Over the weekend, the annual White Marlin Open off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland took place once again and it didn’t disappoint. Described as “the world’s largest and richest billfish tournament,” the tourney handed out a top prize worth over $4.5 million to an angler that caught a 77.5-pound white marlin.
In comparison to previous tournaments, the 2022 White Marlin Open brought in a fraction of the fish it did in recent years. For example, in 2016, fishermen reeled in 1,445 billfish, and in 2019, they caught 1,504 billfish. However, anglers only caught 155 white marlin and 59 blue marlin during the 2022 tournament.
The lucky winner this year was fisherman Jeremy Duffie aboard local vessel the “Billfisher.” Duffie managed to catch the winning fish and set a new world record for the most money ever earned for a single fish. On the final day of the tourney, Duffie caught and weighed his catch of a 77.5-pound white marlin. The catch earned the angler a record-setting top prize of $4,536,000.
“**World Record Payout for a Single Fish**,” the White Marlin Open wrote on Instagram on Saturday. “Angler Jeremy Duffie aboard local Ocean City boat the Billfisher will take home over $4.5 Million for his 77.5 pound white marlin!”
The 2022 White Marlin Open also paid out for fishermen catching blue marlin, tuna, wahoo, and mahi-mahi. In addition to the record-breaking white marlin, two other anglers were paid over $1 million for their catches. A crew on the boat Cabana caught a 511-pound blue marlin, which garnered a $1,208,419 top prize. Further, the boat Southern C’s pulled in a 247.5-pound tuna that won them $1,278,197.
12-Year-Old Florida Girl Reels In World Record Blue Marlin
In other related news, a 12-year-old girl from Panama Beach, Florida caught a pending world record blue marlin at the end of June. While on a fishing trip in West Africa with her father, Elizabeth Arn managed to catch four out of her group’s 13 blue marlins during their five-day voyage.
Elizabeth’s prize catch came in the form of a 115-inch long, 624-pound blue marlin. The enormous fish qualified her to take over as the Female IGFA Junior Angler record holder. The previous winner is another Floridian angler who caught a 549-pounder in 2003 off the coast of Ghana.
Elizabeth’s dad, Jonathan, spoke with The Destin Log about he and his daughter’s adventures at sea. He complimented his daughter for her record-setting catch, and explained that she accomplished the feat on her own without any additional help.
“Elizabeth did an outstanding job pushing the drag up to 25 pounds to ensure the fish [was] hooked solid, then backing off the drag and taking the rod and transferring it to the fighting chair,” Jonathan told the outlet. “This was one of the most challenging parts of catching the fish, no one could assist Elizabeth during the fight. If any of the crew had touched the rod and reel or line during the hookup or fight the catch would have been disqualified by IGFA regulations.”