The 2023 MidAtlantic got off to a fast start today as 176 boats gave it a go and found sea conditions very favorable. The billfish bite got off to a good start as quite a few boats racked up multiple release and the first qualifying billfish in both the white marlin and the blue marlin category hit the scales at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland.
The evening’s weigh-in session got going early as Jeff Crabtree of New Smyrna Beach, Florida pulled up to the scales in Ocean City with his Pipe Down to weigh a blue marlin for angler Todd Luke. The billfish measured 115½” and tipped the scales at 489 pounds giving Pipe Down the early lead in the category. The hard luck award for the day and possibly even the tournament goes to Captain Danny Veid of Tarpon Springs, Florida aboard Amarula Sun. The crew hooked up a huge blue marlin about an hour before lines out and fought the massive billfish before getting it to the boat and cleanly placing two fly gaffs into her. Unfortunately, the marlin then tried to free itself from the gaffs and in the process got caught in the propellers mutilating the fish. The MidAtlantic follows IGFA rules which clearly states mutilated fish are disqualified. Worthy of note the crew of the Amarula Sun self-disqualified the fish which after weighing still pulled the scale down to 808 pounds! As a result, currently 2nd and 3rd place in the category remain vacant.
In other news from Day One, shortly before 7 p.m. Pat Healey’s Viking 80 demonstrator with Captain Sean Dooley on the bridge backed to the scale at Canyon Club Resort Marina with a white marlin to weigh for angler Thomas Garmany. A measurement taped the billfish out at 72” so up it went on the scale where it weighed 70 pounds putting Viking 80 in the lead in the category. A little over an hour later Tim Tanghare of Vincentown, New Jersey pulled to the scale at Canyon Club Resort Marina aboard Big Oil with a white marlin for angler Doug Allen that measured 69½” and tipped the scale at 69 pounds putting Big Oil in second place. Third place currently remains vacant.
Joe Stein III of Marriottsville, Maryland aboard his Marli sits atop of the tuna division with a 205-pound big eye for angler Tom DiStefano. Second place currently belongs to Christopher Little of Pasadena, Maryland who weighed a 195-pound big eye from his Talkin’ Trash for angler Dan Canola. Third place currently belongs to Michael Pintozzi of Langhorne, Pennsylvania aboard his Random Chaos after weighing a big eye of 112 pounds for angler Kevin Pintozzi.
In the dolphin category, David Schockley of Jupiter, Florida aboard Liquidity got out to the early lead after weighing a 45 pounder. Captain Brian Rabbitt has the Big Deal of Ed Russo from Carlstadt, New Jersey in second and third place with 32 and 36 pounders.
The wahoo lead currently belongs to Captain Joe Drosey’s Rhonda’s Osprey from Ocean City, Maryland with a 23 pounder. Second place belongs to Avenue, Maryland’s George Hall aboard his Hall Pass with a 22 pounder.
Some of the boats with notable billfish releases on Day One include Billy Wrede’s Lovin’ Life with eight white marlin and one blue marlin and Gina Addeo’s Gina Lisa with eight white marlin released. Ken Hager’s Taylor Jean released seven white marlin. Pat Healey’s Viking 80 released six white marlin. Numerous boats had four white marlin releases.
Please note the MidAtlantic tournament is a private event. Nightly weigh-in sessions at Canyon Club Resort Marina and Sunset Marina as well as other tournament venues are not open to the general public and require credentials for entry.
For further information contact Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman at 609-884-0177 or check out the tournament’s web site at www.themidatlantic.com for all the facts, figures and information about this year’s MidAtlantic including a complete rundown of calcutta payouts, rules, points, tournament records, photos, and an event schedule. There’s also a link to purchase tournament apparel as well as links for all tournament sponsors. On social media follow the MidAtlantic on Facebook at The MidAtlantic Tournament; on Twitter @midatl and on Instagram @themidatlantictournament.