Billfish competitors have already started signing up for the upcoming 53rd Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament held this year on June 10-18th, 2011. These registrants take their first step toward winning part of a cash purse that’s exceeded $1 million dollars each of the past fourteen years. Quite a change from the original Big Rock purse of $250 silver dollars!

In 2010, 155 boats fished the waters off Morehead City, North Carolina and competed for a record purse of $1,658,450. Last year, angler John Parks aboard Carnivore based out of Emerald Isle, NC won with a 528.3 pound blue marlin brought to the scales on Wednesday of tournament week. Second place went to angler Joseph Engleby aboard Wet-N-Wild with their 460 blue marlin caught on Friday, June 18, 2010.

In addition to the blue marlin winners, a new dolphin winner-take-all prize was formed in 2010 that netted two-time winner “Sea Creature” a whopping $96,050 for their 52.4 pound dolphin by angler John Manousaridis.

Hundreds of the best tournament fishermen in the world will compete again this year in a six-day event complete with daily and weekly gamefish and release prizes. Big Rock is a modified release tournament targeting blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish. Gamefish levels include dolphin, tuna and wahoo.

“We are crazy busy at the office with the phone ringing off the hook”, commented Crystal Hesmer, tournament director. “We are all ready and excited for the upcoming event”, she continued.

In addition to the main tournament, the ladies tournament will be held on Saturday, June 11th. The Big Rock Keli Wagner Lady Angler Tournament (KWLA) is a one-day billfish release tournament weighing in gamefish only. Last year, a record 77 boats competed in the KWLA tournament event donating $25,495 to the local Raab Oncology Clinic for patient comfort and care. “The weather was so pretty last year which we feel really helped with the record number of entries, so we are hoping the same will be true this year,” commented KWLA tournament director, Kyra Moore. These competing billfish lady anglers kick off their tournament with a fun-filled cocktail party the night before featuring a best dressed contest and great sponsor supported shopping.

“Our goal is to offer participants the finest sportfishing tournament experience while helping support Big Rock’s many worthwhile charities”, explained Randy Ramsey, board of directors President. “We are working hard to achieve all that and more for the 53rd Annual event”, he continued.

The tournament’s lead sponsor, Tom Coble of Coble Trench Safety, will be offering a special treat this year as his privately owned L-39 Fighter Jet will perform a special air show on June 11th, 2011 during this year’s Captain’s Party.

Major Sponsor Coble Trench Safety tops the list of 52 industry leaders who support this world-class event including Linda Rike/Ed Daughety Real Estate, BMW, Jarrett Bay Boatworks, Overton’s, Walker’s Napa, Time Warner Cable/News 14, Wachovia, Bailey’s Fine Jewelry, Crown Royal, Seegars Fence Company, Liquid Video Productions, and Columbia/Belk. The Big Rock is a non-profit tournament and has donated over $2, 300,000 dollars to charity and worthy organizations.

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament registration and rules are available online at [1]. For more information contact: Crystal Hesmer, Tournament Director- 252-247-3575, by email [2] or by mail P.O. Box 1673, Morehead City, NC 28557.