It’s party time! Tournament week has arrived and we’re going to celebrate! Back in 1992 the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 debuted and out of the gate became the world’s first million-dollar marlin tournament. Today, as the event begins a week-long celebration of its 20th anniversary, it continues to be, boat for boat, the richest marlin and tuna tournament in the world! A lot of planning and preparation has taken place over the past year and numerous special events are scheduled for tournament participants this week.
Boats began arriving as early as mid-week last week at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland, the event’s host marinas. While some crews spent the past few days readying tackle, others used the time to pre-fish the waters off the south Jersey coast and they weren’t disappointed with what they saw. A tuna bite saw several big eyes of over 200 pounds caught and the billfish also bit in numbers as blue marlin and white marlin flags were flying daily at both marinas. All this bodes well for tournament participants who have gathered to battle for a share of the cash purse that’s expected to top $1.5 million!
Tournament registration begins at 1 p.m. today where last minute sign-ups and calcutta entries will take place. The captains meeting and cocktail party is set for 4:30 p.m. when rules will be explained and committee boats assigned. Fishing begins tomorrow morning and continues through Friday. Participants will select three of the next five days to fish the canyons offshore and although Ocean City, Maryland is the event’s official satellite port, all boats must fish within 125 miles of the Cape May Sea Buoy regardless of their sailing inlet. Boats may not clear their respective sea buoy prior to 4:30 a.m. each day and fishing begins at 8:30 a.m. “Lines Out” is set for 3:30 p.m. All fish to be weighed must be at the scales of either marina by 9 p.m.
With a field of at least 125 boats tournament cash proceeds of $500,000 is assured. The three heaviest white marlin and blue marlin are each worth $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000 respectively while the three heaviest tuna are worth $75,000, $35,000 and $20,000. The heaviest wahoo and dolphin (mahi mahi) each win $10,000. Optional calcutta entries, which are sanctioned by the tournament, will add considerable cash to the purse. Minimum weight for a white marlin to qualify is 65 pounds and a blue marlin must weigh at least 400 pounds. Any tuna, including big eye, yellowfin or longfin, must weigh at least 50 pounds. Points are awarded for billfish releases and tournament artwork by marine artist Guy Harvey is awarded to the top three point winners.
Remember, August is officially “Guy Harvey Month” at South Jersey Marina and Guy’s latest artwork and merchandise will be on display and available for purchase. Also, in addition to his exclusive, private appearances at the Mid-Atlantic $500,000, Guy will be available for a rare public northeast signing session at the South Jersey Marina Ship’s Store on August 23 and August 24 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The public is cordially invited to meet Guy personally and have him sign his artwork, t-shirt or other items baring his art. The Ship’s Store at South Jersey Marina is located at 1231 Rt. 109, Cape May.
Please note aside from the Guy Harvey signing sessions at South Jersey Marina mentioned above, the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 is a private event and not open to the general public. Tournament credentials are required for access to any tournament activities and facilities.
We will provide nightly updates shortly after the scales close at 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday via e-mail. A complete tournament wrap-up will be sent out via e-mail by 11 a.m. Saturday. For further information on the tournament or the Guy Harvey public appearances, please contact South Jersey Marina at 609-884-2400 or visit the tournament’s official web site at www.MA500.com where you’ll find the latest information including photos, standings and a link to purchase official tournament apparel.