Heasley reels in nearly $3 million aboard Kallianassa
The recently completed 2016 White Marlin Open in Ocean City awarded the most total prize money and paid the largest individual cash prize in sportfishing history.
Phil Heasley, aboard Kallianassa of Naples, Florida, caught a 76.5-pound white marlin to win an estimated $2,818,660. Yes, nearly $3 million for catching a fish, something he wanted to do anyway.
Heasley, just so you know, was already doing pretty well. According to proxy statements, as president and chief executive officer at ACI Worldwide, he made $7,774,431 in total compensation for the 2015 fiscal year.
Of the 23 white marlins boated during the tournament, Heasley’s was the only one to make the 70-pound weight minimum. All of the money in the white marlin added entry-level calcuttas went to the Kallianassa.
That was just the top of the prize winnings. There were plenty more winners collecting $4,450,000 in total prize money. Rich Kosztyu, aboard Hubris, won $767,091 for catching a 236.5-pound tuna, and Jim Conway, aboard Get Reel, won $258,995 for reeling in a 790-pound blue marlin.
Over the five days, 329 registered boats caught a record 1,412 total billfish. Of that total, 1,358 were white marlin, surpassing the previous WMO tournament record of 1,104 set in 2002. The results also confirmed a commitment to conservation demonstrated by the saltwater recreational angling community. Of the 1,358 white marlin that were caught, 1,334 (98.2 percent) were released.
More info and photos of all the winners can be found at whitemarlinopen.com.
Relief for forage fish The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council has approved an amendment to protect unmanaged forage species in the Mid-Atlantic. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, the Unmanaged Forage Omnibus Amendment would prohibit the development of new and expansion of existing directed commercial fisheries on a number of unmanaged forage species in Mid-Atlantic federal waters.
The prohibition would continue until the council has had an opportunity to assess the available scientific information for these species and consider the potential impacts to existing fisheries, fishing communities, and the marine ecosystem.
Forage fish are small, low trophic level fish that play a central role in the marine food chain. These species facilitate the transfer of energy to higher trophic levels by consuming very small prey and then being eaten by larger, predatory fish and other marine animals.
The amendment was not intended to address all unmanaged forage species in the Mid-Atlantic but rather to focus on those species that have high ecological importance and those that have high potential for the development of a largescale targeted commercial fishery.
Fishing report Upper Chesapeake Bay locations holding striped bass include the western side of Craighill Channel
from Sandy Point Light to Baltimore Light on the 30foot edge. The 30-foot channel edge west of Love Point Buoy has also been a good place to find stripers as has the Swan Point area. Chumming is still popular but livelining spot and white perch is taking the lead as a better grade of rockfish is possible with these larger baits.
Trolling can be a good alternative and working the channel edges is a good place to start. Anglers are having good luck with umbrella rigs or small spoons pulled behind inline weights or planers to get down to the fish. Breaking fish comprised of small rockfish and bluefish can be found now and then and jigging deep underneath can pay off with larger fish.
Spot have moved into some of the shallower shoal and reef areas in the upper bay’s tidal rivers and can be caught on bloodworms. White perch are eager to take bloodworm baits over good bottom and mediumsized croakers are also part of the bottom fishing mix.
There is plenty of action to be found near the Bay Bridge pylons and rock piles as a nice grade of stripers are being found suspended near the structure. Rockfish, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel can be found chasing bait along the eastern and western edges of the shipping channel, near the mouth of Eastern Bay, and the mouth of the Choptank and Little Choptank rivers. Most of the surface action is comprised of small stripers, blues, and some speedy Spanish mackerel racing through the melee.
Recreational crabbing continues to be good in all regions of the bay. Salinities are up and crabs have moved farther up the tidal rivers and creeks. The largest crabs are being found in deeper water in many areas.
On the Atlantic Coast, kingfish are being caught in the surf with the best fishing occurring during the morning and evening hours. Bluefish can be caught on finger mullet and some croakers and flounder are also being reeled in.
Outside the inlet there is good flounder fishing on the inshore wreck and reef sites; sea bass fishing has been fair at best. Farther offshore a mix of large bluefish, false albacore, wahoo, and occasional yellowfin tuna are being found at 30-fathom locations. At the offshore canyons, chicken dolphin and a few gaffers are being caught along with white and blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, and bigeye tuna.
* * * Duck blind know-it-all The etymology of the name woodchuck is unrelated to wood or chucking. It stems from an Algonquian (possibly Narragansett) name for the animal, wuchak.