Yocco braves storm to boat winning tuna in Beach Haven contest

103 yellowfins were weighed in - and many more caught but not brought to the scales when it was obvious they weren't in contention.

Michael Yocco of New Providence, N.J. hooked a yellowfin tuna during a fierce thunderstorm in Spencer Canyon during the last day of the 39th annual Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club's White Marlin Invitational, and fought a 129.1-pound yellowfin tuna in wind gusts up to 70 knots as his father Joe kept his North Coast, MJ's , heading into the big seas. That payed off in a clear win in the tuna division and a pay-off of $47,875 for Yocco's crew that consisted of friends from college days. Six years earlier, and without the senior Yocco aboard, the college kids won the tuna division by trolling three bigeyes, but their pay-off wasn't large because they couldn't afford to get into the Calcuttas. They were in some Calcuttas when they won again two years ago.

The big winner boated the only white marlin exceeding the tournament minimum of 68 inches. Kurt Von Seekamn of Ridgewood, N.J. won $160, 250 for a 71 ¾-inch, 82-pound white fought by Fritz Butler. The Mack Boring crew on Mack Attack won both the blue marlin and white marlin points trophies as well as the Grand Champion Award. The White Marlin Invitational attracted 98 boats, and had a purse of $388,000. Anglers fished under the new NMFS rule requiring the use of circle hooks with baits in billfish tournament. That didn't hold down the tuna catch as 103 yellowfins were weighed in - and many more caught but not brought to the scales when it was obvious they weren't in contention.