The Fourth of July holiday weekend has come and gone and the offshore fishing action continues to impress those who have ventured off to the canyons in recent weeks. Both yellowfin and big eye tuna have been found with some of both species over 100 pounds being weighed during local club events and family fun trips. Numerous dolphin have also been caught with several gaffers of 30-plus pounds hitting the docks and a smattering of wahoo have also been bagged. However, the big news around south Jersey focuses on the billfish bite which has picked up right where it left off at the close of the 2010 season. White marlin have again appeared in numbers and several boats sailing from Canyon Club and South Jersey Marina in Cape May and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland are reporting double-digit numbers of fish raised and multiple billfish release days! Several blue marlin have also been spotted with a few hooked up and released!
Canyon Club Marina Resort, Cape May, NJ
Catch reports such as these are indeed good news and have generated a lot of buzz around the docks as the 2011 Mid-Atlantic $500,000 approaches and preparations continue on schedule for this very special event which this year marks its 20th anniversary. Set for the week of August 21-26, the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 annually attracts the finest crews and the best boats during the height of the offshore season. Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey will play host facility for the event while Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland has again been designated the tournament’s lone satellite port. Both marinas will again offer full weigh-in for tournament participants who will compete for a projected total cash purse of nearly $2 million! Participants may sail from either port for the tournament though they must designate their sailing port when entering. All boats must fish within 125 miles of the Cape May Sea Buoy regardless of their sailing port.
Cash prizes include $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000 for the three heaviest white and three heaviest blue marlin while the top three tuna earn $75,000, $35,000 and $20,000. The single heaviest dolphin and wahoo are each worth $10,000. Tournament proceeds of $500,000 are based on a field of 125 boats and the overall cash purse will indeed swell once calcutta proceeds are tallied up. Five calcuttas are available and range from $1000 to $5000 and participants may enter any or none. Minimum weights to win cash include 65 and 400 pounds respectively for white marlin and blue marlin while in the tuna category only yellowfin, big eye and true albacore are eligible and must weigh 50 pounds to qualify for cash prizes. There is no minimum weight for dolphin or wahoo.
There is no limit to the number of anglers or lines in this trolling-only tournament though live bait is prohibited. IGFA rules apply except that a fish may be hooked by anyone in the crew provided the rod is handed off immediately to the angler who fights the fish until boated or released.
Tournament sponsors continue to sign on and among those on the exclusive list of supporters of this prestigious event is Seakeeper, the world leader in marine gyro stabilizers for sportfishing and leisure yachts, who have a special offer for those considering adding a gyro stabilizer to their vessel. Seakeeper will pay $6000 towards the 2011 Mid Atlantic $500,000 entry fee for any angler who purchases and refits a Seakeeper gyro stabilizer into their boat by August 1, 2011. Additionally, a Seakeeper gyro-equipped vessel will be participating in the tournament and will be available for demonstration when not fishing. And, Seakeeper is offering a $25 gift card to Lucky Bones Backwater Grill (located right across from South Jersey Marina) for all who sea trial the Seakeeper onboard their boat. For participants in Ocean City, Maryland, Seakeeper will have their 42′ Viking Sportfish available for demonstration as well.
If you want to be part of this very special Mid-Atlantic $500,000 where we’ll celebrate 20 years of what was the world’s first million-dollar marlin tournament and to this day continues to be, boat for boat, the richest marlin and tuna tournament in the world, you should act NOW to secure your spot.
For more information visit the tournament web site at www.ma500.com or contact tournament director Bob Glover at 609-884-2400.
The 2011 Mid-Atlantic $500,000 is proudly sponsored by Premier Sponsors BMW of North America; Ocean Yachts; Raymarine; South Jersey Yacht Sales and XM Satellite Weather and Premier Engine Sponsor Johnson & Towers/MTU. Additional sponsors include Alexseal Yacht Coatings; Baitmasters of South Florida; Big Game Fishing Journal; Boat Pix; Canyon Club Resort Marina; Christi Insurance Group; Costa Marine; Engines Incorporated; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Fineline Studio; FLIR Systems, Inc.; Fraser-Volpe; Garmin; Guy Harvey; ICOM; Interlux; KRU82 Vodka; KVH; Lucky Bones Backwater Grill; Mack Boring and Parts; MAN Engines and Components; Midlantic Gold Rush; Nauticomp; Ocean LED; Oceanview Marine Welding; Offshore Electronics; Offshore Financial and Pelagic Offshore Gear. Other sponsors include Penn Reels/Pure Fishing; Poly-Planer; Pompanette; Premier Detailing and Boat Cleaning; Ransome Engine/Caterpillar; Rick Bogert; Seakeeper Inc.; South Jersey Marina; Sperry Top-Sider; Sturdy Bank; Sunset Marina and ZF Marine, LLC.