(Aug. 21, 2004 - Cape May, New Jersey)... It’s no secret that when the bite is "on" and conditions are right, the canyons off the south Jersey coast offer some of the best fishing opportunities in the world. On Day Five of the 2004 Mid-Atlantic $500,000, for the 117 boats fishing the final day of sportfishing’s "Main Event," the bite was indeed "on." Mind boggling may best describe the action on Friday, a day traditionally called "moving day" at the tournament where many moves up and down the leaderboard often occur as boats return from offshore. A moderate southwest wind created seas of three to five-feet offshore but that didn’t seem to bother the billfish as many boats in the fleet saw well over two dozen white marlin during the day. Reports of double and triple headers were common and release flags were flying high on the ’riggers of the fleet as the boats returned to Cape May and Ocean City, Maryland. Over 200 billfish were caught on the final day of the tournament and in the end, Friday did indeed prove to be "moving day" as some significant changes did indeed occur in the standings.
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The Sherrie Lynn boated their fish, a 74 lb white marlin, which gave them the 2nd place finish, netting $479,305.
Photo by courtesy of Mid-Atlantic
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At Last with 132 lb tuna, capturing a 3rd place finish worth $51,779.
Photo by courtesy of Mid-Atlantic
Andy Schlotter had to sweat out the radio chatter of all the white marlin being hooked and released on Day Five but the 75-pound white marlin caught aboard his My Time on Tuesday held up to win the category and $258,889. Roy Schwalbach’s Sherrie Lynn had those on the leaderboard concerned when he returned to Canyon Club just after 4 p.m., nearly an hour before the scales would open, with a white marlin. The Sherrie Lynn boated their fish caught by Ed Smith, Jr. just before noon and knew it was a contender and at 74 pounds the white marlin earned the Sherrie Lynn a second place finish in the category and won $479,305. In a unique twist, Trey Rhyne’s Over Under and Val Lynch’s Cyntinory each weighed white marlin of 71-pounds on Day Five to finish in a three-way tie with Joe Recupero’s Bone Shaker. Each received $18,926. Rob Wagner was the angler who caught the Cyntinory’s billfish and Nick Christos caught the white marlin on Over Under which just happened to be the first white marlin he ever caught!
While well over two dozen blue marlin were caught during the week, cracking the stringent 400-pound minimum weight proved to be difficult. On Monday, Steve Hotz’s True Grit weighed the only qualifying blue marlin in the tournament and his 518-pound billfish held up all week and swept all three places in the category and won $365,668.
In the tuna division, numerous reports of boated tuna had the crew of Elio Mazzella’s El Gina on edge as they hoped their 182-pound big eye caught on Monday was heavy enough to hold on to the top spot. Despite a late day charge by other boats weighing tuna, El Gina’s big eye caught on Monday won the category and $170,334. Bill Post’s Lady Louise finished in second place with a 150-pound big eye caught on Tuesday and won $98,555. Howard Teitelbaum’s At Last weighed a big eye of 132 pounds caught by Teitelbaum on Friday and finished in third place and won $51,779.
Tony Faraco’s Christie won the dolphin division with a 44-pound mahi-mahi and Howard Teitelbaum’s At Last won the wahoo division with a 58.5-pound ’hoo. Both of those fish were caught on Wednesday. Each received $10,000.
As we said earlier, the white marlin bite was wild on Day Five and numerous boats released multiple billfish including Dave Wood’s Sea Toy with Bull Tolson at the wheel who lead the day with 11 white marlin released. Other boats with multiple billfish releases include Richard Benn’s Spencer 54 with nine white marlin released followed by Tony Faraco’s Chrisiti, Pat Healy’s Viking 61 and Art Kontos’ Let it Ride, all of whom released seven white marlin each. Sydney Sussman’s Certifiable released six white marlin and a blue marlin while Phil Nolan’s Lazy Bones released five white marlin and a blue marlin. Joe Natoli’s Janice, Joe Recupero’s Bone Shaker and Joe Aiello’s Reel’n & Deal’n each released six white marlin while Jack Miller’s Ale House and Paul Stephen’s Scarlet Fever each released five white marlin.
Boats releasing four white marlin on Day Five include Bob Penza’s Oil Slick; John Raimondo’s Sea Mistress; Andy Schlotter’s My Time; Chris Orsaris’ Something Fishy; Dave Anderson’s Crazy Salts; Al Conan’s Ditch Digger; Tom Gessler’s Boy’s Toy; Ralph Aversa’s Dough Boy; Phil Infantolino’s Heart to Heart and Nick Rodriguez Par Five.
Boats with three white marlin releases on Day Five include William Cavanagh’s Trip Wire; Dominic Basille’s Lady Nancy; Lou Petrini’s Cavileer 53; Jim Roszkowski’s Islander; Ron Innamorato’s Tag-n-Brag; Bob Hazard’s Davis 48 and Ted Will’s Pipe Dream.
Boats releasing two white marlin on Day Five include John Wendkos’ Good Grief; Sal Rumbolo’s Wire Nut; Bernard and Drew Dinardi’s Absolut-ly; Frank Criscola’s Crisdel; Mike Chrysanthopoulo’s Tar Heel; Bill Gallo’s Joanna; Ludwig Bohler’s Moondancer; Chris Ruisi’s Kid’s Stuff; Bob Coppock’s Blue Sky; John Long’s G.F.Y. and Russell Baicco’s American Lady.
Demetris Michalaki’s Margherita Bella released a blue marlin and a white marlin while Mike Ackley’s Foray released a blue marlin.
Richard Benn’s Spencer 54 won the Most Points White Marlin award with 1125 points for 15 white marlin released. Dave Wood’s Sea Toy won Second Most Points White Marlin with 1125 points for 15 white marlin released. The tie was broken based on time of catch. Joe Aiello’s Reel’n & Deel’n won Third Most Points White Marlin with 975 for 13 white marlin released.
Demetris Michalaki’s Margherita Bella won Most Points Blue Marlin with 300 points for two blue marlin released. Steve Hotz’s True Grit won Second Most Points Blue Marlin with 259 points after earning _-point per pound for his 518-pound blue marlin. Roy Schwalbach’s Sherrie Lynn won Third Most Points Blue Marlin with 150 points for one blue marlin released based on time of catch.
Al Conan’s Ditch Digger won Most Points Tuna with 204.5 points. Elio Mazella’s El Gina won Second Most Points Tuna with 185 points and Eric Haug’s Miss Max won Third Most Points Tuna with 182 points.
Richard Benn’s Spencer 54 won the prestigious Most Points Overall award with 1125 points.
At the awards presentation last night tournament participants enjoyed cocktails and a lobster buffet dinner while Tournament President Dick Weber, Tournament Coordinator Mindy Weber, Weighmaster Chris Booth and Canyon Club Resort Marina Manager Mike Weber handed out the tournament record cash purse of over $1.5 million in prize money. During Tournament Week, the Mega Marlin Raffle was held and through the generosity of tournament participants well over $100,000 was raised and will be equally distributed between the International Game Fish Association, National Coalition for Marine Conservation and Recreational Fishing Alliance for use in programs benefiting all recreational anglers.
White marlin boated - 14
White marlin released â€“ 326
Blue marlin boated â€“ 3
Blue marlin released â€“ 27
Tuna weighed â€“ 54
Wahoo weighed â€“ 6