Last-Day Marlin Wins $6.2 Million

Let’s talk about high stakes.

On Aug. 11, the final day of the 50th Annual White Marlin Open out of Ocean City, Maryland, a 640.5-pound blue marlin was brought to the scales that earned the winning boat $6.2 million. Tournament organizers are calling it the largest payout for a single fish in history.

The Floor Real, out of Ocean City, was the only boat to land a billfish that qualified for weigh-ins. In the tournament, blue marlin must be 114 inches and whites must be 70 pounds to qualify for the scales. Angler John Ols’ 118-inch, 640.5-pound blue left no doubt on the fourth and final day and electrified the crowd at the scales before taking most of the tournament’s $10.5 million total purse.

But let’s back up the timeline. Before Ols’ fish came to the scales, another Ocean City boat, the Ro Sham Bo, was looking at a potential $7.1 million payday. In the $50k Winner Take All level, Angler Rusty Shriver, of Leanordatown, Maryland, had caught a 215-pound big eye tuna that was the heaviest tuna in the division. The crew of Ro Sham Bo must have been on pins and needles before the big marlin made it back to the docks. According to tournament rules, their tuna would have taken the marlin money if no qualifying marlin had made it to the scales. Ro Sham Bo ended up earning $1.7 million, and although it’s hard to fathom being disappointed with
$1.7 million in winnings, the crew must be haunted by thoughts of what could have been.

Overall, 400 boats registered to fish the tournament. Unofficially, 551 white marlin and 46 blue marlin were caught, but only three were brought in, and only two were weighed.

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