If early July is any indication of what’s to come we are in for an exciting summer on The Rip along the midAtlantic coast as white marlin have arrived in force and blue marlin have made a strong showing as well! Results of several early season tournaments out of Cape May, New Jersey and Ocean City, Maryland have been impressive with many boats releasing multiple white marlin and encounters with big blue marlin have also been frequent and a respectable number of those bruisers have been released in early July as well. Add to the mix an awesome tuna bite with numerous big eyes over 200 pounds already caught and plenty of decent sized yellowfins around to fill the gaps between billfish bites! Dolphin have also made an early season appearance and should only get more abundant as offshore water continues to warm and although wahoo reports have been scattered it’s just a matter of time before those tasty toothy critters will appear.
These encouraging reports couldn’t come at a better time as we’re just a little over a month away from the “Main Event” on the east coast’s big game tournament calendar each year as the 2018 MidAtlantic is set for August 19-24. This year’s event is the 27th installment of what Marlin magazine has referred to as “One of the top offshore tournaments in the world which spreads the wealth and offers many ways to win.” Interest in the 2018 event has been strong and port caps are once again set at 95 boats for each venue, Cape May and Ocean City, to allow the tournament to continue its renowned dockside hospitality and service it has become known for year after year.
Although the tournament’s basic entry fee of $2500 covers all dockside activities and hospitality for up to six anglers and allows the participants to compete for a variety of awards in the non-cash point categories, a unique feature of the MidAtlantic is its diverse cash prize structure thanks to the multiple calcuttas which tournament participants may enter for an additional fee. There are no less than ten calcuttas available with entry fees range from $1000 to $6000 and they are paid out for weighed fish including white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, dolphin and wahoo as well as high point totals for released billfish. The variety of calcuttas available allows participants to select a competitive level they are comfortable with and still win significant cash. The Atlantic Tackle Billfish Points Calcutta has an entry fee of $1000 and pays out to the top three most points billfish winners in Cape May and Ocean City so participants are only competing against boats in their home port. The Tuna, Dolphin and Wahoo Calcutta pays out to the three heaviest of those species in the tournament and costs $2500 to enter. The Little & O’Reilly/Merrill Lynch White Marlin Pro Jackpot has a $5000 fee while the Blue Marlin Pro Jackpot and Seakeeper Tuna Pro Jackpot each have $3000 fees to enter. All three of the Pro Jackpot Calcuttas are one-prize, winner-take-all payouts for the heaviest of each species. Four Overall-style calcuttas award cash payouts for the three heaviest white marlin, blue marlin and tuna as well as the single heaviest dolphin and wahoo and include the Home Port Overall Calcutta which is port specific, one payout for Cape May and another for Ocean City, and has a fee of $4000. Additionally, the MidAtlantic Overall Calcutta with a fee of $3000 as well as the In Deep Overall Calcutta with its fee of $6000 award cash payouts for the three heaviest white marlin, blue marlin and tuna as well as the single heaviest dolphin and wahoo. The Jupiter Marine 50’ and Under Overall Calcutta is geared for vessels 50’ and under based on model size of the vessel and has a $2000 entry fee. The Christi Insurance On the Board Reward has an entry fee of $2000 and pays out for the three heaviest white marlin, blue marlin and tuna each time a participants has a qualifying fish in those categories on the leaderboard at the close of each day’s weigh-in. As with previous MidAtlantic events participants can go all in and enter “across the board” and by doing so are likely battling for a cash purse in excess of $3 million! In fact, last year’s big winner, Larry Hesse of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, tallied over $1.1 million as he took the top prize in both the blue marlin and tuna categories aboard his Goin’ in Deep.
New for 2018 the MidAtlantic is now accessible through the South Jersey Tournaments App! Now participants and tournament fanatics can follow all the action and get updates on their favorite boat and team including standings, messages, photos, rules, schedule and tournament statistics. The App is a free download and is available for IOS or Android devices from the Apple App and Google Play stores.
Another exciting addition for this year’s event is the registration link on the tournament’s web site www.themidatlantic.com which allows participants to sign-up in advance to reserve their spot to compete against the best of the best in big game tournament fishing! By following the registration link participants can also reserve dockage and enter the calcutta levels of their choice as well as manage their boat, angler and crew profiles.
Finally, the MidAtlantic is pleased to announce Ms. Heather Millevoi has come aboard as part of the tournament’s staff. Heather comes to the MidAtlantic tournament team with experience in the fishing industry and event planning and can be reached at 609-884-0177 to answer your tournament-related questions. Expect to see her in Ocean City during this year’s MidAtlantic where she’ll play an important role as a point of contact for the Sunset Marina team. If you’re in the area during the tournament please stop by and say hello.
For further information please contact Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman and for sponsorship information contact Walt Rosenberg at 609-884-0177 or visit the tournament’s extensive web site at www.themidatlantic.com where you’ll find a complete rundown of the event’s rules, schedule and calcutta breakdown and you can also download a tournament eBrochure and entry form and also find the link for online registration.