Ocean City Today

Fourth annual Huk Big Fish Classic slated for July 28-30

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Jul 20, 2017
Photo by: FILE PHOTO Mike Peet's 49-pound wahoo earned him and his No Quarter teammates $5,805 during the third annual Huk Big Fish Classic last year.

(July 21, 2017) The Huk Big Fish Classic has grown each year since its inception and the 2017 competition is expected to be the largest yet.

As of Tuesday, 25 boats were pre-registered for the fourth annual Huk Big Fish Classic, many of which are first-time participants. Teams have registered from New Jersey, Virginia, Delaware and Maryland.

“We anticipate about 80 boats this year, if the weather is right,” said Brian Roberts, co-director of the tournament, adding, with an estimated purse of about $450,000. “I think it will be a great tournament.”

A total of 67 boats entered the 2016 tournament and $333,695 was distributed among the winners. It was a huge jump from 2015 when 46 boats participated and $202,000 was presented to the winners. That was also an increase from the first year in 2014 when 32 boats registered and $92,920 was awarded to the teams catching the top fish.

Teams can choose between two 32-hour slots: 7 a.m. Friday, July, 28 to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 29, or 7 a.m. Saturday, July 29 to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 30.

Crews can fish the entire 32 hours or come back to the dock and head out offshore again after a break with the same or different anglers.

Registration is currently open. The cost to enter the tournament is $800 per boat. Final signups will take place Thursday, July 27, from 4-8 p.m. at M.R. Ducks on Talbot Street, bayside. A captain’s meeting will follow.

A tournament kick-off party will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. Captain Morgan Rum will offer tastings and there will be live music. The Captain Morgan pirate mascot will be on hand during weigh-ins.

There are several added entry-level divisions, or wagering pools, which range in cost from $200 to $1,500, and include billfish, tuna, meatfish (dolphin, wahoo and shark) and small boat (38 feet and smaller).

“Talbot Street Stringer” calcutta has two levels to enter which cost $500 and $1,000. Teams can select any four fish they catch in 32 hours for a combined total weight.

The billfish release division, sponsored by Atlantic Tackle, has been adjusted this year. Anglers can’t use live bait for the 2017 tournament release division. The cost to participate in the entry level is $1,000.

This year there is no weight minimum for blue marlin, but the minimum length is 104 inches. Several blue marlin met the minimum length of 100 inches last year, but failed to make the 400-pound minimum, Roberts said.

There is also no weight minimum for swordfish, but the length minimum is 56 inches.

“We wanted to make sure fish that come to the scale are given credit because they’re difficult to catch,” Roberts said.

Boats can depart from any port between New Jersey and Virginia. Teams can fish up to 125 nautical miles from the Ocean City sea buoy during the 2017 tournament. All fish must be weighed at the Talbot Street Pier.

Tournament weigh-ins will take place from 4-9 p.m., Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29. The scale, located between M.R. Ducks and the Angler in downtown Ocean City, will be open from 4-8 p.m. Sunday, July 30. Weigh-ins are free and open to the public. There will also be live music each evening and vendors selling artwork, clothing and event merchandise.

“The format is the same – go out and catch the biggest fish,” Roberts said. “Fishing is good. White and blue marlin are starting to show up, tuna fishing has been good. It will be interesting to see how the tournament turns out and what could win. The biggest fish wins the tournament.”

Talbot Street Pier is the original spot where some of the first fish caught off the coast of Ocean City were weighed. Nearly 100 years ago, the pier in downtown Ocean City was bustling with activity as anglers took their daily catches there. Organizers of the Big Fish Classic wanted to bring the action, and big fish, back to the pier.

For more information, visit www.bigfishclassic.com.

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