weigh-in. There are rumors that a white marlin also has been boated.
This was looking to be the only year that no billfish were weighed in, but it appears that misfortune has been avoided.
The WMO rules state that all of the prize money be dispersed, leaving the tuna division with a good chance to increase its winnings.
In 1984, 85 and 86, no white marlin were weighed in, but blue marlin filled the void. There have been several years where no blue marlin were brought to the scales, but whites took over.
It’s not that the billfish aren’t there. In four days, 431 white marlin were caught – along with 34 blues, five sailfish and one spearfish.
But none were deemed large enough to being to the weigh-in and all were released.
White marlin must be at least 70 inches long and weigh 70 pounds to be brought in. Blue marlin must be 114 inches and swordfish must be 60.
Offshore weather conditions are favorable for another decent showing from billfish. But it’s clear that nerves will be sensitive as each fish is reeled to the boat.