WMO files court document to decide prize winnings
Not so fast. In last week’s column I reported Phil Heasley, aboard Kallianassa of Naples, Florida, caught a 76.5-pound white marlin to win an estimated $2,818,660 in the 2016 White Marlin Open in Ocean City. Heasley’s winnings were the largest individual cash prize in sportfishing history.
On Friday, Aug. 26, White Marlin Open, Inc. filed a Complaint for Interpleader in the Circuit Court for Worcester County, Maryland. The tournament directors now seek to have a formal court proceeding in which a judge will determine the issues as to which angler or anglers will receive the prize.
Fourteen defendants are named in the court case. All but Heasley have already received some prize money, but now they could be in line for much more.
Heasley, president and chief executive officer at ACI Worldwide, caught the only “qualifying” white marlin in the tournament, fishing along with Captain David Morris and mates Kyle Bohannon and Joseph Hagen.
Among the gems in the 14-page court document are:
Heasley, Morris, Bohannon, and Hagen were the only individuals on Defendant Heasley’s vessel when he caught the white marlin that is the subject of these proceedings. Between the two polygraph examinations administered by Examiner Carey and the other three examinations administered by Examiner Saneman, not one person on Defendant Heasley’s vessel passed a polygraph examination. (33)
A closer review of the Catch Report, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit 7, caused Tournament officials to realize that the time written down for when the subject white marlin was caught by Defendant Heasley appeared to have been altered. Specifically, it appeared that although the time written down was initially “8:15”, it had subsequently been altered to read “9:05” before it was submitted to Tournament officials. It would have been a violation of the Rule I.C.6 of the Tournament Rules and Regulations for Defendant Heasley to bring a white marlin that had been caught before 8:30 am to the scales and hold it out as a fish that was caught within the requirements of the Rules and Regulations. (35)
The remaining named Defendants are stakeholders in this litigation if Defendant Heasley is determined to be disqualified from receiving the prize money for the first place white marlin, as they would all benefit by being entitled to receive a portion of the prize money that would have been paid to Defendant Heasley had he passed his polygraph examinations. (39)
Also, according to the document, Heasley has refused to “execute a release” of the prize winnings to other anglers.
Richard Kosztyu of Hamilton, New Jersey stands to receive approximately $2,321,152 if Heasley is disqualified. Kosztyu caught a tuna that weighed 236.5 pounds and has already received $767,091.
Richard Hammond of Centreville, who caught a wahoo that weighed 79 pounds and has already received prize money in the amount of $24,862, could also see additional winnings as well as all the others.
The entire court document is available on the WMO website and is attached to this column online.
*** Fishing report The upper Chesapeake Bay region is providing plenty of good fishing for striped bass from the Rock Hall area south to the Bay Bridge. There continues to be consistent chumming action at Swan Point, the channel edges at Love Point, and the main channel edges outside the mouth of the Magothy River south to Sandy Point Light. There are plenty of spot to be found in shallower waters and live-lining spot has become the most productive method to catch a nice grade of striped bass. There are bluefish in the upper bay also cutting through chum slicks and chasing schools of bait on the surface with small stripers.
Trolling small spoons, bucktails, and surgical tube lures behind planers and inline weights has been a good option for anglers not wishing to chum or liveline. The 30-foot channel edges are holding fish.
Fishing for white perch has been good along shoreline structure in the mornings and evenings and should improve with cooler water temperatures. Fishing deeper with bottom rigs baited with bloodworms over hard-bottomed shoal and reef areas in the bay and channel edges in the tidal rivers has been productive during brighter daylight hours. A sinker rig with two dropper flies or small jigs can also be very effective when fishing deeper waters.
The Bay Bridge pylons and rock piles continue to hold rockfish that are providing good fishing for those live-lining spot or jigging with bucktails. A mix of spot, croaker, and white perch also can be found in the shallower areas near the bridge pylons.
Below the Bay Bridge, boats have been anchoring up along the 30-foot channel edge from Dolly’s Lump south to Chesapeake Beach and to a lesser extent along Brick House Bar south to Buoy 83. Most anglers are live-lining spot but a few are chumming with menhaden or razor clams.
Recreational crabbing is having its ups and downs depending which tidal rivers you are crabbing in. Water temperatures and oxygen levels have had a lot to do with where the best or worse crabbing can be found. There have been good reports from the Chester River and Kent Island area. In the middle bay region, the Wye and Miles rivers have been off while the Dorchester County area has been very good.
On the freshwater scene, largemouth bass and most other freshwater fish are still in a summer mode of behavior, so early mornings and late evenings typically offer the best opportunities in the shallower areas with cover. Topwater lures are a favorite for this type of fishing.
At the Ocean City area, water temperatures in the surf and inlet are about 74 degrees. The best surf fishing for a mix of kingfish, croaker, small bluefish, and flounder has been in the mornings and evenings. At the wreck and reef sites flounder fishing has been very good with a few sea bass being caught. At the 30-fathom fishing areas a mix of yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, mahimahi, and wahoo are being caught. At the canyons, 461 Lump, and Rock Pile, a mix of blue and white marlin, yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo, bigeye tuna, and the occasional sailfish are being caught.
* * * Fishing derby The Pasadena Sportfishing Group will hold a Kid’s Fishing Derby at Fort Smallwood Park from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10. Pre-registration is required by Sept. 6; go to www.pasadenasportfishing. com or call 410-439-3474.
* * * Duck blind know-it-all Gophers are not the same as groundhogs. The most obvious distinction is that gophers have long protruding teeth.