As the 57th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament came to a close on Saturday in Morehead City, Wilmington based “Reel Pleasure” secured a guaranteed prize of more than $5,000 after reeling in a 451-pounder on day three of the six-day tournament.
A steadily improving bite on Wednesday of last week helped propel an outboard division entrant into the spotlight as the 33-foot OBX Boatworks 3312 owned by John Dickson grabbed first-place in the inaugural outboard division.
Captain Jeff Kingo of Raleigh put angler Mike Fiuzat of Houston, Texas, over a pod of blue marlins around 10 a.m. Wednesday. After hooking and losing their first blue marlin, Fiuzat made most of his second chance by reeling in a 451.8-pound blue marlin.
“The easy part was getting the fish in the boat,” said Kingo, who reported his catch hooked at 10:28 a.m. and boated at 2:05 p.m. “Once we got it to the boat, we put ropes on the bill and the tail and pulled it in over the side. The hard part was getting home.”
Kingo had one of his engines shut down, while still 19 miles offshore. Not wanting to lose the other engine, he reduced speed and eventually called Sea Tow. King’s early estimate of reaching the scales at 4:30 p.m. turned into 6:45 p.m. time of arrival.
On Thursday, EZ Boy, a 40-foot Winter powered by three Yamaha outboard engines, took outboard division lead and second place overall with a 556.3-pound blue marlin.
The outboard division was added to this year’s tournament and 11 boats based out of the Wilmington area were among the 149 total participants. Anglers were allowed to fish four-of-six days during the event.
New Jersey based “Viking 62” took home first-place overall with a 680-pound catch. It was the second-biggest blue marlin caught during the Big Rock this century as the crew took home $560,500 from the Big Rock’s $1,632,650 purse.
EZ Boy took home $202,525 for finishing second and received an additional $8,925 for finishing first in the outboard division.
Wilmington-based “Gamekeeper,” owned by UKenFish LLC and captained by Ken Upton, won $2,000 for a 52.4-pound wahoo to claim second place in the game fish division.
Wilmington area participants
- “Blue Dog,” Wilmington, owned by Michael Craig Stevens with Captain Greg Uff
- “Fishin’ Fever,” Wilmington, owned by Fishin’ Fever Sports with Captain John Horton
- “Free Spool,” Ocean Isle Beach, owned by Dan McRaineyw ith Captain Pete Nelson
- “Gamekeeper,” Wilmington, owned by UKenFish LLC with Captain Ken Upton
- “Horse,” Wilmington, owned and captained by Les Edwards
- “Logan’s Run,” Wrightsville Beach, owned by Logan’s Run Boating with Captain “D” Logan
- “REEL PLEASURE,” Wilmington, owned by John Dickso with Captain Jeff Kinyo
- “Stream Weaver,” Wilmington, owned by Rusty Carter with Captain Michael King
- “Trial Size,” Wilmington, owned by Phillip David with Captain Jackson David
- “Tuna Trappe,” Wrightsville Beach, owned by AHG Associates LLC with Captain Steve Cramer
- “Warbird,” Hampstead, owned by Mark Dressler with Captain Brian Dressler