But for Woody, there was more than that. It was the satisfaction of handing over a check for more than $420,000 to Tom Harris, the boat's captain, and his two mates, Alan Scibel and Tom Bennett. Woody learned that Harris' wife had just graduated from nursing school and that Scibel was about to get married.

"I feel like I've been very blessed to be able to do that," Woody said.

There was another feeling that seemed to overwhelm Woody as he accepted congratulatory phone calls, emails and text messages from his friends in Pasadena and Ocean City, where he has homes. It came from the memories Woody had of growing up and fishing on the Chesapeake with his grandparents.

"I really developed a love for the water because my grandparents took me fishing," he said.

That love was put on hold after Woody graduated Southern High School, went straight to work and learned to become a land surveyor. He eventually worked for and later bought out the two partners in KCW Civil Engineering and Land Surveying.

It was even put on hold as his two daughters were growing up.

Woody can recall being on vaction in Ocean City years ago when he saw fishing boats with a variety of flags hoisted on them. He didn't know it at the time, but he was watching tournaments similar to the one he won — the flags represent each different type of fish being caught. Woody estimates that he has raised at least seven different flags over the last decade.

Woody had earned some money sportfishing to help defray the cost for the upkeep of the boat, "but nothing close to this."

But Woody was thinking more about what the prize money could do for his young captain and mate rather than himself.

"I'm a very private man," Woody said. "I've worked hard to support my family and to be able to do this for somebody else, I feel very fortunate. I'm a person who likes to please others."

Woody shared the experience with his family. Carla Woody, who also enjoys fishing, was there for the weigh-in and wondered whether her husband could follow through with his plans to hang up his sportfishing gear.

"When you win a tournament like that, it might be hard to quit," she said Friday. "I don't know if it'll be one of those moments where you can go out in a blaze of thunder."

Woody competed in last week's Mid-Atlantic 500, a grueling three days where Woody said he was getting up at 3:30 a.m. and not getting done until 8 p.m. He has started playing golf and winning the White Marlin Open is akin to putting on a green jacket after the Masters.

"I would have been happy to finish third," he said. "To win it, is just amazing."

don.markus@baltsun.com

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