OCEAN CITY -- The first blue marlin of the week was brought to the weigh-in of the White Marlin Open yesterday, and for the second day in a row, an angler hooked up with a blue watched the big one get away.
But no one aboard the 160 boats that went out on the third day of the tournament came close to Bob Bell of Baltimore's first place 80.5-pound white marlin caught Monday.
James Goode of Bowley's Quarter was the first boat to check in yesterday and brought with him a blue marlin that was 15 pounds under the tournament minimum of 250 pounds.
Goode, fishing with Mark Mavris, Gene Thompson and Eric Warner of Pasadena and Ken Neighoff of Severna Park, said the blue was caught at the tip of Washington Canyon.
"It would be a better day if it [the blue marlin] was 255," said Goode, who, with his partners, also accounted for three white marlin releases aboard Capt. Craig Zeigler's Box Lunch.
While Goode was able to boat his marlin, Carlos Bentos of Annapolis found himself in an unusual predicament.
Bentos, who held second place in the dolphin category early in the week, found himself hooked up with a blue marlin estimated to be well above the minimum.
The hook is that Bentos always fishes alone.
After hooking up, Bentos asked for a clarification of tournament rules regarding addition of crew after a boat is under way.
The ruling of the judges was that Bentos could put no one else aboard to run the boat while he fought the fish.
After several hours of struggle, tournament officials reported that Bentos had lost the fish about 3:30 p.m.
While Bentos and Goode put a shudder through the crowd of spectators, Kelly Conway of Norfolk and Julie Smith of Baltimore were causing some changes to be made in the standings.
Conway, who finished third in the top angler competition last year, yesterday boated a 43.5-pound wahoo to take first place. Conway also released four white marlin to move into second place in the top angler competition.
Smith, aboard the Fightin' Chance out of Baltimore, caught a 105.5-pound yellowfin tuna to move into third place in that category.
After three days of fishing, the 221 boats entered have a total of 241 fishing days remaining to be used today or tomorrow.
And Bob Bell's white marlin is looking bigger and bigger.
Results (Through yesterday) White marlin -- 1. Bob Bell, Shamrock, 80.5 pounds; 2. Enrie Duckett, Fandango, 71 pounds; Bob Belcher, Prime Time, 67.5 pounds.
Blue marlin -- no qualifiers weighed.
Tuna -- 1. Richard Joy, No Strings II, 266.5 pounds; 2. Victor Carbone, Parthenon, 246.5 pounds; 3. Julie Smith, Fightin' Chance, 105.5 pounds.
Dolphin -- 1. Ben Poe, Trashman, 31.0 pounds; 2. John McGin, Sea Mistress, 28 pounds; 3. Larry Knight, Bobbin' Jean, 24.5 pounds.
Wahoo -- 1. Kelly Conway, Ell-An-Bro, 43.5 pounds.
Shark -- no qualifiers.