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Sensation maintains Big Rock lead

Gusty winds and lay-day forms were prominent Tuesday during the second day of the 55th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament as most of the 100 boats entered in the event elected to stay in port.

Anglers from 90 boats turned in lay day forms and just 10 boats ventured offshore. Winds reached 25 knots, whipping up 4-to-6 foot seas. Only one boat was able to catch and release a billfish as gamefish activity dominated the day.

That means Sensation hold the Big Rock lead as the tournament heads to it’s midpoint. Sensation captain Dale Britt, Morehead City, and angler Trey Siner, Concord, N.C., grabbed the Big Rock’s inaugural lead Monday with a 423.8 pound blue marlin they landed after a 109-minute fight.

Pelagic, captained by Mike Webb, captured the Gregory Poole first release of the day Tuesday with a white marlin that was released at 12:43 p.m. It turned out to be the only billfish release of the day and all other billfish standings remained the same.

Magic Moment angler Alan Carroll, Smithfield, who reeled in a 65.8-pound wahoo to take the lead in that category, also landed a 32.2-pound dolphin. His dolphin catch was good enough to place second in the dolphin daily prize division.

“This was my first time being out in seas like that,” Carroll said when his fish were weighed. “They say it was 4-to-6 foot, and we weren’t where we wanted to be when they called ‘lines in the water.’ But we put lines in and trolled out to 100 fathoms and picked up the wahoo about 9:30 a.m.”

Magic Moment had caught the wahoo and two dolphin by 11 a.m. Carroll had caught wahoo before in Mexican waters … but nothing as big as this.

“The wahoo was awesome,” he said. “It was wearing my arm out and everyone was yelling ‘keep cranking … keep cranking.’ I don’t know what these guys do when they get a big marlin on and fight if for two hours.”

Britt’s decision to fish Monday puts the Sensation team in position to win up to $494,710 from the tournament’s $1,154,625 purse. How much his team wins depends on what happens offshore during the final four days of the competition. It also depends on the weather.

Scattered thunderstorms are suppose to linger in the area Thursday and Saturday. While this may help put cooler pockets of water in the Gulf Stream – conditions that sometimes enhance billfishing – Big Rock anglers may run out of time before these favorable conditions begin to yield results.

The six-day event continues Wednesday at 9 a.m. Each boat is allowed to fish 4-of-6 days during the competition.

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