If you get a chance, head down to Morehead City in the late afternoon
and check out the day's catch at the 48th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin
Tournament. I've been covering the event since coming back to eastern
North Carolina in 1998 and I never get tired of seeing the "big one"
hoisted onto the scale at Big Rock Landing.
I'm not a fisherman by any means so it always amazes me how a group of
just a few guys (or girls) can reel in a fish weighing over 400 pounds.
That's the minimum weight required for Blue Marlin caught in this
year's tournament. As of right now the top fish in the competition was
pulled in by the crew of Can Do Too, a boat based in New Jersey. Angler
Sidney Gold reeled in a Blue weighing 451.5 pounds. If that fish holds
atop the leaderboard through Saturday the crew of Can Do Too will take
home the lion's share of nearly 1.6 million dollars in prize money. To
be exact Gold, captain Jim Foy and the rest of the five man crew will
split $766,412 in prize money if their catch wins first place. Not a
bad chunk of change for a week of fishing!
I experienced a first on Tuesday when at about seven o'clock the boat
Sensation out of Morehead City backed into Big Rock Landing with only
the third Blue Marlin boated over the first two days of the event. When
the fish was hoisted onto the scale, it was announced at 378 pounds.
That's 22 pounds short of the minimum weight requirement. Any Blue
Marlin boated during the tournament that does not weigh at least 400
pounds has to be measured at least 110 inches to avoid penalties. The
fish brought in by the crew of Sensation was shorter than the required
Since Sensation boated an illegal Blue Marlin the crew was penalized
400 pounds off it's largest Blue and 400 points from accumulated
release points. But that's not the kicker. The fish was only the third
Blue Marlin caught in the tournament and was in line to claim a third
place finish worth $183,565.
Of course with a few days left to fish and good weather on the horizon
anything could happen but one things for sure, There's a whole lot of
money involved in the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament and who can't
excited about that.
By the way, for all you ECU Pirate fans out there, you have a boat to
cheer for in this year's event. Bill Clark owns a boat in the
tournament named First Down Pirates. If nothing else I'm sure there
will be one heck of a party on board.