As the second day of competition for the 52nd annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament kicks off there is a buzz of excitement in the air. With a record-topping opening day, this year has already written its spot in the books. But, the notion of luck still lingers making teams eager to capitalize on some of it themselves playing a pivotal role in influencing 103 of the Big Rock competitor's decision to fish today.
Late Monday afternoon Citation, captained by Eric Holmes of Buxton, brought to the scales a whopping 883-pound blue marlin. In doing so, Holmes put the Citation crew into a dominating lead with a tournament record. The Citation’s monster-sized catch topped the 831-pounder caught by Ron Wallschlager aboard Summertime Blues during the 42nd Big Rock. It instantly earned the Citation crew a $318,750 prize for landing the first blue marlin to weigh more than 500 pounds.
“The fish never came up we never new what it was until we got it to the boat, amazingly enough,” said Holmes. “The fish went down; it took a bunch of line and ended up straight down under the boat. It got tail wrapped and we finally got it up after two or three hours of pulling. When we finally saw it we couldn’t believe it”.
Citation angler Andy Thomasson of Richmond, Va. knew he was in for the fight of his life the moment he took control of the rod.
“It was a fight from the start,” Thomasson said. “We got it to the first tag line and then the second and then the fish took off again.
“The fish never got out of the water. It was a hard fight and when it was all over with I was weak in the knees ... and the arms too. For a 63-year-old man, it was about all I wanted to handle.”
Last year’s winner – Sea Creature—showed up at the weigh station with a tournament leading 52.4-pound dolphin. Sea Creature captain Steve “Creature” Coulter won $746,820 in 2009 and is currently in position to win another $96,900.
The Manteo-based Sea Toy, captained by Bull Tolson, released the first billfish of the 52nd Big Rock to capture $7,732.80 from tournament’s $1,664,4350 purse. Tolson scored the first billfish release of the day just 12 minutes into the competition.
Fishing will continue throughout the week and teams are allowed to fish four of the six competition days. Winners for all categories will be crowned Saturday night at the Crystal Coast Civic Center.