The White Marlin Open will be fished out of Harbour Island Marina in Ocean City tomorrow through Friday, and crowds will gather there each evening from 5 to 9 o'clock to watch the weigh-ins of marlin, tuna, wahoo, dolphins and sharks.
With any luck and foresight by the competitors, the spectators will see some very large fish.
The competition discourages the keeping of smaller fish.
"Naturally, it's very satisfying to see a beautiful trophy fish," said Chuck Motsko, who founded the tournament with his cousin, Phil Motsko, in 1974. "But nothing is sadder than to see one that doesn't meet the minimum.
"We want anglers to catch big fish, but we also demand that they let the small ones go so they can grow up to be big ones."
Tournament minimums are 65 pounds for white marlin, 250 pounds for blue marlin, 50 pounds for tuna, 40 pounds for wahoo, 20 pounds for dolphin and 100 pounds for sharks.
Last year, teen-ager Tommy Gessler Jr. of Delaware won more than $109,000 for a 74-pound white marlin taken on the first day of competition.
David Taylor of Owings set a tournament record with a payoff of $255,766 for a 413-pound blue marlin.
However, those anglers and captains who catch, tag and release marlins compete under a points system, with the top finishers winning master angler rings.
"I know some fishermen only care about bringing in a fish so they can brag," Motsko said. "But if you are wearing that master angler ring, the ring does the bragging for you. . . We think we have helped educate a lot of anglers over the years to preserve the billfish, not to kill it."
Larson wins J-24 European title
Annapolis sailor Chris Larson recently won the J-24 European Championship, leading the 69-boat fleet by 49.5 points after an 11-race series sailed in Medemblik, Holland. Larson won the European Championship last year as well.
Larson said short, windward-leeward courses placed a premium on starts and the first leg to weather.
"We knew if we got behind there wouldn't be time to work our way back through the fleet," Larson said.
Except in the 10th race, which was his throw-out, Larson was never out of first place.
Time for 24-hour tuna trip
Next Sunday, the 88-foot O.C. Princess will begin weekly overnight trips for tuna. The 24-hour trips, which were started two years ago, have turned up many tuna over 100 pounds as well as marlin, shark and dolphin.
The trips, which will run from 4 p.m. Sunday to 4 p.m. Monday, are limited to 25 anglers.
The cost is $190 per person.
5) For information, call (410) 213-0926.