The 2023 White Marlin Open was a thrilling event that showcased some of the best anglers and boats in the world. The tournament, held in Ocean City, Maryland, from August 7 to 11, attracted over 400 boats and offered a record-breaking purse of $10 million. Here are some of the highlights from the five-day fishing extravaganza.
The biggest catch of the tournament was a 640.5-pound blue marlin, landed by John Ols of Laytonsville, Md., on the second day. Ols, fishing on the Floor Reel out of Ocean City, fought the massive fish for over two hours before bringing it to the scales. His catch earned him a whopping $6,200,000, the largest payout in the history of the White Marlin Open.
The tuna division was also very competitive, with several fish weighing over 200 pounds. The winner was Brian Stewart of Shady Side, Md., who hooked a 265-pound tuna on the first day. Stewart, fishing on the Reel Tight out of Ocean City, took home $1M for his impressive catch.
The wahoo division saw some fast and furious action, with several fish in the 50-pound range. The winner was John Harris of Boyertown, Pa., who caught a 57-pound wahoo on the fourth day. Harris, fishing on the Shooting Star out of Indian River, won $2,000 for his speedy catch.
The dolphin division was also very exciting, with many colorful and acrobatic fish brought to the scales. The winner was Andrew Spangenberger of New Freedom, Pa., who caught a 50.5-pound dolphin on the third day. Spangenberger, fishing on the Roncito out of Ocean City, won $25,000 for his beautiful catch.
The most coveted prize of the tournament, however, remained elusive. No white marlin or swordfish were caught at the 2023 White Marlin Open, despite many attempts and close calls. The white marlin jackpot of $3.6 million rolled over to the next year, making the 2024 White Marlin Open even more enticing.