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Boys have fish tale to tell

Youths bring home tournament honors

Youths bring home tournament honors

July 21, 2005|by TONY BUDNY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

anthonyb@herald-mail.com

Earlier this month, Jacob Burger and Lance Crampton embarked on a journey 60 miles into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ocean City, Md.

Their mission seemed simple: Take two days to catch the biggest bluefin tuna possible in the 18th annual Ocean City Tuna Tournament.

"I knew we'd bring in a fish, I just didn't know how big," said Crampton, a 12-year-old from Funkstown.

On July 10, Burger, a 15-year-old from Williamsport, caught a 60-pound bluefin, good for second place in the junior anglers division and a $500 prize. Crampton reeled in a 30-pound yellowfin the same day. The catch matched the minimum weight to qualify for an award, earning Crampton a tie for third place and $100.

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Because of conservation efforts, competitors could keep only one bluefin a day, Crampton said. Crampton's father, Paul Crampton, said the winning tuna weighed 95 pounds.

The tournament lasted three days, with each competitor choosing two days to fish, Paul Crampton said.

Lance Crampton and Burger were aboard the Marlin Magic boat, owned by Paul Crampton and captained by Marty Moran in Ocean City.

"We go down there every year for tournaments and regular fishing. You can be sure they will be on board fishing with us. They're always ready to fish," Paul Crampton said of his son and Burger.

"The fish just don't give up, and they get heavier the closer they get to the boat," Burger said.

He estimated it took 25 to 30 minutes before the tuna finally got calmed down enough to bring aboard the ship. It took Lance Crampton about 15 to 20 minutes of fighting with his fish before it could be brought on board.

"Once that fish stops fighting, you have to reel in quickly. Until then, you just got to wait until it wears itself out," Crampton said.

The boys, who competed in the event for the third year, said they take every opportunity to fish. Burger enjoys bass fishing on the Potomac River, although he admits bass are no longer as plentiful as they used to be. Crampton enjoys deep-sea fishing for shark the most but likes fishing in the Potomac River because there is more of a chance to catch fish there than in the ocean.

"(In the Potomac), you're almost sure to catch something, especially if you're fishing catfish. In the ocean, you really have to wait and there's no sure catch," Crampton said.

When asked what they would use the prize money for, Crampton and Burger came to a consensus: a car. Burger is one year from getting his permit.

Neither of them wants to pursue fishing as a career. Crampton, however, does have a fishing-related dream.

"I hope to own a boat one day and fish all the time in the ocean," he said.

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