Wow! The 2021 offshore fishing season at the canyons along the mid-Atlantic coast is off to an incredible start! The tuna bite has been off the charts with big numbers of yellowfin tuna hitting the docks between Cape May, New Jersey and Ocean City, Maryland. Blasts of big eye tuna have often caught crews by surprise and some barrel-sized eyeballs have also been boated. In addition, white marlin catches have increased and encounters with blue marlin have also been rising. A day doesn’t go by when boats returning to port don’t have release flags for billfish hanging from a ’rigger! And, right on schedule, mahi-mahi and wahoo are also making their annual summer appearance adding to the delight of anglers with their tailwalking leaps and speedy runs when hooked up! Thankfully, the pandemic has slowed and now’s a great time to be on The Rip with friends and family enjoying the sport we love. With the action heating up it’s also a great opportunity to get your crew ready for the tournament season! It’s time to get your circle hooks honed sharp and your dropback to a feisty white marlin perfected!
Speaking of tournaments. Did we mention sportfishing’s “Main Event” is just a month away? That’s right! The 2021 MidAtlantic is set for August 15-20 and it’s shaping up to be a heck of a party as the event celebrates 30 years of sportfishing competition, opportunity and camaraderie! Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland are ideal venues to host a fleet of world class sportfishing boats and crews who will battle it out for a lottery-like payday. Last year a tournament record purse of well over $4 million was paid out to the lucky winners. Entry fee is $3000 and covers all dockside hospitality and entertainment for a crew of six for the entire week. The cash purse is derived from 11 various calcuttas, also known as side bets, which are sanctioned by the tournament and have fees ranging from $1000 to $30,000. These calcuttas payout a variety of ways for all species eligible in the tournament including white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, wahoo and dolphin. Entry to any, all or none is strictly optional but for as little as an additional $2000 participants have the opportunity to win some serious cash.
As noted earlier, this year marks the 30th edition of the MidAtlantic and a special calcutta has been added to sweeten the purse while also benefitting recreational anglers as well. The 30th Anniversary Mega Marlin Calcutta will payout to the heaviest and second heaviest white marlin and heaviest and second heaviest blue marlin. Entry fee is $30,000 and a portion of the total cash collected for this specific calcutta will be donated to The Billfish Foundation, International Game Fish Association and Recreational Fishing Alliance. While not for the faint of heart, this calcutta is sure to attract a lot of participation from those seeking to score big with billfish in the tournament. By the way, you don’t have to be the winner of a billfish category to score a big payday at the MidAtlantic. Last year Mike Yocco’s MJ’s walked off with check of nearly $914 thousand for weighing the top two tuna in the tournament! That’s a serious payday!
While many may think you need a multi-million dollar boat to be competitive in the MidAtlantic, that’s definitely not the case. The growing popularity of large center console craft has seen a surge in tournament participation all along the coast and the MidAtlantic has a specific calcutta for these boats. The Everglades 50 and Under Overall Calcutta has an entry fee of only $2000 and pays out a specific percentage for the top three white marlin, blue marlin and tuna as well as the single heaviest wahoo and dolphin. Last year this calcutta alone tallied over $84 thousand in payouts! To enter this specific calcutta a vessel must be 50’ or under designated by the vessel’s model name. In other words, a Viking 50 Convertible would be considered a 50-foot vessel even though the overall length is 50’ 6”.
With a month to go, tournament pre-registration has been very brisk and those considering participating in what will surely be a memorable MidAtlantic tournament this year should act now to reserve their spot in the line-up and most importantly secure dockage space as well. Canyon Club Resort Marina and South Jersey Marina in Cape May and at Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland are sure to be bursting at the seams come Tournament Week so act NOW to avoid being left out. For more information regarding dockage contact Canyon Club Resort Marina at 609- 884-0199 and South Jersey Marina at 609-884-2400 and Sunset Marina at 410-213-9600.
For further information contact Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman at 609-884-0177 or visit the tournament’s web site at www.themidatlantic.com where you’ll find all the facts, figures and information about this year’s event including a complete breakdown of each calcutta’s payout, rules, points and an event schedule. On social media follow the MidAtlantic on Facebook at The MidAtlantic Tournament; on Twitter @midatl and on Instagram @themidatlantictournament.