Numerous Records Fall as 23rd MidAtlantic Tournament Comes to a Close
The 2014 MidAtlantic tournament came to a close last night and the 23rd edition of sportfishing’s “Main Event” was just that and will indeed be talked about around the docks up and down the east coast and beyond for a long time! Tournament week saw nearly perfect weather conditions and the movement of a Gulf Stream warm water eddy spread nutrient-rich cobalt blue water and bait from the Wilmington to the Washington canyon and lit up the billfishing at a record-setting pace. Numerous tournament records were also set including a $2.4 million purse and a new blue marlin weight record!
Day Five of the 2014 MidAtlantic dawned with an overcast sky and moderate breeze and the billfish bite did not let up for the 104 boats fishing on the final day of the tournament. While the current leaders of the two billfish categories and the tuna category held their ground, there were indeed a few nervous moments for those atop the leaderboard as several contending fish were brought to the scales.
The weigh-in session on Day Five got off to a fast start as once again a big blue marlin was awaiting the scales to open at 5 p.m. Steve Ramsey of Ocean City, Maryland aboard his Lady Luck weighed a blue marlin of 586 pounds to record the second heaviest of that species in the tournament. That position was short lived however as Captain Walter Harmstead wheeled Larry Hesse’s Goin’ in Deep of Fort Lauderdale, Florida to the scales and weighed a blue marlin of 596 pounds to capture the second heaviest blue marlin of the tournament and pushed Lady Luck to third heaviest in the category. Wade Lober of Queenstown, Maryland aboard his Why Not recorded the heaviest blue marlin of the event with his new tournament record 847 pounder which broke the record of 748 pounds which was held by the late Rich Addeo of Staten Island, New York aboard his Gina Lisa and set in 1997.
One notable catch on Day Five that requires mentioning is that of the billfish weighed from the vessel Hook of Wakefield, Rhode Island’s Jason Simons. While the 354-pound blue marlin fell short of the tournament minimum weight of 400 pounds, it bears noting the accomplishment since the angler, Brian Follett of Point Judith, Rhode Island, is blind. The blue marlin was hooked just minutes prior to the lines out call and was fought by Brian for just over two hours before being boated. At 28, Brian has been blind for nearly 17 years as a result of contracting Lyme disease though he doesn’t let his disability inhibit his desire to be on the
water neither does he believe it puts him at a disadvantage when he’s battling fish of any size. He’s caught several billfish over the years and vows to be back at the MidAtlantic again! Congratulations to Brian and the crew of the Hook!
Day Five also saw the leaders of the white marlin category challenged as several respectable billfish were weighed including a 72 pounder by Rich Adelman of Newtown, Pennsylvania aboard his Alana Ken and a 70 pounder aboard the Par Five of Nick and Trish Rodriguez from Dover, Delaware. John Ratliff of Marathon, Florida weighed a white marlin of 69 pounds from his No Worries but that fish also fell short of the leaders. In the end, Medford, New Jersey’s Dave Anderson held on to the heaviest white marlin in the tournament with his 81 pounder taken aboard his Cape May-based Krazy Salts. Jon Duffie of Silver Spring, Maryland aboard his Billfisher swept the second and third heaviest white marlin with a pair of 80 pounders.
Though several tuna were weighed on Day Five all fell short of the leaderboard. Adam LaRosa’s Canyon Runner from Point Pleasant, New Jersey captured the heaviest tuna at 123 pounds while Michael Yocco of New Providence, New Jersey on his MJ’s locked up the second heaviest tuna with his 113 pounder. Goin’ in Deep took the third heaviest tuna at 107-pounds.
In other news on Day Five, Dennis Ward of North Palm Beach, Florida aboard his Fish On moved to the top of the leaderboard and held on to capture the heaviest wahoo after weighing a 65-pounder. Chad Jackson aboard his Team Charles from Estero, Florida finished with the second heaviest wahoo at 50 pounds followed by Danny Veid of Tarpon Springs, Florida aboard his Amarula Sun with a 49 pounder.
Sean Welsh of Ocean City, Maryland on his Restless Lady took the heaviest dolphin award at 43 pounds. Chris Schultz of Oveida, Florida aboard his Cracker took the second and third heaviest dolphin with his 35 and 31 pounders.
Some of the boats with significant billfish releases on Day Five include John Ratliff of Marathon, Florida aboard No Worries with 10 white marlin released and Daniel Hassan of Boca Raton, Florida aboard Swagger with eight white marlin released. Boats with six white marlin released include Marty Judge of West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania aboard Judge; Susan McCart of Ocean City, Maryland aboard Reel Joy and Dennis Ward of North Palm Beach, Florida aboard Fish On. Jamie Diller of Stone Harbor, New Jersey aboard Canyon Lady and Matt Lonnuzzi of Brooklyn, New York aboard Over the Top each released five white marlin. Edward Russo of Carlstadt, New Jersey released a blue marlin and four white marlin. Dave Anderson of Medford, New Jersey aboard his Krazy Salts recorded a rare Grand Slam by releasing a blue marlin, three white marlin and a sailfish.
