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Local math teacher beats Michael Jordan’s fishing team and wins $1.5 million in white marlin tournament

Local math teacher beats Michael Jordan’s fishing team and wins $1.5 million in white marlin tournament

A high school math teacher became the first repeat winner of the world's largest billfish tournament.
A high school math teacher became the first repeat winner of the world’s largest billfish tournament. Source: Salisbury Daily Times

The 46th White Marlin Open could be considered the most successful tournament yet for a number of reasons: 404 boats fishing for a World Record $6,186,870 in prize money is a good start. The red hot billfishing set a tournament record for the number of billfish caught and released. But perhaps the most interesting and exciting aspect of the tournament was who one of the big winners turned out to be – a local math teacher – winning for the second time at that!

A high school math teacher became the first repeat winner of the world’s largest billfish tournament with a 79 1/2-pound white marlin that was worth $1.5 million from a world-record purse of $6,186,870 in the 46th White Marlin Open.

Tommy Hinkle landed the winning catch aboard Fish Whistle on the fourth day of the five-day event that featured 404 boats, including former NBA great Michael Jordan’s Catch 23.

Hinkle, a resident of Ocean City, Maryland, the site of the tournament, won the event in 2008 with an 81-pound white marlin.

A high school math teacher became the first repeat winner of the world's largest billfish tournament. Source:  Salisbury Daily Times
A high school math teacher became the first repeat winner of the world’s largest billfish tournament. Source: Salisbury Daily Times

Fishermen can pick any three days to fish. Hinkle and his crew initially debated on using their final day on Thursday because of the potential of rough currents and weather. But the day turned out calm and, as Hinkle told the Salisbury Daily Times, it was “a perfect day for fishing.”

The white marlin jumped about 45 minutes into the nearly two-hour battle. Hinkle, who teaches at Stephen Decatur High School, estimated that the fish weighed at least 74 pounds, close to the tournament’s leading fish at the time.

“We had what we wanted to get, and we’ve been waiting a few days for that one,” Hinkle told Salisbury Daily Times. “It’s a big ocean out there. You wait for that one bite in this tournament, and when you get that bite, don’t screw it up.”

A high school math teacher became the first repeat winner of the world's largest billfish tournament. Source:  Salisbury Daily Times
A high school math teacher became the first repeat winner of the world’s largest billfish tournament. Source: Salisbury Daily Times

Hinkle and the crew raced to Harbour Island Marina wanting to prevent any weight loss. They arrived just after the scales opened at 4 p.m.

“I was flabbergasted [upon seeing weight],” Hinkle told Salisbury Daily Times. “It’s like a dream…

“Everything came together, and that’s what it’s all about.”

In all, 1,459 white marlin were caught with 1,429 being released. Hinkle’s official payout was $1,504,720, it was confirmed Sunday by tournament officials. Michael Wagner landed a 73.5-pound white marlin and netted $1,502,450 while Nate Walker caught a 74-pound white marlin but received only $135,000 because they were entered in fewer entry levels.

According to WTOP, most of the qualifying fish in the various categories were donated to the Maryland Food Bank.

As for Michael Jordan, it was reported that he and his team never made it to the scales.

Source USA Today


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