The fourth day of the 52nd annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament has 99 teams bucking the expected trend to lay out Thursday and then fish the last two days of competition.
Action yesterday brought a big fish to the scales, and may have been a deciding factor for the crews opting to fish today. However, many teams may not have had a choice as 106-of-156 competitors must fish out the rest of the week after taking their two lay days earlier in the competition. Another 49 crews must fish either Friday or Saturday while one team – BlankCheck —will wrap-up its chance for a share of the purse today.
The abundance of teams fishing the end of this week may cause a shoot-out situation Saturday. Many of the top spots on the Big Rock leaderboard are still up-for-grabs.
Citation, a boat captained by Eric Holmes of Buxton, continues to hold first place with the tournament-record 883-pound blue marlin caught Monday. Citation received a $318,750 check for catching the first blue marlin weighing more than 500 pounds and would receive of $912,825 from the tournament’s $1.66 million purse if they hold on to win.
Wednesday fishing resulted in another huge blue marlin catch as Carnivore, captained by Ed Petrilli of Cape Carteret, came to the scales with a 528.3-pounder. Petrilli and crew are in position to win $217,570 if they finish in the runner-up position.
Miss Judy captain Lacy Henry of Atlantic Beach scored two blue marlin releases Tuesday and continues to lead the billfish release division. The Miss Judy elected to fish Thursday to try and add to their lead, and they are still eligible to fish one of the two days left in competition.
Sea Creature, captained by Steve Coulter of Hatteras, continues to hold the lead in the winner-take-all dolphin division. Sea Creature angler John Manousaridis of Atlantic Beach reeled in a 52.4-pounder that is currently worth $97,912.
Teams must fish 4-of-6 days during the Big Rock competition and they have to notify tournament headquarters by 9 a.m. if they elect to take a lay day. The 52nd Big Rock will wrap-up Saturday with a presentation of prizes and a winner’s awards dinner at the Crystal Coast Civic Center, Morehead City.