This year's White Marlin Open had a record $5.45 million purse and 382 of the world's elite fishing teams battling for a piece of it. The blue marlin category was safely held all week when Joe Rahman, fishing on his Viking 80 Auspicious with Captain Cookie Murray, brought a monster to the scales weighing in at 881-pounds on Day 1. The fish was never challenged as it was the only qualifying blue weighed all week. Joe also claimed 2nd Place Angler for weighing in both a blue and white marlin as well as releasing three whites. Auspicious picked up 6th Place Boat with its two weighed marlin and six white releases.
The New England based Blinky IV, a Viking 50, claimed 2nd Place Tuna with a 73.5 pounder weighed by angler Charles Matattal. Leo Cantillo, on the Viking 62 The Right Place, claimed the 4th heaviest wahoo of the event with a 47-pound fish.
While lots of excitement takes place at the scales with million dollar fish in front of massive cheering crowds, there is plenty of intense behind-the-scenes action on the Atlantic amongst skilled teams taking advantage of exceptional marlin fishing grounds. This year the Viking 72 topped the competition with 10 white marlin and a blue driving Captain Ryan Higgins and his team to both 1st Place Boat and 1st Place Release Boat. Viking 72 angler Eric McDowell claimed 6th place angler with one blue and three white marlin releases.
Art Kontos' Viking 68 Let It Ride was the 9th Place Release Boat and 10th Place Top Boat. The crew released six white marlin, three sailfish and a spearfish.