The long-standing tradition of crowds gathering at Harbour Island in Ocean City for the White Marlin Open weigh-in will go away this year.
Organizers of the fishing tournament held each August say the new viewing location at the 3rd Street recreation complex will be the only viewing spot open to the public. Harbour Island will not be open to the public.
WMO organizers say the circumstances surrounding the decision are beyond their control, and that it has nothing to do with the Harbour Island Board of Directors.
Meanwhile, interest in the fishing community is growing. The White Marlin Open has about 160 boats already registered, which is about 20-percent more than this time last year.
White Marlin Open released this message on its Facebook page Wednesday night:
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have been forced to move all public weigh-in viewing to our new 3rd Street Ballpark location. The large amount of available space at the park will allow for proper social distancing and a more enjoyable experience for our spectators. Unfortunately, the general public will not be permitted access to Harbour Island during weigh-ins this year. Although we worked with state and local officials for months to create a responsible COVID business plan, this uphill battle has become insurmountable. We are focusing all of our energies and resources on continuing to provide our participants with a world class fishing event with world record payouts. While the format for our spectators will look different this year, we can assure our participants that they will continue to experience the first class event that they have become accustomed to.
A live-stream of the weigh-ins can also be viewed from the comfort of your home via computer or any mobile device. Simply visit www.whitemarlinopen.com
to watch, and shop for all of your official White Marlin Open gear.
Event registration will still be held at Harbour Island on Saturday, August 1st and Sunday August 2nd with a modified layout to ensure social distancing is possible. We ask that all registrants please wear a mask.
Like all business owners, we have worked tirelessly to comply with all of the constantly changing regulations, protocols and recommendations related to COVID preparedness. We know there will be both support and criticism of this decision and unfortunately we are in a no win situation and can not please everyone. We would like to thank the participants and loyal fans that make the White Marlin Open such a special experience. Here’s to a great tournament!