The 49th annual White Marlin Open has 286 of its 408 entries in the Atlantic Ocean for the final day of this year’s event.

With a total of $8.6 million in prize money, it’s easy to see why the event annually is one of the biggest in the country. Boats from up and down the East Coast and throughout the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean make the trip to compete.

The tournament’s namesake had failed to show at the scales in the first three days of fishing. But on Thursday, a 71.5-pounder just made the 70-pound minimum weight and the team on the Texas-based C-Student is sitting on $2.8 million if nobody tops that catch today.

Blue marlin also started to show, with a 511-pounder caught on Delaware-based Cabana that’s currently good for $960,000.

Yellowfin tuna were dominating the weigh-in scene for the first three days until bigeye showed in the spreads and dumped several Virginia and North Carolina boats off the leaderboard. The current leader – Maryland-based Southern C’s – is a 247.5-pounder worth $940,000. Manteo’s Komotose has a 242.5-pounder worth $320,000 sitting in third.

In the dolphin division, Joker, out of Chincoteague, is in second with a 29-pounder worth $91,000.

Those who have competed in or followed the WMO knows that the current leaderboard is far from etched in stone, as many final day entries – even some last-second ones – can turn the whole thing upside down. We’ll be back with the conclusion after all the categories are finalized.

Keep in mind, the WMO isn’t the only game in town, as we’re deep into the mid-Atlantic offshore tournament season.

The 26th annual Virginia Beach Open Marlin Tournament was held the week prior to the WMO and the team on Sniper was the overall winner based on billfish releases. Mercenaria won the dolphin division, with Desperado taking the win in wahoo and Sniper the victory in tuna.

Next up is the 39th annual Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament, August 15th-19th, out of Manteo. The event is proceeded by the 33rd annual Alice Kelley Memorial All-Ladies Tournament. Just after the conclusion of both tournaments, the marina will host the fifth annual Sheep Dog Veterans Challenge for first responders, veterans, and active duty personnel.

After everybody takes a deep breath, fills up on fuel, and loads the bait cooler with new balao (ballyhoo) baits, it will be time for the 19th annual Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament out of Rudee Inlet, August 24th-27th. That event also is proceeded by a women’s event – the 20th annual Wine, Women, and Fishing Ladies-Only Charity Billfish Tournament, August 20th-21st, also out of Rudee Inlet.

So get to the edge of your seats, wait to see what happens today in Ocean City, MD, and stay in fishing mode for action through the end of the month.

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