Next Up... The Cape May Marlin Tournament

Offshore Action Kicks Off as 2024 MidAtlantic Entry List Grows!

With the unofficial start of summer comes the first trips offshore for many bluewater aficionados and this year the big game season got off to a fast start! In fact, Memorial Day weekend saw the first yellowfin tuna caught from the canyons followed by the coveted first white marlin release of the season on June 1 aboard longtime MidAtlantic tournament participant and frequent winner, the Jupiter, Florida-based Fish On with Captain Andrew Dotterweich on the bridge. As the month of June wears on there will no doubt be increased traffic offshore as the canyon water temperatures rise and schools of baitfish converge these deepwater trenches followed by pelagics including white marlin, blue marlin, yellowfin and big eye tuna, wahoo and dolphin all looking for an easy meal.
This year’s MidAtlantic, the 33rd installment of sportfishing’s “Main Event”, is set for the week of August 18-23 and with the full moon falling on August 19 it could be another big year for the tournament, especially for white marlin and blue marlin that traditionally go on the feed around the monthly lunar event. Last year’s tournament saw an impressive 750 white marlin caught with 735 released! That’s the third highest number of white marlin caught in the tournament’s previous 31 years. The heaviest white marlin award went to Clint Clement’s Cape May Court House, New Jersey-based Common Sense with an 87-pounder taking home $201,388. However, the big winner in the category was Howard Berger’s Boss Hogg from Edgewater, Maryland whose 76-pounder took second place and netted a cool $1,406,938! That’s a tournament record payout and was due to Boss Hogg entered in significantly more calcuttas which boost the payouts in the tournament. Blue marlin were also in a hungry mood as 44 were caught with 36 released and numerous reports of other blues seen, hooked and lost. Ocean, New Jersey’s Carmine “Chip” Caruso aboard his Pipe Dreamer lead the field with an 889-pounder that was worth $1,180,342, a tournament record payout as well! Tuna pros fared well too as big eye’s showed up just in time and all three places in the category went to “eyeballs” of 253-, 234- and 216-pounds lead by the 253-pounder aboard Christopher Little’s Talkin’ Trash out of Pasadena, Maryland and won $361,353. Here too, the big winner in the category was not the heaviest fish as Summit, New Jersey’s Bob Hugin aboard his The Right Place was across the board in the calcuttas and won $552,483 for his 234-pound big eye, which finished in second place.

In most big game events dolphin and wahoo are often thought of as by-catch and worth minimal payouts. However, the MidAtlantic offers numerous calcuttas, also known as side bets, even for these species and there’s plenty of cash up for grabs. Take last year where a 56-pound wahoo took first place for Kyle Dougherty of Cape May Court House, New Jersey and was worth $51,129! Here again, the big money in the category went to the second heaviest ‘hoo as a 52-pounder was worth $67,666 for Jim McCarthy of Shillington, Pennsylvania aboard his Covert Mission. The dolphin category payouts were equally impressive as a 45-pounder aboard the Liquidity of Jupiter, Florida’s David Shockley took the top prize of $67,321 followed by Hatboro, Pennsylvania’s Jow Bernert aboard Quick Raise with a 34-pounder worth $51,474!

With its multiple calcuttas of various entry fee levels available for all tournament species, the MidAtlantic is known for generous payouts to multiple winners. Worthy of note, in 2023 there were two winners whose payouts exceeded well over $1 million! Three additional winners pocketed well over $460 thousand while four more cashed out with checks of over $112 thousand. There were also seven other winners each receiving well over $50 thousand! As you can see, ya’ gotta be in it to win it! Last year a field of 181 boats battled for a total cash purse of nearly $5.8 million and nearly three dozen participants took home a piece of the pot of cash!

The 33rd Annual MidAtlantic gets under with a Welcome Cocktail Party and Late Registration followed by a Captains Meeting on Sunday, August 18. Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey serves as the tournament’s home port headquarters while Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland serves as the second port’s headquarters and Sunday’s events will take place simultaneously at each venue. Fishing days are Monday, August 19 through Friday, August 23 and participants will select three of the five available days to fish. Entry fee is set at $3000 and this fee includes all dockside dining and hospitality for the week. Prize money for the tournament is tallied from the various calcuttas and this year the cash purse is once again expected to approach, if not top, $6 million! Cash prizes are awarded for the three heaviest white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, wahoo and dolphin. Other prizes include cash payouts for billfish releases and valuable awards for top three points tallied in both marlin categories and the tuna category as well as the winner for most points overall.

According to Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman, the safest, quickest and easiest way to enter is online. “Registration online on our web site is fast, safe and secure and ensures your spot in the tournament as once again we’ll have port caps of 125 boats in each port,” noted Hoffman adding dockage must also be arranged as well. “Participants should contact our host marinas directly for dockage availability, rates, etc., to be sure they can accommodate their vessel,” he noted.

Though the 33rd MidAtlantic is still over two months away you should make plans now if you want to be part of what is always one of the most memorable tournament weeks of the summer. Two beautiful venues, each located in popular beach towns, make this event popular with the entire family. Come join the fun and battle against the best in the world of big game fishing! For more information contact Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman at 609-884-0177 or visit the tournament’s web site at where you’ll find all the facts, figures and information about the 2024 MidAtlantic including a complete breakdown of calcuttas, rules, points, and a Tournament Week schedule. You can also follow along on social media Facebook at The MidAtlantic Tournament; on Twitter @midatl and on Instagram @themidatlantictournament.

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