A sport fisher based partly in Wrightsville Beach won a spot on the Big Rock Tournament Leaderboard last week when a member of the crewed reeled in a nearly 100 pound wahoo, to take the tournament’s prize in that category.
The Doc Fees, a 58 foot Jarrett Bay sport fisher that was recently refurbished in Swansboro, made its return to the water last week in Morehead City and caught what could be one of the biggest wahoos in tournament history, boat captain Jed Galloway said.
“We were very fortunate to catch that fish,” Galloway said.
Angler Chad McIntyre, from Raleigh, has fished with boat owner and fishing buddy Taylor Pleasant in the past, but never have they caught a wahoo the size of the 97.7 pounder he caught on Tuesday.
“I’ve gotten a couple of 70 pounders and an 80-pounder once,” said McIntyre, who won a $5,000 grand prize and $2,000 daily prize for the catch. “When it came over the side, and seemed to keep on coming, once we saw the head, we knew it was something special.”
Though listed from Wilmington, the hats Doc Fees crew wore during the tournament claimed Wrightsville Beach as home. Galloway, who’s lived in Wrightsville Beach for two decades, said the boat will often be in the area, though it will travel to some tournaments and fishing spots, including Hatteras next weekend.
Run-Off ran off with a record $1,161,450 prize Saturday as it scored a wire-to-wire victory at the 59th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. Run-Off weighed in a 533.8-pound blue marlin caught early Monday by angler Matt Hanley of Glen Allen, VA. Hanley’s catch stayed atop the standings the rest of the way.
Rehab won $250,720 for finishing second with a 506-pound blue marlin caught Friday by Ryan Howard of Savannah, S.C. Rehab captain Nathan Shepard, Statesboro, teamed Howard and the mates to boat their catch in 75 minutes.
Weldor’s Ark, captained by Mike Taylor, Swansboro, finished third in the blue marlin standings to win $166,480 for the 484.9-pounder landed Monday by angler John Roberts, Greenville. Weldor’s Arc was bumped out of second by Rehab but avoided any additional slide down the leaderboard when no bigger blue marlins were caught.
The 59th Big Rock had a field of 177 boats but most were fished out by the final day. Competitors are only allowed to fish 4-of-6 days in the competition. Just 53 boats were eligible to fish Saturday and choppy seas limited anglers to 11 releases: one blue marlin, seven white marlins and three sailfish.
Bull Frog’s blue marlin release — the one that the Run-Off celebrated with 10 minutes remaining in the competition — was worth $48,520 in the daily release division.
Anglers tallied 160 billfish releases during the tournament, including 78 blue marlins. Only six blue marlins were brought to the scales for a tournament release rate of 96 percent.
Sea Toy, captained by Bull Tolson, Manteo, won the release division with 2,525 points. Sea Toy anglers caught and released six blue marlins and one white marlin to win $139,187 in addition to the $48,520 Tuesday WTA release prize.
Uno Mas, captained by Tommy Lynsky, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, scored 1,575 points by releasing three blue marlins, one white marlin and two sailfish. