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Posted by on Aug 23, 2013 in Awards, Fishing, News and Events, US |

Fishing Friday: White Marlin Open Recap

The 2013 White Marlin Open, the world’s biggest billfish tournament, has come to a close – here’s what happened.

This year’s White Marlin Open, the 40th to take place, has drawn to a close. 2013 marks a still slightly depressed turn-out, with 262 boats entering the tournament. That’s up from last year’s mark of 253 boats, but still down from its peak in the mid-2000’s when over 420 boats competed. It’s not like the excitement level has dropped, though—thanks to a total purse of $2,475,030 in prize money.

white marlin jumping

Just how much could one fish be worth? If it’s the largest white marlin caught during the White Marlin Open, it could be well over a million dollars. Three times, the pay-out has topped 1.4 million.

The top white marlin caught this year was 83.0 pounds (tying last year’s largest fish), by Severna Park angler Tommy Jones. His catch was followed by three marlin of the exact same size at 77 pounds each. That 83-pounder was worth a cool 1.2 million and change, while the next three fish brought just $102,498 each.

White marlin fishing in general was way off this year; in 2012, 961 whites were caught but this year, just 376 were caught and only 18 were boated. (The release rate for the tournament regularly runs over 95-percent). For the first time in over a decade, no blue marlin were weighed in at all. Nada. Tuna, however, provided another high-point: the biggest fish, worth over a half million dollars, was a monster 276-pound bigeye. Two other tunas over 200 pounds were brought to the scales, and you have to drop back all the way to fourth place to find a tuna that didn’t break the 200 pound mark.

You want to join in on this epic fishing adventure? The dates for the 2014 White Marlin Open have been announced: August fourth through the eighth. But you’d better have a hefty bankroll. The base entry fee begins at $1,200 and depending on what categories you choose to enter, can range up to a whopping $18,000.

For more information, visit the White Marlin Open.