It’s mid-January, the five-day forecast doesn’t get above 15 degrees-Fahrenheit. Scrolling through Instagram yields a steady stream of live-bait sailfishing in Florida, and high-speed wahoo trolling in the Bahamas. It only makes things worse when you remember that, in order to leave the house today, you’ll first need to shovel 10-inches of snow from your driveway. Then, Spring turns to Summer and before you know it, the days are getting a little shorter, and the mornings a little cooler. Members of the sportfishing industry can’t help but conjure up images of electric blue pec fins speeding through the spread, or that familiar crackle of the dredge reel as it comes in and the boat goes into a turn. One bite turns to two, two to three, three to four.
Summer in the mid-Atlantic region of the country means one thing: white marlin. The allure of double-digit days brings captains, mates, anglers, and spectators to Ocean City, Maryland. When it’s good in Ocean City, it’s the best, most fast-paced fishing in the world. It’s where top sportfishing teams come to prove their expertise. Jon Duffie and Billy Gerlach are synonymous with Ocean City white marlin fishing. The two have established legendary status in the industry, and are always at the top of the fleet. Jon and Billy live in a constant state of competition. From who can run faster, whose release flag spacing is better, to who has more releases in the White Marlin Open, they push each other, and are perpetually perfecting their craft.
What’s particularly special about the bond Billy and Jon share is that, regardless of the outcome, regardless of who wins whatever competition, they’re always rooting for each other. What started as a friendship has grown to become the unbreakable bond between these two brothers. And, after all: isn’t there such thing as healthy competition?