The 41st annual Cape Fear Blue Marlin Tournament was packed with excitement as fishermen witnessed history at Wrightsville Beach.
Thursday, May 29, the J&B boat crew led by Captain Alan Murray boated the largest blue marlin in more than 12 years at Wrightsville Beach when the team caught and killed a 447-pound fish. Tournament officials expected to award J&B as the winners despite two additional days of tournament fishing to follow.
Around 2 p.m. Saturday, May 31, word started reaching Wrightsville Beach that yet another team boated a blue marlin. Hooked by the Coverage boat team, its anglers knew the fish needed to exceed 572 pounds to win the event. Both boats are registered in Morehead City.
“We didn’t know exactly what we had when we first hooked it,” said Hunter Blount, captain of Coverage. “But as soon as we got the fish close enough to the boat and realized it was a fish we could kill, things got real serious.”
More than 50 people gathered around the Atlantic Marina and awaited the final weigh-in Saturday evening.
The fish weighed in at 821 pounds, clinching Coverage’s victory. Tournament organizers said this is the largest fish ever killed and brought to a Wrightsville Beach dock.
“It’s the biggest fish I’ve ever caught,” said Jim Holmes, the angler who was credited with the catch. “It was just a very special moment for us, and a lot of fun.”
It took Holmes and the rest of the crew more than one hour to reel in the fish.
Despite the tournament lasting four days, each boat could only hit the sea and fish for two days during the weekend. The Coverage team admitted they probably would have elected to fish on Friday instead of Saturday, if it were not for some mechanical issues on the boat.
“The weather was definitely more favorable yesterday,” Captain Blount said. “A little bit of luck never hurt.”
This is Blount’s third year fishing in this tournament. The Coverage team finished in second place three years ago. This was the team’s first Cape Fear Blue Marlin Tournament victory.
This tournament is one out of eight fishing competitions that are all part of the North Carolina Governor’s Cup. This is the 26th year the Cape Fear tournament is associated with the governor’s cup. The next tournament in the series is the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in Morehead City from June 6-14.