We’re just a few days away from the kickoff of the 2017 MidAtlantic and as Tournament Week quickly approaches final preparations are well underway at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland for the 2017 edition of sportfishing’s “Main Event.” The Big Top tent will soon be set at Canyon Club, the tournament’s home and headquarters for the week, where sponsor displays have also been arriving daily. There’s a sense of excitement in the air which comes around in late August every year. According to Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman, pre-registration for this year’s event is up considerably from 2016. “We’re ahead of where we were last year at this time with entries up at both Cape May and Ocean City. In fact, we’re seeing a lot of new participants signing up in Cape May. With port caps set at 95 boats for each tournament port and entries continuing to stream in on a daily basis it’s quite possible last year’s record $3.1 million payout may be surpassed!”
The week’s festivities get underway on Sunday, August 20 where entry registration and calcutta entries will take place during a Welcome Cocktail Party sponsored by Interlux/Awlgrip in Cape May and Alexseal in Ocean City. Speaking of entry fee and calcuttas. Did you know the MidAtlantic reduced its entry fee several years ago? You can now enter this world class event for only $2500 and compete against the best boats and crews in big game fishing. This reduced entry fee includes dockside dining, cocktails and entertainment for up to six crewmembers and provides an opportunity to be part of an event with an entry list that reads like a who’s who in sportfishing every year. You’ll compete against boats from as far away as New England, Florida and Texas in an event Marlin magazine has boasted as “One of the top offshore tournaments in the world which spreads the wealth and offers many ways to win.”
The reduced entry fee allows participants to enter any or all ten tournament-sanctioned calcuttas, or side bets if you prefer, based on their targeted species and fees they are comfortable with. For as little as an additional $1000 you can enter the Atlantic Tackle Billfish Points Calcutta and only compete against the other participants in your respective port for a very significant payout. Those with the lust for cash can roll the dice and still go “across the board” by entering all calcutta levels and participate as they have in previous MidAtlantic events and likely be fishing for a total purse in excess of $3 million!
Unlike events which structure their payout to award a single large cash prize to one or a few winners, the MidAtlantic’s calcutta structure pays out to numerous winners. Last year 35 winners won cash including nearly $750 thousand to the heaviest white marlin winner and $530 thousand to the blue marlin winner. If tuna are your species of choice you might be interested to know last year the three heaviest thunnus earned $375 thousand, $263 thousand and $176 thousand respectively! Want more incentive? The heaviest wahoo was worth a cool $69 thousand while a dolphin earned $44 thousand! Worthy of note is the big winner in the dolphin category wasn’t even the largest fish because the heaviest dolphin was not in all levels of calcuttas for that species. As they say, ya gotta be in it to win it!
Tournament participants will use their years of offshore fishing experience in addition to catch information from fellow anglers, wind and sea condition forecasts and sea surface temperature analysis to select three days to fish offshore during Tournament Week from Monday, August 20 through Friday, August 25. When entering, each participant selects a port they will sail from, Cape May or Ocean City, and they are not permitted to clear their respective inlet’s sea buoy prior to 3 a.m. To ensure an even playing field, all boats, regardless of sailing port, must fish within 125 miles of the Cape May Sea Buoy. Fishing gets underway each day at 8 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. There’s no limit to the number of lines or teasers though IGFA angling rules apply except that a fish may be hooked by any crewmember provided the rod is transferred immediately to the angler who fights the fish until boated or released. All fish to be weighed must be at the scale of their respective host marina by 9 p.m. on the day caught. Species eligible for prizes include white marlin over 65 pounds, blue marlin over 400 pounds and tuna (big eye, yellowfin or true albacore) over 50 pounds. Dolphin and wahoo have no minimum weights to win cash. Valuable awards are presented to the top three point winners in both billfish categories and the tuna category as well as the most points overall.
If you’d like to be part of what’s sure to be another exciting MidAtlantic tournament the time to act is now! There’s still dockage available but those who wait may be left at the dock come Tournament Week. Contact Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman at 609-884-0177 for tournament information or sponsorship information or visit the tournament’s official web site at www.themidatlantic.com where you’ll find all the details pertaining to this year’s event including a schedule, rules, calcutta breakdown and printable tournament brochure and entry form. You can also follow the tournament on Facebook at The MidAtlantic Tournament and on Twitter @midatl and also on Instagram @themidatlantictournament.