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Eighty-six-pound white marlin leads WMO after three days

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Aug 10, 2017
Courtesy of: WHITE MARLIN OPEN After three days of weigh-ins of the 44th annual White Marlin Open, Mike Donohue’s 86-pound white marlin, caught aboard the Griffin, out of Palm Beach, Florida, on Wednesday, was in first place. The fish could earn the crew about $2.6 million if it holds the top spot.

(Aug. 11, 2017) After three days of weigh-ins during the 44th annual White Marlin Open, at the close of the Harbour Island Marina scale Wednesday night, three qualifying white marlin were on the leaderboard with the heaviest estimated to be worth $2.6 million.

Mike Donohue reeled in an 86-pound white marlin while fishing aboard the Griffin, out of Palm Beach, Florida, on Wednesday. The first-place fish could earn the crew about $2.6 million if it holds the top spot.

Jim Motsko, founder and co-director of the tournament, said Thursday morning that weight will be difficult to beat.

“If I was a betting man, I would say that fish will be hard to top,” he said. “It’s a good-size fish as far as white marlin goes.”

Michael Logan boated a 76-pound white marlin aboard the Business, out of Key Largo, Florida, on Wednesday. If the team remains in second place, the group could win an estimated $120,000.

Casey Roohan landed a 70.5-pound white marlin while fishing on Team Player, out of Stone Harbor, New Jersey, on Wednesday. In third place after three days of weigh-ins, the fish could bring in $80,000.

The tuna division saw the most action during the first three days of the Open.

Joe Sandler was in first place as of Wednesday evening with the 68.5-pound yellowfin tuna he hooked aboard the Intents, out of Jupiter, Florida, that day. The estimated payout for the fish is $460,000.

Blue Runner (Manasquan, New Jersey) angler James Boynton was tied for second place with a 67-pound yellowfin he landed on Tuesday. He and his teammates could win $80,000 for the fish because of participation in added entry-level calcuttas. Kris Rainear reeled in a 67-pound yellowfin while fishing on Warden Pass, out of Cape May, New Jersey, on Wednesday. The crew has the potential to receive $50,000.

Jim Stavola’s 64-pound yellowfin tuna caught on Monday aboard Milling Around, out of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, could bring in $36,000. Don Schoenberger’s 58.5-pound yellowfin reeled in aboard Take the Bait, out of Indian River, Delaware, on Wednesday, could earn him and his teammates $70,000.

The only wahoo that had been brought to the 14th Street marina after three days was a 55 pounder, caught by Gary Capuano on Monday aboard Hog Wild, out of Manteo, North Carolina. The fish could be worth about $15,000.

As of Thursday morning, no qualifying blue marlin, dolphin or sharks had been boated.

A total of 353 boats are participating in this year’s tournament, which has a record payout of $4.97 million.

“I’m happy we have more boats than last year. The goal every year is to be better than the year before,” Motsko said.

In 2016, 329 boats participated and $4.42 million was awarded to tournament winners – a record payout until this year.

“Prize money is nice. I wish we had another $30,000 [to break the $5 million mark],” Motsko added.

Crews can fish three of five days. A total of 136 boats went offshore on Monday. Most took a lay day on Tuesday because of rough seas, but 12 did venture out. Wednesday was a busy day as 297 boats headed offshore. Thursday, 287 fished.

“So far, it’s been excellent, other than the weather the other day,” Motsko said Thursday morning. “We had four white marlin all over 70 pounds [tournament minimum] Wednesday and there’s still a lot of fishing left. There will be a whole lot [Thursday] and [Friday], and we still have some slots to fill in the [tournament species divisions].”

The final day of fishing is today, Friday. Weigh-ins, which are free and open to the public, are from 4-9:15 p.m. at Harbour Island Marina on 14th Street, bayside.

For more information about the tournament or to watch the weigh-ins streaming live, visit www.whitemarlinopen.com.

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