With Memorial Day Weekend and unofficial start of summer now in the rear view mirror, the offshore big game fishing season is off to a fast start along the mid-Atlantic coast. From the Hudson Canyon on south to the Baltimore Canyon those venturing off to “The Edge” have already decked plenty of yellowfin tuna and a few big eye tuna as well. Adding to the excitement, the first dolphin have also been caught and reports of several white marlin being released have been documented. With warm water eddies working into the region it won’t be long before the first blue marlin will be encountered as they follow the schools of yellowfin tuna and other forage species in pursuit of their next meal. Wahoo as well should begin to show up as water the temperature rises to their preferred range.
As the offshore season kicks off many of the best boats and crews from up and down the Atlantic coast will set their focus on sportfishing’s “Main Event” on the tournament calendar – The MidAtlantic! Now in its 31st year, the 2022 MidAtlantic is slated for the week of August 21-26 with Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey serving as the event’s home port and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland designated as the tournament’s lone satellite port. Last year’s MidAtlantic was one for the record books in several categories with nearly $6 million in tournament prize money awarded including three winners each receiving $1 million-plus payouts while six other winners each received $100,000 or more and five additional crews each received checks of $50,000 or more! Additionally, who could forget the excitement in the blue marlin category last year as the tournament’s record for the species was broken twice during the week! You may recall Rocky Hardison of Beaufort, North Carolina aboard his Wolverine weighed his tournament record blue marlin of 958 pounds on Day Three only to be bested on the final day of the tournament by Jon Duffie’s Billfisher from Ocean City, Maryland with his 1,135-pounder which not only re-set the MidAtlantic tournament record, but also was approved several weeks later as a new Maryland State Record for the species! A record field of 203 boats participated in last year’s event and early registration has been strong and a sellout for boats fishing from Ocean City is once again possible.
The schedule of events for the 2022 MidAtlantic includes Late Registration, Calcutta Entries and a Welcome Cocktail Party on Sunday, August 21st simultaneously held at the tournament’s host marinas in Cape May and Ocean City. Five available fishing days are provided from Monday, August 21 through Friday, August 26 and crews will pick three. Participants must select one of the two venues as “home port” for the week though all boats must fish within 125 miles of the Cape May Sea Buoy and may not pass their respective sea buoy prior to 3 a.m. on any fishing day. “Lines In” is set at 8 a.m. and “Lines Out” is 3:30 p.m. Eligible species for the tournament include white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, dolphin and wahoo. Any fish to be weighed must be at the scale of the host marina of the sailing port by 9 p.m. To qualify a white marlin must weigh at least 65 pounds AND measure 69” while a blue marlin must weigh at least 400 pounds AND measure 102”. All billfish are measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the fork of the tail. Yellowfin, big eye and true albacore (longfin) are eligible tuna species and must weigh at least 50 pounds while dolphin and wahoo must weigh at least 20 pounds.
The tournaments base entry fee covers all dockside entertainment and hospitality for the week. Tournament prize money is tallied through a series of no less than 11 calcuttas (side bets) which are an additional fee. Among the calcuttas back this year is the popular 31st Anniversary Mega Marlin Calcutta. With a $31 thousand entry fee, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart but it did provide a big payout last year to the lucky winner when it debuted to celebrate the tournament’s 30th anniversary. The more calcuttas a participant enters, the larger the payout potential for them to receive and they may enter any, all or none. Cash prizes are typically awarded for the three heaviest of all the eligible species though some are “winner take all.” Point awards are also presented to the top three winners in both billfish categories and the tuna category.
With its unprecedented dockside hospitality, generous cash payout structure and “who’s who” field of participants each year it’s no wonder the MidAtlantic continues to set the standard other events are measured by. The tournament has attracted the best in offshore fishing dating back to the inaugural event in 1992. Another record purse is expected and another exciting week at the scales will no doubt take place. If you haven’t made plans to be part of this celebration of 31 years of competition, opportunity and camaraderie you should ACT NOW to reserve you slip and your spot in the field! Don’t be left at the dock! It’s the 2022 MidAtlantic and its coming in hot and fast!
For further information contact Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman at 609-884-0177 or visit the tournament’s web site at www.themidatlantic.com where you’ll find all the facts, figures and information about this year’s event including a complete rundown of calcutta payouts, rules, points, and an event schedule. On social media follow the MidAtlantic on Facebook at The MidAtlantic Tournament; on Twitter @midatl and on Instagram @themidatlantictournament.