Cigars. Boats averaging ~ 1-2 million dollars. Cute off-shore fishing clothing and beer guts. Lots of bling on the brainless trophy wife or grl friend. 8-10 crew members to rinse and pollish he boat between the jetty and the dock, so that it will always show best. The crew finds the fish, prepares all of the fishing gear, sets the hook, and only then does the owner winch in the prize and claim all credit. Whoppee.
One by one, the boats back in with the one or two fish they think might be worthy (smaller fish are tossed over the side, if reports indicate they are out of the money). Pictures are taken, fish wieghed and measured. Then a biologists inspect the fish and checks for hidden weights and liquid injections. Trust but verify. In reality, as much cheating as NASCAR.
The Mid-Atlantic $500,000, fished primarily out of Ocean City and Cape May. Total prize money runs about $1,500,000 to $1,700,000, depending on the year. A late summer tradition, loud and crazy and marina-filling. My daughter, her friend and I dingied over to what the final day's weight-in to watch the specticle. The closing party continued into the wee hours.
Next year, I simply need to scrape up the entrance fee (ranges from $1,000 to $7,000, depending on the catagories). Or perhaps I'll just troll for the ocational blue or rockfish and leave it at that.