Record Payout for White Marlin Open
The 45th Annual White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Maryland, set world records for the largest payout ever awarded for catching a billfish ($2,584,260) and for the largest purse paid in any fishing tournament ($5,461,560).
Pascual Jimenez from Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, reeled in an 83-pound white marlin from the Norfolk Canyon area on the last day of the tournament to claim the top prize. “I was so nervous. I kept saying, ‘C’mon, give me it, give me it.’ When it came up, we didn’t know it was a keeper,” says Jimenez, and adds that once it got close to the boat and starting jumping, they realized it was a strong contender. Jimenez caught the winner aboard Weldor’s Ark out of Morehead City, North Carolina, one of over 350 boats fishing on the final day. Gregory Giron of Virginia Beach caught the same size fish the day before but lost a tiebreaker because a gaff was used to bring the fish aboard. The difference between using a gaff and not using one was $2,454,476, a costly decision.
By far, the largest fish caught during the tournament was an 881-pound blue marlin caught by Joe Rahman from Wanaque, New Jersey. Rahman landed the huge fish on the first day aboard Auspicious out of Palm Beach, Florida. The Tuna Division edged closer to anointing its first million-dollar tuna as Gary Sansburry from Hobe Sound, Florida, won $904,851 for reeling in a 75.5-pound yellowfin while fishing on Buckshot out of Ocean City.
By Chris Knauss, Southern Boating November 2018