The White Marlin Open, which has grown during the years to become the largest and richest traditional billfish tournament in the world, will spawn a competition of a different style this August off Ocean City -- the WMO Invitational Release Classic.
"Over the years, we have had many anglers suggest such tournament," said Jim Motsko, president of the White Marlin Open. "The Release Classic will allow some of the top billfish anglers in the area to compete for big money in a tournament based on the ultimate skill."
The Release Classic will be limited to 50 boats, with an entry feof $5,000 per boat.
Ninety percent of the entry fee will be returned as prize money, creating a pool of $225,000 if all entries are filled.
Points will be awarded to boats that catch and release billfish, and the top boat could expect to receive 50 percent of the pool, with the second boat getting 25 percent, the third 15 percent and the fourth 10 percent.
Only those boats or anglers registered for the White Marlin Open will be invited to fish the classic, and each entered boat must provide an observer to accompany another boat during the tournament.
Each boat will be allowed to fish two days between Aug. 28 and Aug. 30.
For more information on either the Release Classic or the White Marlin Open, which runs from Aug. 3-7, call (410) 289-9229.
In case of a hurricane . . .
Hurricane season is on, and though it is unlikely that a major storm will barrel up Chesapeake Bay, it is possible, and BOAT/U.S. suggests these tips for boat owners:
* Storage ashore is a must for trailerable boats and performance boats with low freeboard. Sailboats can be hauled out of the water and laid on their side.
* If a boat must be left afloat, the best place to take it is a small protected body of water called a Hurricane Hole. Check the charts for your area and find one.
* If a boat must be left at a dock, make docking lines as long as possible and add a set of oversized lines.
* Cover lines with chafing gear such as canvas or sections of garden hose tied or taped around lines. Seal hatches, ports, doors and vents with duct tape.
* Take home all electronics and other valuable equipment and boat papers.
* Do not attempt to stay aboard during a hurricane. Prepare as best you can and then go ashore.
A little help from their friends
The fish lifts at Conowingo Dam collected 25,721 American shad between April 11 and June 15 this year, down from 27,227 last year, but up from 15,964 in 1990.
The fish collectors at the dam allow shad to be caught and then transported by truck up the Susquehanna River, where they are released above York Haven Dam to complete their spawning run.