As noted earlier, numerous records were set during the tournament including 616 white marlin caught with over 96% released which shatters the previous record of 557 caught in 2010. Add in the 30 blue marlin caught this year with 83% of that species released and the total billfish catch of 646 is also a new tournament record. Consider also the catch per unit of effort for the tournament fleet for billfish was also a record 1.75 marlin per boat per day. It’s also worth noting the catch per unit of effort for the MidAtlantic has been well above one white marlin per boat per day for five of the last seven years! As tournament biologist Dr. John Graves says “These are the good old days of billfishing.”
Dockside activities were scheduled at both tournament venues during the week including under the big top tent in Cape May where a special Polynesian Night complete with hula and fire dancers entertained the crowd. A private tour of the Hawk Haven Winery and tasting followed by a fashion show presented by Fathoms of South Jersey Marina also drew numerous participants.
It should be noted that no less than seven winners received a payout of six figures or more and ten winners total received payouts of $40,000 or more!
Heaviest White Marlin – 81 lbs. – Krazy Salts – Dave Anderson – Medford, New Jersey – $660,394
2nd Heaviest White Marlin – 80 lbs. tie – Billfisher – Jon Duffie – Silver Spring, Maryland – $221,176
Heaviest Blue Marlin – 847 lbs. – Why Not – Wade Lober – Queenstown, Maryland – $148,896
2nd Heaviest Blue Marlin – 596 lbs. – Goin’ in Deep – Larry Hesse – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – $342,721
3rd Heaviest Blue Marlin – 586 lbs. – Lady Luck – Steve Ramsey – Ocean City, Maryland – $72,960
Heaviest Tuna – 123 lbs. – Canyon Runner – Tom Hutchinson – New York, New York – $377,070
2nd Heaviest Tuna – 113 lbs. – MJ’s – Michael Yocco – New Providence, New Jersey – $139,096
3rd Heaviest Tuna – 107 lbs. – Goin’ in Deep – Larry Hesse – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – $144,694
Heaviest Dolphin – 43 lbs. – Restless Lady – Sean Walsh – Ocean City, Maryland – $14,029
Heaviest Wahoo – 65 pounds – Fish On – Dennis Ward – North Palm Beach, Florida – $39,997
The following received calcutta winning for various positions on the leaderboard during the tournament:
68 lbs. – Canyon Lady – Jamie Diller – Stone Harbor, New Jersey – $65,267
70 lbs. – Cash Out – Alex Chervinsky – Brooklyn, New York – $31,772
65 lbs. – Irish Twin – Tom Ely – Franklin Lakes, New Jersey – $10,622
71 lbs. – Odinspear – Deacon Burke – Baltimore, Maryland – $7191
83 lbs. – Slabjack – Brian Dwyer – Bay Head, New Jersey – $19,599
57 lbs. – Prime Time – John Mascaro – (no hometown available) – $14,162
58 lbs. – Playmate – Jack Shamdrowski – Forest Hill, Maryland – $7191
50 lbs. – Team Charles – Chad Jackson – Estero, Florida – $17,202
49 lbs. – Amarula Sun – Danny Veid – Tarpon Springs, Florida – $7990
35 lbs. and 31 lbs. – Cracker – Chris Schultz – Oviedo, Florida – $41,947
28 lbs. – Prime Time – John Mascaro – (no hometown available) $7990
25 lbs. – Got Game – Sean O’Donnell – Glenmoore, Pennsylvania – $3689
23 Lbs. – Canyon Runner – Deane Lambros – Fairfield, Connecticut – $2467
Most Points White Marlin – 1425 – Stream Weaver – Rusty Carter – Wilmington, North Carolina
2nd Most Points white Marlin – 1200 – Can Do Too – Golden Activities, LLC – Stuart, Florida
3rd Most Points White Marlin – 1193 – Canyon Lady – Jamie Diller – Stone Harbor, New Jersey
Most Points Blue Marlin – 423.5 – Why Not – Wade Lober – Queenstown, Maryland
2nd Most Points Blue Marlin – 300 – Tra-Sea Ann – Robert Manetta – Brick, New Jersey
3rd Most Points Blue Marlin – 300 – Plane Simple – Jim Jensen – Satellite Beach, Florida
Most Points Tuna – 61.5 – Canyon Runner – Tom Hutchinson – New York, New York
2nd Most Points Tuna – 56.5 – MJ’s – Michael Yocco – New Providence, New Jersey
3rd Most Points Tuna – 56.5 – Playmate – Jack Shandrowski – Forest Hill, Maryland
Most Points Overall – 1425 – Stream Weaver – Rusty Carter – Wilmington, North Carolina
White marlin released – 592
White marlin boated – 24
Blue marlin released – 25
Blue marlin boated – 5
Tuna boated – 13
Wahoo boated – 8
Dolphin boated – 25
Sailfish released – 2
Spearfish released – 1
For further information please visit the tournament web site at www.themidatlantic.com where you can check all the standings and also purchase tournament apparel.