Big Game Anglers Win Nearly $6 Million At The MidAtlantic Tournament

Big Game Anglers

Maryland state record blue marlin being hoisted to the weigh-in station. According to the crew it took angler Billy Gurlach over 3-1/2 hours to bring the 1,135-lb. (515.9 kg.) blue marlin seen above to gaff, after bringing it to wire over a dozen times.

Last Friday, the 30th annual MidAtlantic tournament headquartered at the Canyon Club Marina in Ocean City, Maryland set records in a number of categories – including cash payouts. The total purse was $5,929,050, split among the winning crews among the 203 entrants.  The most spectacular catch was the 1,135-lb. (515.9 kg.) blue marlin seen above that garnered $1,167,762, or over $1,028 per lb.  The heaviest white marlin caught was 82-lbs. (37.27 kg.), bringing home for the winning crew $1,017,604, or $12,409 per lb. 

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The 30th MidAtlantic wrapped up Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, was one for the record books. 

Records were set in several categories including two before the first day of fishing when a tournament record field of 203 were entered breaking the previous record of 183 set last year. Additionally, the total purse of $5,929,050 eclipsed the previous tournament record purse of just over $4 million set last year as well!

While the 2020 MidAtlantic created quite a stir when two 800-pound-plus blue marlin were weighed minutes apart on the final day of the tournament, this year’s event saw the tournament record for that species broken and then broken again a day later!

Day Five of the tournament saw rain cover both tournament venues for most of the day and crews reported offshore conditions were pretty much the same conditions as they dodged squalls and showers for most of the day. 176 boats had Day Five left to fish and while some of the categories may have seemed out of reach, there is always that chance because it only takes one bite! Day Five, known as “Moving Day” at the MidAtlantic, always seems to have its drama and this year it couldn’t have been scripted any better.

Jon Duffie’s Billfisher of Ocean City, Maryland was at the scale at 5 p.m. when the evening’s weigh-in session got underway and the crowd had already gathered as the word had spread that he had a monster blue marlin aboard however jaws dropped when they saw the size of the massive blue stretched out in the cockpit of Billfisher.

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Winning angler and happy family.

Angler Billy Gurlach battled the huge marlin for 3½ hours on an 80-pound outfit and Duffie reported they had the leader in hand over two dozen times before they were able to sink the gaff.

The marlin’s tail hung through Billfisher’s transom door as she sat at the scale and it required a skiff to assist with pulling the fish from the boat through the door so it could be hoisted to the scale. Once on the dock Weighmaster Frank Ingram, assisted by other tournament staff, stretched the measuring tape and noted the length at 136½”, and while she was only 1½” longer than Wolverine’s 958-pounder weighed the day before, the girth of 80” had everyone thinking it may be a grander.

It took eight men to heft the monster up onto the scale and it got very quiet as Ingram noted the weight before yelling out “1,135 pounds!” Not only did it break the tournament record set the previous day, but the marlin is also a potential state record for Maryland. Once verified, it would break the current state record of 1,062 pounds caught by Robert Farris in 2009.

Billfisher’s blue marlin took the top prize in the category and netted the crew $1,167,762! Rocky Hardison of Beaufort, North Carolina aboard his Wolverine finished in second place with his 958-pounder caught on Day Four and received $198,716 while Larry Hesse’s Goin’ in Deep out of Manasquan, New Jersey finished in third place with his 681-pounder caught on Day One and won $412,237. Worthy of note is the prize money differential is based on the level of tournament sanctioned calcuttas, also known as side bets, the participant enters. The more they enter, the more they can win.

The white marlin category remained unchanged on Day Five and Anthony Martina’s Sea Wolf from Middletown, Delaware took the top prize of $1,017,127 for his 82-pounder weighed on Day Three. Art Boykin’s Berlin, Maryland-based Lucky Duck II finished in second place with an 80-pounder weighed on Day One and took home $162,604. Andrew Dotterweich of Jupiter, Florida aboard his Fish On finished in third place with a 75-pounder and received $680,387.

The tuna division saw nearly two dozen big eyes weighed during the tournament as well as dozens of yellowfin tuna including one of 172 pounds caught by Nicole Scotti on Gina Addeo’s Gina Lisa from Staten Island, New York. However, it would be the big eyes dominating the leaderboard and Chip Caruso from Colts Neck, New Jersey aboard his Pipe Dreamer swept the top two places with big eyes of 235 and 227 pounds weighed on Day Three to win a total of $1,000,065. Bob Hugin of Summit, New Jersey aboard his The Right Place finished in third place with a 188-pounder weighed on Day One and won $244,556.

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The dolphin category saw the biggest shakeup on Day Five as all three places changed. Danny Veid’s Amarula Sun from Tarpon Springs, Florida took the top prize of $98,441 for his 45-pounder followed by Tinton Falls, New Jersey’s Ken Hager on his Taylor Jean with a 36-pounder that was worth $36,707. Randy Gibbs of Houston, Texas aboard his Picasso Moon finished in third place and won $16,826 for his 33-pounder.

In the wahoo division Tom Perry of Pasadena, Maryland aboard his Just One More weighed a 58-pounder on Day Five. Perry’s wahoo was the heaviest in the category and won $63,614. Amarula Sun’s wahoo of 57 pounds weighed on Day Three took second place and $68,614. Kevin Moore’s Pasadena, Maryland-based Reel Moore finished in third place and received $3,055 for his 50-pounder caught on Day Four.


