OCEAN CITY, Md. — Organizers of the White Marlin Open announced Sunday night that the 2020 tournament will have 433 boats fighting for the $6.7 million purse.
The 433 boats and purse are both new records for the tournament, beating last year’s 403 boats and $6.1 million in prize money.
The tournament began Monday with 42 boats heading out to begin fishing, according to organizers. Boats can fish up to three days between Monday and Sunday.
Organizers adapt to Tropical Storm Isaias, pandemic
Conditions early this week will be affected by Tropical Storm Isaias, which is expected to move through the Delmarva Peninsula on Tuesday, according to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.
The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for Ocean City and all of the Delmarva Peninsula. Forecasts predict conditions should begin to deteriorate Monday night into Tuesday.
Starting Tuesday, morning winds in Ocean City are predicted to be 45-60 miles per hour sustained, with gusts of up to 75 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service Monday.
Rainfall is expected to be around an inch, and the National Weather Service is predicting heavy surf and dangerous rip currents in Ocean City, according to the weather service Monday.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and Tropical Storm Isaias, organizers have adapted the White Marlin Open this year to make sure the event could continue.
“We’ve had a rough year getting to this point, and welcome to everybody who’s participating,” said Jim Motsko, founder and president of the White Marlin Open during his captain’s message Sunday. “We have a tremendous turnout of 433 boats. This has been a chore for us from day one starting in March. We never thought we would have a tournament.”
New category added
This year the tournament has added a new entry-level category called the pay day. The tournament is also two days longer than it would be otherwise because of Tropical Storm Isaias.
Spectators will also notice some changes to the 2020 White Marlin Open. Traditionally spectators have been allowed to watch boats weigh their catches at Harbour Island on 14th Street.
This year because of COVID-19 restrictions, viewing of the tournament has been moved to the Third Street ballpark in downtown Ocean City.
Large screens will be at the ballpark to stream the weigh-ins and vendors will be selling a variety of items, including White Marlin Open gear.
Organizers are encouraging spectators to social distance at the ballpark and face coverings will be required, according to the event’s website.