Gamefish catches prove valuable at Big Rock

While Big Rock competitors don’t normally target gamefish (dolphin, tuna and wahoo) they know a bycatch of these species can sometimes mean a boatload of money.

Gamefish division prizes have grown bigger every year. This year, a record $361,250 winner-take-all (WTA) prize is up for grabs for any boat that happens to catch the largest dolphin.

Job Site captain Bill Farrior, Farmville, and junior angler Michael Cripe reeled in a 53.7-pound dolphin to take the first-day lead in the WTA dolphin category. Job Site locked up the Monday dolphin daily prize of $2,000, and maintained the overall dolphin lead through end of fishing Tuesday. Carterican, with a 32.4-pound dolphin, captured the Tuesday $2,000 daily dolphin prize.

Bill Collector captain Stephen Draughon, Morehead City, and his crew landed the first wahoo of the Big Rock Tuesday. Bill Collector junior angler Will Hanley reeled in the 56.5-pounder to win the $2,000 daily prize. 

For the second straight day, no tuna catches were brought to the scales.Competitors in the 61st Big Rock are allowed to fish four-of-six days and must notify officials of the days they do not intend to fish. Fishing hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., except Saturday when the fishing hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Any billfish fight that starts before the end-of-day deadline can continue until the hook-up reaches a resolution.