As noted above, cash payout differences vary by level of calcutta participation.

Heaviest White Marlin – 82 lbs. – SEA WOLF – Anthony Martina – Middletown, DE – $1,017,604

2nd Heaviest White Marlin – 80 lbs. – LUCKY DUCK II – Art Boykin – Berlin, MD – $162,604

3rd Heaviest White Marlin – 75 lbs. – FISH ON – Andrew Dotterweich – Jupiter, FL – $680,762

Heaviest Blue Marlin – 1135 lbs. – BILLFISHER – Jon Duffie – Ocean City, MD – $1,167,762

2nd Heaviest Blue Marlin – 958 lbs. – WOLVERINE – Rocky Hardison – Beaufort, NC – $198,716

3rd Heaviest Blue Marlin – 681 lbs. – GOIN’ IN DEEP – Larry Hesse – Manasquan, NJ – $412,237

Heaviest Tuna – 235 lbs. – PIPE DREAMER – Chip Caruso – Colts Neck, NJ – $738,252

2nd Heaviest Tuna – 227 lbs. – PIPE DREAMER – Chip Caruso – Colts Neck, NJ – $261,813

3rd Heaviest Tuna – 188 lbs. – THE RIGHT PLACE – Bob Hugin – Summit, NJ – $244,556

Heaviest Wahoo – 58 lbs. – JUST ONE MORE – Tom Perry – Pasadena, MD – $63,614

2nd Heaviest Wahoo – 57 lbs. – AMARULA SUN – Danny Veid – Tarpon Springs, FL – $68,479

3rd Heaviest Wahoo – 50 lbs. – REEL MOORE – Kevin Moore – Pasadena, MD – $3,055

Heaviest Dolphin – 45 lbs. – AMARULA SUN – Danny Veid – Tarpon Springs, FL – $98,441

2nd Heaviest Dolphin – 36 lbs. – TAYLOR JEAN – Ken Hager – Tinton Falls, NJ – $36,707

3rd Heaviest Dolphin – 33 lbs. – PICASSO MOON – Randy Gibbs – Houston, TX – $16,826


Most Points – 1,575 – VIKING 80 – Pat Healey – New Gretna, NJ – $12,220

2nd Most Points – 1,050 – KRAZY SALTS – Dave Anderson – West Palm Beach, FL – $7,332

3rd Most Points – 1,050 – CANYON LADY – Jamie Diller – Stone Harbor, NJ – $4,888


Most Points – 1,275 – MAX BET – Matt Weber – Vero Beach, FL – $25,850

2nd Most Points – 1,275 – BLOOD MONEY – William Keller – Brielle, NJ – $15,510

3rd Most Points – 1,200 – BIG STICK – David Bowen – Suwanee, GA – $10,340

*Ties broken based on time of catch.



69 lbs. – C BOYS – Luke Blume – Berlin, MD – $48,598

68 lbs. – ROSHAMBO – Nick Shriver – Leonardtown, MD – $292,152

68 lbs. – LUNATICO ON EFFE MAE – Lance Converse – West Palm Beach, FL – $7,896


487 lbs. – REEL TIGHT – Steven Pilipauskis – Riva, MD – $32,571

472 lbs. – THE ZIPPER – Eddie Zajdel – Ocean City, MD – $36,660


185 lbs. – SLIM SHADY – Charley Pereira – Nags Head, NC – $98,104

184 lbs. – ENDORFIN – Tom Kelly – Point Pleasant, NJ – $79,398

182 lbs. – WARDEN PASS – Andrew Hall – Chester, NJ – $8,883

182 lbs. – INTERNAL FIXATION – Pat Healey – New Gretna, NJ – $6,110

179 lbs. – TAYLOR JEAN – John Raimondo – Avalon, NJ – $34,639

175 lbs. – THE RIGHT PLACE – Michael Pintozzi – Langhorne, PA – $7,896


26 lbs. – RISKY BUSINESS – Daniel McCarthy – Avalon, NJ – $6,298


32 lbs. – MACK 900 – Patrick McGovern – Somerset, NJ – $23,124


Most Points Overall – 1,575 – VIKING 80 – Pat Healey – New Gretna, NJ

Most Points White Marlin – 1,575 – VIKING 80 – Pat Healey – New Gretna, NJ

2nd Most Points White Marlin – 1,200- BIG STICK – David Bowen – Suwanee, GA

3rd Most Points White Marlin – 1,125 – BLOOD MONEY – William Keller – Brielle, NJ

Most Points Blue Marlin – 450 – ROLL GROOVE – Darren Helwig – Owings, MD

2nd Most Points Blue Marlin – 418 – THE ZIPPER – Eddie Zajdel – Ocean City, MD

3rd Most Points Blue Marlin – 389.5 – WOLVERINE – Rocky Hardison – Beaufort, NC

Most Points Tuna – 626 – THE RIGHT PLACE – Bob Hugin – Summit, NJ

2nd Most Points Tuna – 231 – PIPE DREAMER – Chip Caruso – Colts Neck, NJ

3rd Most Points Tuna – 122.5 – INTERNAL FIXATION – Marshall Allegra – Rumson, NJ


White Marlin Released – 475

White Marlin Weighed – 16

Blue Marlin Released – 43

Blue Marlin Weighed – 9

Tuna Weighed – 83

Dolphin Weighed – 42

Wahoo Weighed – 7

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So long until next year!