Viking 62 captain Brian Komer of Rivera Beach, Fla., showed a flare for the dramatic Monday when he motored into the new Big Rock weigh station with a 680-pound blue marlin to snag the early lead in the 57th annual event.
The New Jersey-based boat rolled off the production line four days ago. But Komer’s seasoned fishing team knew what to do when they hooked up a big blue marlin.
“We had great teamwork out there today,” said angler Earle Hall of Hampton, VA. “Each of us had a job to do and Brian made it easy. We knew we had a big fish when we got it to the boat.”
The Viking 62 crew is in position to win $558,375 from the Big Rock's $1,632,650 purse. But the team left a lot of money up for grabs because of what it elected not to do.
The Viking 62 team decided not to enter the Level VII prize for the first blue marlin that weighed at least 500 pounds. That meant the other three boats that boated blue marlins – Callie Girl, Shenandoah and Carly A ( in that order) had a shot at $365,500. All three had elected to enter that special division.
The Shenandoah, captained by Alan Willis, Morehead City, arrived at the weigh station first with a 503.6-pound blue marlin to qualify for the prize. But Shenandoah angler Robbie Stallings, New Bern, and his teammates had to wait for the Callie Girl team to weigh its catch. That's because the Callie Girl reported and boated its blue marlin first.
Callie Girl captain Gregg Middleton, Manteo, was hopping off his boat at the Big Rock weigh station as the weight of his catch was announced. He stopped dead in his tracks and his shoulders slumped when the weight was announced to be 481.2 pounds. Middleton immediately realized his fishing team missed the Fabulous Fisherman prize by 18.8 pounds.
The announcement set off a second celebration aboard the Shenandoah and at a corner of the weigh station where Shenandoah family had stayed to await the outcome of the Callie Girl’s catch. A short time later, the Shenandoah pulled back into the Big Rock weigh station ... this time to receive a large check from Big Rock president Roger Crowe.
The fourth blue marlin catch of the day took nearly six hours of careful reeling by Carly A angler Adam Shack of Raleigh. His long hours of hard work proved well worth it as his catch tipped the scales at 504.3 pounds and put Carly A captain Will Ross, Wanchese, NC, in second place in the overall standings.
With three big blue marlins on the leader board the overall standings are pretty clear. The Viking 62, entered in all levels except the Fabulous Fishermen, is in position to win the most money if it can hold onto the tournament lead. Carly A would win $202,525 if it can maintain the runner-up spot. Shenandoah would collect an additional $134,350 if it can keep from being bumped off the leader board.
Accordingly, Box Office and Marlin Fever hold the early lead in the overall release division. Carnivore currently holds the lead in the “Winner Take All” dolphin division with a 38.1-pounder.
The flurry of Monday billfish activity resulted in the biggest catch since 2003 when seven blue marlins were boated and five different boats took a turn atop the leader board. The 57th Big Rock continues Tuesday at 9 a.m. Each boat is allowed to fish 4-of-6 days during the competition.