The 12th annual Mid-Atlantic Waterman of the Year Contest kicked off with a double heat of net mending on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at the Maryland Watermen’s Show in Ocean City.
Emcee John Martin, a partner in the family-owned fish wholesaler and retailer Martin Fish Co. of Ocean City, announced that each heat would award $100 to the winner, $50 to the runner up and a Maryland Watermen’s Association T-shirt for third place.
Brandon Malek, a rockfish, catfish and white perch fisherman out of Baltimore, was the winner of the first heat and overall net-mending title-holder.
In the second heat, father and son Rob and Sam Joiner, pound net fishermen out of Rock Hall, Md., went head to head. Sam won the heat and took second place.
The baiting round went to Rob Joiner, and second place to Sam Joiner, both in the middle of the table.
Knot tying went to Charles Martin, also a member of the Martin Fish Co. family as well as a fisherman who says he goes on any kind of boat, from longlining to dragging to working the bay. He took the second heat and first place, tying a figure 8, a bowline and a square knot in 10.85 seconds.
Brandon Malek took the $50 prize and won the first heat in 11.22 seconds.
Splicing went to Rob Joiner, with Brandon Malek in second.
This heat of the competition was not without some controversy as the judges hovered over a splicing technique and wound up disqualifying what would have been second place.
Malek also won the rope throwing (tossing a line around a piling) and survival suit heats. He got his face flap closed at the 31-second mark.
In the end Brandon Malek won the title of Waterman of the Year, knocking Rob Joiner to second place for the first time in many years. And Sam Joiner took third.
The event was sponsored by Vane Brothers and Martin Fish Co.