OCEAN CITY, Md. - The beautiful weather this weekend is music to the ears of fishermen in Ocean City where a ton of money is on the line this weekend in the largest tuna tournament in the world. The OC Tuna Tournament is back for its 31st go-around, and this one has the most money on the line in tournament history, $857,000.
It's proving to be a bounce back year with more money offered, and 104 boats entered.
"It's still great to be back in the hundred range. Back in 2002, 2003 we were at over 100 boats, and then obviously it declined, as the economy did. But over the past couple of years it's just increased," said tournament director Jennifer Blunt.
Part of the re-emergence of the tournament is the recognition it's getting nationwide. We're told more boats from across the eastern half of the country are in town, including places like Alabama.
"All over from Florida, New Jersey to fish this event, which helps. a lot of new boats I've noticed are in registration. So words getting out that we're definitely a tournament that you shouldn't miss, especially if you're in tournament fishing," said Blunt.
But it's still a local event, with competitors the event organizers have seen grow up before their eyes.
"We have guys who are running boats that used to mate when they were much younger in this event and now they're winning as a captain and they're winning in this tournament and so it's really cool. It's a nice community type tournament," said Blunt.
As the boats docked and the fish weighed, crowds began to gather at Mickey Fins.
Already on day one we've seen impressive totals coming in, and the leader boards are sure to keep changing right through the end of the tournament on Sunday night.
The tournament takes place at the Ocean City Fishing Center all weekend, and if you want to catch the action, weigh-ins are every afternoon from 4 PM to 7:30 PM.
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