Within the first 40 minutes on the last day of weigh-ins at Harbour Island, $3 million dollars changed hands. To win the biggest share of the $4.9 million dollars in prize money, a white marlin would have to top the 86-pound white caught off The Griffin from Palm Beach, FL on Wednesday. That’s a big white and would have won 36 of the last 43 tournaments. A closer look, however would reveal that it would have only won 4 of the last 8 events. Still, Wilmington Delaware angler Mike Donohue had to like his chances to hold onto the $2.6 million-dollar prize.
The scale for the last day of weigh-ins opened at Harbour Island Marina at 4:00 PM. Waiting at the 3:30 bridge was MR Ducks from OC, Md. The boat was carrying OC, Md. angler Joe Andrews with a white to weigh. The digital scale judged Andrews’ fish to weigh 79.5 pounds which didn’t affect Donohue’s $2.6 million, but jumped into 2nd knocking another OC boat, the Berzerker down to third place.
Yet another Ocean City boat, the Wire Nut made the 4:00 PM bridge and cruised toward the HI scale with a quiet confidence. Angler Glen Frost, an attorney from Stevensville, Md. knew that he had to beat a large white, but the crew felt the measurements indicated that was possible. When the digital scale read 95.5 pounds the celebrating started. It was the third largest white marlin ever caught in the 44-year-old event and it was Frost’s first white marlin catch!
So, Frost’s first ever billfish catch earned first place in the 2017 WMO and $1,654,800 in prize money. That fish cost Donohue $1,400,000 but Donohue and The Griffin still earned $1,525,964 for the 2nd place white. MR Ducks and fell to third with earnings of $164,673.
The tuna category produced 8 winners including a White Marlin Open record $866,553 tuna payout to Joe Sadler off the Intents both from Jupiter Florida. Other top tuna winners were $90,380 to James Boynton of Situate, MA fishing aboard the Blue Runner out of Manasquan, NJ for their 67-pound tuna. The Warden Pass from Cape May NJ carried Buena, NJ resident Kris Rainear who caught a tying 67-pound tuna and earned $52,950.
Tuna also earned big bucks for small boats. The Lisa from OC Md. carried angler Mike Cutler who hones his billfishing skills in Leawod, Kansas. Team Lisa won $112,050 for small boat top tuna and small boat big fish.
Jimmy Michael on the Dawg Haus out of OC, Md won $51,300 in the small boat white marlin division with his 58 pound tuna since no qualifying small boat white marlin were weighed.
The money in the Daily Meat Fish division is split between the heavy wahoo and heavy dolphin. The dolphin fishing was the slowest in memory and only one dolphin qualified. The one dolphin that did qualify, however, took big money. Ashton, MD angler Andrew Cohen aboard Annapolis based Silly Money weighed the a 23-pound dolphin to win all the daily money for dolphin and earned $74,841. The 3 wahoo shared the daily prizes and the Hog Wild, G-Force and Karen Marie each won over $25,000 for their fish.
The Restless Lady from Ocean City, MD took $7,091 for the only shark weighed when Frank Snover from White Township, NJ caught a 126 mako shark.
In the Daily Release Point division, the Bar South took first with 735 followed by Fender Bender with 700 points and Weldor’s Ark with 665 pts. Those same boats took the top three places in the prestigious Billfish Points division.
The top Tournament Anglers who will receive the coveted Master Angler Rings are: Jack Owens off the Rebel, John Roberts on the Weldor’s Ark, and Kevin Pento aboard the Singularis.