Tuna biting for Ocean City tournament


The offshore tuna season at Ocean City is shaping up nicely. Water temperatures are in the low 70s, and good numbers of yellowfin, bluefin and bigeye tuna have been reported.

All of which looks good for the 100 or so boats that will take part in the fourth Tuna Tournament based out of the Ocean City Fishing Center.

The last day to register for the tournament is Thursday. The competition ends July 14.

"Each year, we find this event growing in anglers and activities," said R. Charles Nichols, who founded the tournament. This year, the field is expected to be larger than the 73 boats and several hundred fishermen who participated last year.

Sixty percent of all entry fees will be used as six prizes in two major categories, largest single fish caught and largest amount of fish caught.

There also is a $50,000 prize should someone break the International Game Fish Association record for bigeye tuna, which is held by Cecil Browne of Ocean City. Browne set the mark in 1977 with a 375-pound catch.

Weigh-ins will be Thursday through Saturday before 7:30 p.m. at the fishing center and before 7 p.m. on Sunday.

For information on entry fees and tournament activities, call (800) 457-6650 or (301) 289-8121.

* Although there is legislation moving in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the boat-user tax passed by the Congress late last year, according to the July 1 Federal Register, boaters will be required to pay a federal fee before July 31 or risk being fined up to $5,000.

The boat-user tax, which ensures no return in services for taxes paid, will be required of all recreational boaters who own vessels longer than 16 feet.

The rate schedule is as follows: over 16 feet to 20 feet, $25; larger than 20 feet but less than 27 feet, $35; 27 feet to 40 feet, $50; and over 40 feet, $100.

Boaters may call (800) 848-2100 and charge their fees to major credit cards or call (800) 368-5647 for a decal request form. The mailing address for completed decal forms is U.S. RVF, P.O. Box 740169, Atlanta, Ga., 30321-0169.

* The fourth Poker Run North Rally will be tied in with the Kent Narrows Power Boat Challenge races later this month.

The Poker Run North is a rally of 25 high-performance boats from 17 states. The boats will be at the Red Eye Dock Bar in Grasonville on July 28 at 12:30 p.m.

The Poker Run North also plans stops in Annapolis, points on the Severn River and in Oxford.

:. For more information, call (301) 643-4538.

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