Just 15 minutes after a team aboard a boat named Viking 62 put baits in the water in the Big Rock Blue Marlin tournament at Morehead City, one of the huge billfish was hooked.
Angler Earle Hall of Hampton, Va., was in the fighting chair of Florida skipper Brian Komer’s boat on June 8.
Hall outfought the massive marlin, and when it was pulled aboard the party knew it had a fish large enough to possibly win the 57th annual event, which offered a $1,632,650 purse.
Back at the Morehead City Yacht Basin, a scale showed the big blue weighed 680 pounds.
That began four days of agonizing for Komer, Hall and the Viking 62 group. Would the catch stand up through the week against the field of accomplished anglers aboard 156 other boats?
“It is by far the longest week of my life,” Komer said as the tournament neared its conclusion.
No agaonizing was necessary though.
The catch held up rather easily.
“I’ve done this my whole life, and this is the biggest fishing accomplishment ever,” Komer said as one of the country’s richest tournaments ended. “It just feels good. It feels like you’re part of a pretty elite group now and a part of something that will be in the books forever.”
The victory was worth $560,500. Quite a way to break in a boat that had rolled off the production line just four days before the Big Rock tournament began.
Second place was the boat EZ Boy, skippered by Van Pierce of Trinity with a marlin of 556.3 pounds. Eric Kimball made the catch worth $202,525.
Finishing third and winning $134,350 was Wanchese skipper Will Ross’ Carly A. Raleigh angler Adam Shack manned the reel to outduel a 504.3 blue marlin.
However, skipper Alan Willis of Morehead City and his Shenandoah captured the second largest prize, $365,500, for the first blue marlin in excess of 500 pounds to the scales in the tournament’s Level VII division. Robbie Stallings of New Bern caught the 503.6 pound fish News Services
Catches Of The Week
▪ A blue marlin boated and released off Georgetown, S.C., by Laura Stokes of Florence, S.C. She was fishing from the Pain Killer, owned by her father, Dr. Hunter Stokes. The catch gives her a billfish “slam” of blue and white marlin, plus a sailfish.
▪ A blue marlin off Georgetown, S.C., by Bud Harper while trolling from the Big Sky.
▪ Fifty white perch each at Lake Norman by brothers Bo and John Crutchfield of Denver, N.C., while fishing in the Slanting Bridge area.
▪ A 6.5-pound Spanish mackerel at Bogue Inlet Pier by Governor Carter of Maysville.
▪ A 6.5-pound flounder in waters near Ocean Isle by local angler Clay Morphis.
▪ Blue marlin boated and released off Hatteras Village by Bobby Summer and Chris Gupton, both of Louisburg.
▪ A 56-pound snowy grouper off Hatteras Village by Brenda Feider of Durham.