The 54th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament opened Monday under ideal conditions and this proved to be perfect for the crew of the Flybuoy..
Flybuoy, captained by Todd Baxley of Charleston, S.C., landed the first blue marlin of the tourney after a 92-minute fight. Baxley is now headed toward the Big Rock scales and is estimated to arrive around 5:30 p.m.
Excellent weather yielded 30 billfish hookups, including 19 blue marlins and three sailfish. A rare billfish grand slam was recorded by Bench Mark, a Greenwood, S.C.-based boat captained by Bobby Garmany. The Bench Mark team released a white marlin, a blue marlin and a sailfish during the Big Rock opener.
Compromise, captained by Larry Braham, John’s Island, S.C., captured daily $2,000 prize for scoring the first release of the day. The Compromise crew hooked and released a blue marlin just 21 minutes into the competition.
All but one blue marlin were released because captains deemed their catches to be less than the Big Rock minimum of 400 pounds or 110 inches in lower jaw fork length.
Gamefish weights and details about the Flybuoy catch will be added when boats begin to reach the scales.