White Marlin Open winner to receive over $2.5 million
Pascual Jimenez, of Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, is the big winner of the White Marlin Open after reeling in an 83-pound marlin Friday on the last day of the tournament in Ocean City.
Gregory Giron, of Virginia Beach, caught the same size fish on Thursday, but lost a tiebreaker because a gaffe was used to bring the fish aboard.
The difference between using a gaffe and not using a gaffe: $2,454,476.
Jimenez’s prize winnings are $2,584,260 as the WMO truly lives up to its slogan as the World’s Largest & Richest Billfish Tournament.
“I was so nervous. I kept saying, ‘C’mon, give me it, give me it,’” Jimenez said with a laugh. “When it came up, we didn’t know it was a keeper. Once it got close to the boat, it starting jumping ... we thought, ‘Wow, that’s a keeper.’”
Jimenez caught the winner aboard the Weldor’s Ark out of Morehead City, N.C., one of over 350 boats fishing on the final day.
The Weldor’s Ark crew hooked three white marlin in about an hour’s time and released the smallest one.
“We didn’t celebrate because we didn’t know — we weren’t sure if anyone had brought in another fish,” Jimenez said. “You really don’t know anything until you get here and see the scale.”
Two world records were set during the tournament. The $2.58 million payout was the most ever awarded for the catch of a billfish, and the $5.45 million-dollar purse was the most ever paid in any fishing tournament.
By far, the largest fish caught during the tournament was an 881-pound blue marlin caught by Joe Rahman of Wanaque, N.J. The huge fish was caught on the first day of the tournament aboard the Auspicious, out of Palm Beach, Fla. It was the only qualifying blue marlin weighed in.
The Tuna Division edged closer to anointing its first million-dollar tuna as Gary Sansburry, from Hobe Sound, Fla., won $904,851 while fishing on the Buckshot out of Ocean City. The 75.5-pound tuna was the biggest of a close group that split the rest of the tuna purse of $1,300,000. The Blinky IV, out of Freeport, Mass., was second with a 73.5-pound tuna caught by angler Charles Matattal, from Blackstone, Mass., good for $135,421. The Brass Monkey and Jake Pilkerton, from Leonardtown, took third place and the top small boat tuna money with a 71-pounder, good for a total of $215,916.
The Wahoo Division’s big winner is Kevin Graybill of Morgantown, Pa., who reeled in a 63-pounder on Friday while fishing aboard the Over Board out of Ocean City. The wahoo won Graybill a total of $115,271. “Wahoos pull real good and they come off real fast, so we were just glad when we had it in the boat,” Graybill said. “A couple of the guys saw it come out, and we knew we had a good wahoo.”
Dolphin-fish provided action all week. Top winners were Fin-Nominal from Indian River, Del. ($19,464), Rigged Up from Manteo, N.C. ($18,646), the Moxie Boys from Ocean City ($16,646), Sea Note out of Oregon Inlet, N.C. ($15,300), and the Bonnie Lynn from Ocean City ($15,300). *** Somerset duck hunting Hunters can now submit applications for the annual permit-only waterfowl hunting days at Deal Island Wildlife Management Area and Fairmount Wild-