The inaugural MidAtlantic Cup Blue Marlin Tournament attracted boats from Manasquan, New Jersey to Virginia Beach and was held on July 4th. This one-day, winner-take-all event allowed the 14 boats to fish from their home port with weigh stations selected to accommodate participants near their sailing port. Weather and sea conditions were ideal and reports of numerous blue marlin catches were already confirmed for a few weeks prior to the event while the days before the tournament saw an increase in catch numbers of both white and blue marlin. There were no boundaries for the tournament so participants could select where they wanted to fish and leave at any time prior to “Lines In” which was set for 8:30 a.m. There was no minimum weight set for the tournament though any blue marlin weighed needed to measure 106” to qualify. When the dust settled at day’s end Ed Katzianer’s Wish You Were Here, a 61’ Viking based out of Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey with Captain Rickey Wheeler on the bridge, stood alone atop the leaderboard.
Wheeler noted several factors played into their decision to run to the 600 fathom line between the Wilmington and Baltimore canyons. “I’d been following the water (offshore) for over a week and liked what I saw,” he noted, adding he had confirmed reports of white marlin and blue marlin caught in the same area the day before. “The water temperature was 74.5 to 75 degrees and it was simply beautiful, flat calm.” Other than a dolphin bite the day was pretty much uneventful for the crew until they hooked-up the blue marlin. “When you’re pulling big plugs on heavy tackle you’re just hoping for a bite from a big fish,” he added. That one bite came at about 2:10 p.m. when the blue marlin came up on the left teaser. Seeing the fish, the crew dropped a pitch bait back but it didn’t get bit. “She didn’t take the pitch bait but we saw her pile on the plug we were pulling from the right short ‘rigger. It was an awesome bite!” Angler Brett Katzianer, Ed’s son, immediately hopped in the fighting chair and the battle was on. “She took a lot of line initially off the 130 and made a lot of jumps,” added Wheeler noting he knew it was a qualifying fish as soon as he saw it. After a battle that lasted well over an hour the fish was brought to leader, gaffed and boated. The crew raced back to Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May where word had gotten out a blue marlin was being brought to the scale. It was early evening and a crowd had already gathered to view the weigh-in when Wheeler backed the Wish You Were Here to the weigh station. The blue marlin measured 108” and was placed on the scale and Chris Booth, weighmaster for the event, allowed the fish to settle before yelling out the weight at 489 pounds!
For their efforts the Wish You Were Here received the tournament purse of $22,400! They also won an “Admirals Package” fishing vacation in Nosara, Costa Rica courtesy of Fishing Nosara (FishingNosara.com) which includes seven nights at the luxurious Casa Capitan at Nosara Paradise Rentals is provided along with four full days fishing the gamefish-rich waters of the Pacific Ocean for up to six anglers. The value of this trip alone is well over $6800! Congratulations to Ed and Brett Katzianer, Rickey Wheeler and the crew of the Wish You Were Here!