Michael Jordan is adding another sport to a repertoire that already includes high school football, minor league baseball, professional basketball and celebrity golf. He and his boat, Catch 23, are participating in the White Marlin Open, a deep sea fishing competition in Ocean City.
Jordan didn’t start his angling career as a big fish in a small pond — he went straight for a tournament where some of the top anglers on the planet are competing for more than $6 million of prize money. The tournament refers to itself as the “world’s largest and richest billfish tournament” on its website and says it’s arguably the “largest and richest fishing tournament” as well.
Boats of all sizes are allowed, and Jordan’s is 80-feet long. It displays a reminder of Jordan’s career as an athletic icon with its cement print, taken from the Air Jordan 3s he wore in the 1998 NBA All-Star game.
Jordan’s plane, decorated with the same pattern as his boat, was in Salisbury on Tuesday. His boat, Catch 23, arrived Wednesday for the third day of the five-day tournament. Each boat and angler are allowed to choose three of the days to participate, as they fish for white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, wahoo, dolphin and shark. The day starts at 8:30 a.m., and lines are allowed to be out until 3:30 p.m.
As of Thursday, Jordan had 70 points, which means he caught and released a fish. His boat has a combined 560 points and was placed 60th.
Starting at 4 p.m., fish had to be made available for weigh-ins, which go until 9:15 p.m. During the first two days they competed, Michael Jordan and those accompanying him on Catch 23 had released fish but hadn’t weighed any in, according to the tournament director, Madelyne Rowan.
The last day of weigh-ins was Friday. Jordan’s boat was fishing for white marlin, and the largest catch, caught by Johnny Hinkle of Fish Whistle, weighed in at 79.5 pounds for $1.46 million. Michael Wagner of Backlash has earned the largest purse so far, $1.5 million, with his 73.5 pound catch.
Craig Dickerson, aboard the Haulin N Ballin, caught the biggest blue marlin at 465.5 pounds, earning $740,000.
Russell Garufi caught the biggest tuna (201 pounds) to win $940,000 aboard the Crisdel.
John Kreiner, aboard the Playmate, boated a 41-pound dolphin to bring home $18,000.
Anne Aramendia weighed-in with the biggest wahoo (91 pounds) to earn $16,000.
Greg Robinson and his team aboard Polarizer topped the competition for shark with a 277.5 pounder.
The format of the tournament allows anglers of all skills to participate, and it gives beginners the chance to come home with a fat purse, according to the White Marlin Open website.