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Viking 62 maintains Big Rock lead

The crew of the Viking 62 coasted through the second day of the 57th annual Big Rock with a sizable lead Tuesday as rough offshore conditions convinced 145-of-149 boats in the competition to stay in port.

No blue marlins were landed Tuesday and no billfish hookups were reported in wave conditions estimated to be between 4 and 5 feet.

Viking 62 captain Brian Komer, Rivera Beach, Fla., and Earle Hall, Hampton, Va., reeled in a 680-pound blue marlin Monday during the opening day and now sit on a sizeable lead. The Viking 62 catch would have won 13 of the past 14 competitions and is in position to win $558,375 from the Big Rock’s $1,632,650 purse if it stays in the lead four more days.

“Four blue marlins were weighed Monday and on Tuesday just four boats went out,” said Big Rock tournament director Crystal Hesmer. “Since fishing conditions are forecasted to be better at the end of the week, it was not a surprise that most of the competitors decided to stay in port today.”

While Viking 62 leads the competition by a wide margin, the difference between second and third place is about the weight of a cup of coffee. Will Ross, Wanchese, N.C., captain of the Carly A and angler Adam Shack, Raleigh, landed a 504.3-pound blue marlin Monday to grab second place in the tournament. The Carly A would receive $202,525 if it maintains the runner-up position the rest of the way.

Shenandoah, captained by Alan Willis, Morehead City, holds third place with a 503.6-pound blue marlin pulled in by angler Robbie Stallings, New Bern. Stallings catch weighed 7/10ths of a pound less than the catch of the Carly A, but it helped his boat win the $365,500 Level VII Fabulous Fisherman prize.

Shenandoah was he first boat entered in Level VII to report and land a blue marlin that weighed at least 500 pounds. The Viking 62 crew did not qualify for Level VII prize money because they elected not to enter that part of the competition. Shenandoah will collect an additional $134,350 if it stays in third place the rest of the week.

With no billfish releases Tuesday, Accordingly, Box Office and Marlin Fever continue to hold the overall lead in the Level V release division. All three boats released a blue marlin Monday.

Anglers released nine blue marlins, six white marlins and one sailfish Monday, but none were reported hooked Tuesday. Second-day action at the weigh station was limited to a pair of 17-pound dolphin weigh-ins that gave Pelagic captain Mike Webb, Atlantic Beach, first and second place in that daily category.

Carnivore continues to hold the lead in the “Winner Take All” dolphin division with a 38.1-pounder. Box Office, captained by Joe Elphick, Cary, is the early leader in the Level VIII Outboard Division with one blue marlin release.

The 57th Big Rock continues Wednesday at 9 a.m. All boats in the competition are allowed to fish 4-of-6 days during the tournament. Most competitors have three days of fishing remaining.

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