OCEAN CITY- The 18th Annual Mako Mania shark tournament got underway today with dozens of boats and teams of anglers participating in the first of three official fishing days.

With sharks showing up in good numbers in recent weeks, the early offshore fishing season is starting to heat up just in time for the annual Mako Mania tournament hosted by Bahia Marina. Sharks of all sizes and species are typically the first game fish to arrive off the coast of Ocean City and this year has been no different with a strong showing at the Ocean City Shark Tournament last weekend.

Over the last couple of weeks, a significant number of makos, threshers and other shark species have been caught in the waters off the coast of the resort, signaling what should be another exciting Mako Mania tournament this weekend. While the event is all about fishing, and particularly sharks, as its name implies, the activity on land is no less exciting.

Curiosity seekers will cram into Bahia Marina all weekend for a chance to see a potential winning shark hoisted at the scale in what has become a festival of sorts celebrating the arrival of another summer offshore fishing season. Makos are the featured species in the tournament although there are also divisions for threshers and bluefish. Like most tournaments in the area, conservation of the various species is paramount and to that end, an award and a check for $1,000 is given out for the most shark releases called the W. W. Harman Award.

The tournament got underway yesterday with registration and a captain’s meeting and the action got underway offshore this morning, the first of three fishing days. Weigh-ins are held each of the next three days beginning around 4 p.m. at host Bahia Marina.

Last year, the “Moore Bills” took first place in the signature mako division and earned $14,787 in prize money. The team on the “Stress Reel-ief” took second in the mako division, but earned $18,979 in prize money because of added entry levels. The “First and More” took third. The crew on the “Stress Reel-ief” won the W. W. Harman Award for the most releases.