White marlin are widely regarded as the toughest of the billfish family to catch. Sneaky, tricky, clever—whichever adjective chosen to describe them, the relationship anglers have with white marlin is, indeed, complicated. A true love/hate situation. When the white marlin fishing is red hot in the mid-Atlantic, it provides teams the chance to show the world what they’re good at. Keeping up with top boats can mean 20-30 releases in a single day, when it’s good.
The exceptional white marlin fishery in Maryland attracts thousands of anglers each August as they pile into the small beach town of Ocean City. They’re here for the White Marlin Open. With first place for heaviest white marlin taking home a check north of a million bucks, it’s the biggest tournament of its kind. Skill is, of course, necessary to convert bites into hookups, but lady luck needs to be on your side if you want to win the White Marlin Open. Because it takes the heaviest white marlin to win the tournament, it’s anybody’s game. Even the most well-seasoned captain can’t do anything to attract heavier fish into their spread. But the grueling hours it takes to prepare for the tournament, coupled with the long runs offshore, and sometimes heaving seas make it not for the faint-hearted.