OCEAN CITY LIGHT TACKLE CLUB DERBIES
The Ocean City Light Tackle Club Hosts tournaments for its members and invited guests called Derbies.
In 1948 the club held its first Derby, starting what is, at present, an unbroken string. Until 1972 each was held at Ocean City but, in that year, the Club's 25th Anniversary, the Derby was held at Macuto, Venezuela, where we were guests of the Carrabelleda Yacht Club. 1973 found us, for the first time, at Oregon Inlet, N.C., and in 1974 and 1975 we fished in Cozumel, Mexico. Back to Oregon Inlet we went in 1976 and 1978. In 1977 we went, again, to Venezuela, holding our Derby in conjunction with the Venezuelan Annual International Tournament, which our own Barry Fitzpatrick promptly won. The "out of the country" tournaments proved so successful that in 1979 we ventured to Cabo San Lucas in Baja, California, a trip that produced few fish but is still considered as one of the best of all of our trips. Palm Beach was visited for the first time in 1980 and in 1981, after a ten year absence, we were back in Ocean City. The 1982 Derby was fished in Palm Beach and that for 1983 was at Oregon Inlet. Our 1984 Derby (actually fished in January, 1985) was at Palm Beach and in September, 1985 we returned to that great port on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
By this time Cancun, Mexico had developed into one of the best fishing holes to be found in this Hemisphere, so there was held our 39th Derby, in 1986. We celebrated our 40th, in February, 1987, by going back to one of the consistently great spots, Palm Beach. In June, 1988 the 41st was at Cancun and in February, 1989 we went back to Palm Beach for the 42nd Annual Derby. There were
36 anglers there, a number that has been exceeded only once in the history of the Club. In May, 1990 we made our second trip to the Pacific, holding the 43rd at Flamingo, Costa Rica. And, for the 44th, in April, 1991, we returned to Cozumel, after a 16 year hiatus. June, 1992 found us back in Costa Rica, at Flamingo, for the 45th. In February, 1993 we held the 46th at Palm Beach, going there for the sixth time. Only 12 anglers fished, making it the smallest Derby on record, until then. Number 47 was back in Cozumel with 13 anglers in May, 1994.
Fishing in Cancun was getting better each year, particularly in the Spring, so the 48th was held there, fishing from the Hacienda del Mar marina using American boats. It was the most successful fish catching Derby ever, surpassing the two trips to Cozumel in the '70s. Nineteen members and two substitutes fished for three days and caught 136 sails and one white marlin. An average of slightly more than two billfish per angler per day. The winner caught 14 fish, the most ever taken by any single angler in a Derby. That prompted the Club to go back to Cancun for the 49th, in May, 1996 when the catch of the year before was surpassed: 24 anglers released 194 sailfish for an average of almost three fish per angler per day.