Hotz's 82-pounder reels in grand prize


August 12, 2006|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Amid windy conditions that kept half of the White Marlin Open's eligible boats ashore, calm reigned on the leader board as the tournament came to a close in Ocean City yesterday.

That was good news for the Hotz family, which gained $1.552 million for their victory in the white marlin competition, which event co-founder Chuck Motzko described as the best in its 33-year history.

Known as the largest billfishing tournament in the world, the Open had only 60 boats head out yesterday, deterred by fuel expenses and waves of 6 to 8 feet.

Aboard the boat True Grit, the Hotzes pulled in an 82-pound marlin on Thursday afternoon. Heart to Heart pulled into Harbour Island two hours afterward with a fish weighing 81.5 pounds.

Beyond the True Grit catch and that of Philip Infantolino's Heart to Heart (worth $151,121), Steve Richardson's Canyon Express led the event on Wednesday with an 80-pounder worth $99,914. According to Motzko, three marlins exceeding 80 pounds is a first.

"When I saw the first 80-pounder come in, I thought no one was going to beat that, so what they got was remarkable," Motzko said of Hotz and Infantolino. "But across the board, the fish were quality. They were large all throughout the week. And this year, they were really scattered."

Jim Lummis' 737-pound blue marlin effectively ended the contest on Tuesday. The catch, made on Krazy Salt's, was the sixth-largest in event history, good for $660,172.

In the tuna category, John Ols caught a 135.5-pound fish on his Two Sons boat, resulting in a first-place prize and $235,487. Chris Evans and Stewart Merritt each won $4,000 in the dolphin and wahoo categories, respectively.

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