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40th annual White Marlin Open underway in Ocean City

This week $2.4 million in prize money is up for grabs during the 40th annual White Marlin Open in Ocean City, one of the world’s largest billfish tournaments.

Even if you have no interest in fishing, the tournament is a sight to behold - from lines of boats headed out early in the morning to the giant fish weighed every evening.

Registration for this year’s open is over, but more than 260 boats have signed up for the five-day tournament that runs through Aug. 9. That's up from around 250 entries last year.

White Marlin Open President Jim Motsko said organizers had not planned any special celebration for the 40th anniversary, however they are making a slight alteration to this year's tournament T-shirt. For the first time, the T-shirt design has three marlins on it instead of just one.

Monday’s good weather saw 204 of the boats head out (anglers can pick three of the five days to fish). The first qualifying fish to be weighed in the tournament was a more than 180-pound big eye tuna, caught by Joseph Cangianelli of the Reel Life.

If you’re looking to checkout the action from afar, head down to the inlet to watch the boats head out in the morning and come back in the evening. Boats head out 4:30-6 a.m. and return with their catch around 4-6 p.m. Take a chair down to the jetty and watch the parade, which Motsko said is "quite exceptional to see."

For a chance to see some big fish - really, very, very large fish- close up, go to Harbour Island on 14th Street bayside, where the catches are weighed in daily. The weigh-in is from 4-9:15 p.m., but the best time to go is between 5:30-7:30 p.m. Motsko said the atmosphere at the weigh in is like a festival. Parking is difficult, so taking the bus is strongly suggested.

The tournament also has a web site, www.whitemarlinopen.com, where you can track individual boats and their catches, watch weigh-ins on the Marlin Cam and view the overall leaderboard.

Also on Monday, two boats, the Lori M and the Just Right V, registered to compete in the tournament were instead involved in the rescue of two 55-year-old men from a capsized catamaran about 32 miles northeast of Ocean City. The Coast Guard later reported that two other men were killed in the accident.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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