A blue marlin caught in the MidAtlantic fishing tournament on Friday is now on the books as a new Maryland state record.
The crew on Billfisher, a 63-foot Ocean City boat built and owned by Jon Duffie of Duffie Boatworks, caught a remarkable 1,135-pound blue marlin to win the tournament and set a new tournament record.
It was officially confirmed by Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists Tuesday, breaking the previous Maryland state record set by Robert Farris in the 2009 White Marlin Open for a 1,062.0-pound fish.
The fish measured 136.5 inches long and took angler Billy Gurlach three hours and 15 minutes to get aboard. Gurlach, 41, used a Joe Yee Super Plunger for a lure. A crowd was gathered waiting for the boat at the scales Friday afternoon. It took eight men to hoist the fish up onto the scale, where its announced weight drew cheers and celebration.
“I’ve been waiting for that bite my whole life,” Gerlach said.
The Billfisher team took top prize in their category and brought home $1,167,762.
After Friday’s weigh-in, Duffie, an Ocean City charter captain before he began building boats, spoke to MidAtlantic Tournament cameras.
“The only thing i could say when it jumped the first time was, Oh my God, oh my God,” he recounts.
Duffie says it was their first bite of the day, just 50 minutes after the team put lines in.
“It was unreal. I can’t believe this happened,” Duffie says.
The blue marlin’s meat was donated to area food banks and parts of the fish were collected for scientific research.
The Atlantic blue marlin is the largest billfish in the ocean, and females can be four times heavier than males, getting up to 2,000 pounds, according to worldoceans.org. They can live for up to 28 years, and are one of the fastest-moving ocean creatures.
–Meg Walburn Viviano