Wilmington-based boat, crew reel in cash prize on tourney’s Day 1

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*Update: 5:55 p.m. Wilmington-based Marlin Gull, owned by Michael Easel, took home the sought-after $433,500 prize for making it first to the scales with a blue marlin of at least 500 pounds. The Marlin Gull pulled into the lead after day one at the 58th Big Rock Tournament in Morehead City.

Captain Kenny Midgett set his course at 9 a.m. Monday aboard the Buddy Cannady 54-foot vessel and returned to the Big Rock scales around 4 p.m. with the 564.8 pound catch.

At the end of day one, there were 12 blue marlin releases, two white marlin releases and three sailfish releases for the 174 participants competing at the six day event. 

Lines were put in on Monday as the 58th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament got underway off the coast of Morehead City.

Among the 174 listed participants are nine boats from the Wilmington area. A last-minute rush of registrants pushed the competition purse to just over $1.9 million.

The Wilmington based Marlin Gull is in the lead after day one. Photo courtesy- Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.
The Wilmington based Marlin Gull is in the lead after day one. Photo courtesy- Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.

The competition kicked off at 9 a.m. after a blessing of the fleet and the official announcement that lines were allowed in the water. The six-day event concludes Saturday, June 18th with an awards ceremony at the Morehead City Civic Center.

Competitors are allowed to fish four of six fishing days and must notify officials of the days they do not intend to fish.

This year, the first boat to the Big Rock scales with a blue marlin that weighs at least 500 pounds will win $433,500 if entered in the Level VII “Winner Take All” category.

Listed below are boats from across southeastern North Carolina registered to compete this week. Click here for the complete leader board from each day.

Boat Name: Angler

Type: Spencer 59′

City: Wilmington, NC

Owner: Angler’s Edge Inc.

Captain: Tim Day


Boat Name: Gamekeeper

Type: Core Sound 55′

City: Wilmington, NC

Owner: UKenFish LLC

Captain: Ken Upton


Boat Name: Gold-N-Fish

Type: Jersey Cape 36′

City: Carolina Beach, NC

Owner: ANS Investments LLC

Captain: Josh Perry


Boat Name: Marlin Gull

Type: Buddy Cannady 54′

City: Wilmington, NC

Owner: Michael Easel

Captain: Kenny Midgett


Boat Name: Rameseas

Type: Buddy Cannady 55′

City: Wilmington, NC

Owner: Rameseas LLC

Captain: Rock Wells


Boat Name: Sails Pitch

Type: Contender 39′

City: Hampstead, NC

Owner: Mark Dressler

Captain: Brian Dressler


Boat Name: Stream Weaver

Type: Spencer 60′

City: Wilmington, NC

Owner: Rusty Carter

Captain: Timmy Kidwell


Boat Name: Trial Size

Type: Caison 64′

City: Wilmington, NC

Owner: G. Phillip David

Captain: Jackson David



Boat Name: Tuna Trappe

Type: Island Boatworks 57′

City: Wrightsville Beach, NC

Owner: AHG Associates LLC

Captain: Steve Cramer