This past weekend we entered the HUK Big Fish Classic tournament out of Ocean City Maryland. Karl, Rich and Matt re-rigged all of our baits with circle hooks to comply with tournament rules including the trolling baits swordfish rigs, shark rigs, everything.

We picked up more lures for big eyes, prepped the dredges and acquired another giant Icy-tech cooler to keep all the fish we were planning to catch. The fish reports were terrible with nothing being caught anywhere. We figured that was OK because we had as good a shot at finding them as anyone else. The crew was stoked and very confidant and entered several Calcutta’s.  We had to take a lay day on the first day because of rough weather and we figured 32 hours in bad weather would not be fun. It turned out 66 of 67 boats all took a lay day. Only one boat fished the first day.  In this tournament, the format for time is… as much as you can/want in 32 hours!  The biggest qualifying fish in the ocean wins the tournament.

“The biggest qualifying fish in the ocean wins the tournament.”

The last known bite was at Massey’s canyon fishing primarily for yellowfin, so we started there since we were in a yellowfin calcutta.. So did everyone else. We stayed in the fleet for half a day and then decided to head out to the Wilmington. On the way we found some fishy signs and trolled a bit and caught two nice Mahi but not big enough to win a tournament. At the Wilmington we trolled until midnight for big eye tuna. There were hundreds of whales, but we were not able to hook up even though we saw them on the fish finder.

Two fish were hooked by others that placed in the tournament. After that we chunked for tuna and fished for swords all night. Caught lots of tinker mackerel for live bait. Finally at 7am we hooked up. We thought we had a large tuna but it turned out to be a 7ft hammerhead shark. Unfortunately Hammerhead was not an eligible species for the tournament or we would have likely been in the money.  After releasing the hammerhead, we had a few more hours to try to pull off a miracle fish.

We finally gave up at the Wilmington and headed in to the elephant trunk and the 19 fathom lumps but caught nothing. Fishing was really bad for everyone only about 10 fish were weighed in by 67 boats. However, we had good weather, the boat ran great and no one got hurt, so the trip was a success.


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