I Captained a boat for the Annual Challenge Cup which takes place in Ocean City, MD. It is a marlin release tournament, and basically Cape May, NJ vs. Ocean City, MD. It is a tournament that is all about bragging rights and having a great time. It is my favorite tournament of the year.
Day One we started in the Poorman’s Canyon and worked our way down sea walking along the edge from 80 fathoms to 200 fathoms. The water temp was 75.5 degrees and it was a blended blue color all day. By late morning we had a pot hole left behind after a bite on the left long naked ballyhoo and game on. We got the release after about 15 minutes but we weren’t able to get a good enough look at it to identify if it was a small blue or a white so we battled with it for another 45 minutes and finally saw that it was a small blue marlin. Shortly after that we had a white on the right long that never ate and another one that laid in the back of the spread and never ate. Towards the end of the day we saw a ton of skip pies on the surface going crazy and once we went through, every rod went down. A few were the skippies and some were wahoo which bit us off above the hook. We quickly got back on the troll and I followed the skippies for two miles and then we had a blue marlin come up on the right teaser. We kept him interested while he kept passing up anything we placed in front of him for the teaser. After a little tug of war, we got a plug out to him that he piled on, but pulled off of after about 5 seconds, then he nailed the right long naked ballyhoo. We chased him for about 20 minutes and got the release. Great way to end the day.
Day Two we started just above the Washington. We got hooked up on a white right away and got the release. Not long after that we picked up another white marlin release, and then the fan turned on. It was blowing a solid 25 out of the NNW which was directly in our face for the ride home, so the crew made the call to start making our way back, and it was a long ride home. It was a steady 5-8 foot chop so we couldn’t do much better than 10 knots. Most of the fleet made the same decision to go home early, but a few of the bigger boats stuck it out and caught 8-9 whites.
It was another fun tournament, just a bit of the bummer that we were blown out on the last day. Cape May ended up taking the Challenge Cup for 2012. Hopefully we get another run of whites up our way and also some overnight tuna action. Things have been hit and miss, but more so miss lately, but anything can change quickly.