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The White Marlin Open - Biggest Billfish Tournament in the World!

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The White Marlin Open - Biggest Billfish Tournament in the World!

Aug 18, 2016

Today I had the pleasure to meet with the original creator of the White Marlin Open, Jim Motsko. I paid the fees; $1300.00 entry fee, and another $27,450.00 to enter the money pots. He is a Great guy, and it is very interesting how he has created a family business. The White Marlin Open is the largest billfish tournament in the world.  I also saw the checks that will go to the winners and Miss Budweiser would certainly look great written all over them.


Then the very next day, the same routine; up at 4:30 AM and gone fishing by 5:15AM. We arrive at the fishing grounds at 8:10 AM and get our lines in. I am standing in the cockpit hoping to grab one of the 7 rods that are in our spread. To tease the fish up we also drag, daisy chains, smokers, dredges and are adding 4 more lines in the water. All this taken care of by our great first mate, Jeff Bickle. At around 9:00 AM a white marlin gets in the spread and hits the port side teaser, then the short and is finally caught on the starboard long. A beautiful white marlin that loved to jump.  About 30 minutes later it’s all over, she has been released and we are standing in the cockpit again. Around noon we catch a small mahi mahi and that’s it. A good day, 61.9 miles, 7 hours 9 minutes trolling. Now it’s 2 ½ hours home. 12 to 13 hours on the water. Fun way to spend a day on the Miss Budweiser.

Then, oh boy, this is why we love white marlin fishing, they are biting everywhere. We would have one on and two boats around us were also catching one. A true white marlin “bite”, it’s incredible and I’ve never seen anything like it. We had our Captain’s brothers on board for a wonderful day. Which is great solace as the next day was tough! We caught a long fin tuna and nothing else. Getting skunked is bad enough but then a long ride home in pretty rough seas makes for a tough day after such a great day yesterday.


The first day of the White Marlin Open!  We started in the Baltimore Canyon and at 8:30AM, it is a beautiful day, since we had a 3 hour ride from Sunset Marina we left at 4:30AM. Caught our first White at 10:30 and it fought Bill Kimble for an hour and a half. Very unusual, a tough girl, even with all that fight she did not make length, so we released her.  It is a very calm and beautiful day, the ocean was glassy and we saw multiple groups of dolphin swimming by and even saw a manta ray jump out of the water. We moved east and had a white Marlin look at the left long, move to the right short and then leave. We saw its fin right behind the bait. Another great day on the water. No white or blue marlin were caught today to qualify but loads of smaller marlin released.


The last day of the White Marlin Open. So far, we have not been able to get any fish on the leader board. We are all nervous, excited and anxious. It's a long day as we move twice to different fishing areas. Everybody's at the ready and there is not much conversation on the boat.  We have all found our place as a team.  We caught one white marlin but unfortunately, not big enough. Of 318 boats traveling roughly 50 miles per day. Only one white marlin and one blue marlin, (and that was mutilated) have gotten to the leaderboard. Sadly, I think that makes this just a luck tournament. I'm not going to Disneyland this time.


Michael Flanigan