Ocean City Today

Taylor catches, releases first OC white marlin

Reel Buster owner along with Chip Raynor and Tim Babikow were tuna fishing
By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Jun 22, 2017
Courtesy of: Hooked on OC Dave Taylor, center, caught and released Ocean City’s first white marlin of the season last Saturday while fishing on his 28-foot Grady White, Reel Buster. They boated two tuna before the white took their bait. Chip Raynor, left, and Tim Babikow are pictured with Taylor at Sunset Marina in West Ocean City.

(June 23, 2017) Dave Taylor took his boat out early last Saturday morning, heading offshore to tuna fish, so he never expected to catch and release the coveted first white marlin of the season out of Ocean City.

“That was the last thing on my mind, catching the first white,” he said. “I’m beyond words. It was pretty surreal.”

Taylor, longtime fishing buddy, Chip Raynor, of Bowleys Quarters, Maryland, and Tim Babikow of Middle River, who he just met that morning, boarded his boat, Reel Buster, and left Sunset Marina in West Ocean City around 4:30 a.m. on June 17.

Taylor, who resides in West Ocean City and Overlea, Maryland, and Raynor have been fishing together for about 10 years. Since some people canceled on the fishing trip, there was a spot open for Babikow.

The trio faced heavy fog most of the way out with less that 50 feet visibility, Taylor said.

They marked bait and tuna fishing in the Hot Dog, but got no bites so they decided to move toward Poor Man’s Canyon.

They caught a tuna around 7-7:30 a.m. and a second about 40 minutes later, weighing about 50-55 pounds, Taylor said. Another took their bait, but Taylor said they threw it back because it only weighed about 5 pounds.

It was suggested that Taylor reel in the next fish, which would turn out to be the first marlin out of Ocean City.

Around noon in 70 fathoms of the Poor Man’s Canyon, something took their pink, Joe Shute 6-ounce Spire Point Jig with ballyhoo bait. It was difficult to see what type of fish it was because it stayed deep, Taylor said.

“I realized it was a white when I saw the bill pop up,” he said. “I kept the pressure on it to keep the hook in its mouth.”

The marlin didn’t jump out of the water as they sometimes do during a fight. Taylor knew it was a good-size fish, which didn’t run, but came toward the boat.

It only took about five to seven minutes to get the fish to the boat from the time it was hooked, he said.

“It was lit up, beautiful color,” he said.

It grabbed the bait about 12:10 p.m. and by 12:20 p.m. they had pulled it onto the 28-foot Grady White and taken photos to document the catch. After that, they released it.

“It was quick,” he said.

It measured 64 inches from fork to lower jaw. Taylor estimated it to weigh 70-75 pounds.

Taylor said his boatmates wanted to continue fishing, but he was in a rush to get back to Ocean City to see if his white was the first of the season.

He said he immediately got on the phone and called Barbara Glinka at Sunset Marina to report his catch. At that time no other white marlin had been recorded so he cranked up the speed to beat anyone else back to Ocean City.

“As we drove back it started to sink in,” the 61-year-old said. “When we got to the dock and realized no one else had come in, it really sunk in.”

“The stars and moon lined up. It was the Cinderella story,” he continued. “We don’t target marlin most of the time. Whites are a by-catch. Normally we fish for tuna, dolphin, wahoo – meat fish.”

Taylor, who has been fishing offshore for 17 years, has caught and released many white marlin, but this fish might possibly be the most memorable. He’s never killed one because he said “they’re too majestic.”

“This is sweet for me because I didn’t have to kill the fish [to be recognized],” he said.

Because he caught and released Ocean City’s first white marlin of the season, he will received a $5,000 prize from the town.

The Ocean City Council had voted to discontinue offering the prize a few months ago, but after an uproar from fishing enthusiasts and community members, it was reinstated.

Before council changed its decision, a group of businesses got together and formed Fishermen United of Ocean City to keep the 30-year-tradition of presenting a prize to the angler who lands the first white going.

In total, Taylor will receive $11,000 – $5,000 from the Town of Ocean City and $6,000 from Fishermen United of Ocean City ($1,000 each from: Bank of Ocean City, Bahia Marina, Coastal Fisherman, Sunset Marina, Ocean City Fishing Center and Atlantic Tackle).

“Fishermen United of Ocean City is proud to support and recognize the fishing community that resides in the White Marlin Capital of the World,” said Earl Conley, Bank of Ocean City vice president.

The $6,000 check, on behalf of Fishermen United of Ocean City, will be presented to Taylor on Monday, July 3, at noon near the white marlin fountain, located at the foot of the Route 50 bridge. The prize money from the town will be awarded to Taylor during the Mayor and Council regular session meeting at 6 p.m. on July 3. Taylor said he hopes Babikow and Raynor will join him during the recognition.

“What a fantastic way to kick off the start to our summer than the first white marlin catch of the season,” Mayor Rick Meehan stated in a press release. “It’s a symbolic start to the fishing season and hopefully a sign of many more for our offshore fishermen this summer.”

“Ocean City is the White Marlin Capital of the World, so the first catch is a symbolic start to the season, as well as a figurative nod to the evolution of Ocean City,” added Jessica Waters, Town of Ocean City communications manager. “What once was a small fishing community is now a flourishing industry and we have our anglers to thank for that. The first marlin catch, and the award that comes along with it, reminds us all of what makes Ocean City so great in the first place – the beautiful Atlantic Ocean that surrounds us.”

The Ocean City Marlin Club also awards $5,000 to its member that catches and releases the first white marlin of the season. Although Taylor is a member, he just missed out on the prize.

The day before Taylor landed his white, Ian Schwing reeled in his while aboard the Fish Whistle, captained by longtime Marlin Club member Charlie Horning, in Poor Man’s Canyon. They will receive the Ocean City Marlin Club’s award, but not the Town of Ocean City’s because they were fishing out of Indian River, Delaware.

Despite not taking home the Marlin Club’s prize, Taylor said he is thankful for the $11,000 he will receive.

“That’s amazing. It’s usually only $5,000,” he said. “We’re ecstatic over that. It’s such a big prize. I’m very happy for the guy out of Indian River.”

“Although an Indian River boat won the Ocean City Marlin Club’s $5,000 prize, Fishermen United proudly commends the boat Reel Buster for winning the Town of Ocean City’s prize money as well as the $6,000 from us,” Conley added.

The Marlin Club’s first white of the season has always been the town’s first.

“I am pretty sure this is the first time that the first OCMC white was not the first Ocean City white. The other way around has happened where the first white in Ocean City was caught by a non-club member a few times,” said OCMC President Franky Pettolina. “We have a few OCMC members that fish out of Indian River. They don’t have a club up there and we try to accommodate those guys…Charlie Horning is a great guy and has been a strong supporter of the club for many years.”

Pettolina thought it was “really cool” that the first Ocean City white marlin was caught on a “smaller” boat, adding, “You don’t have to have a 60 footer to win.”

The construction superintendent for Buch Construction of Laurel, Maryland, has never competed in an Ocean City fishing tournament but that will change next month.

For catching and releasing the first white, Taylor earned a free entry into the HUK Big Fish Classic, held July 28-30, with weigh-ins at the Talbot Street Pier. He is also eligible for free entry into Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association tournaments in 2018.

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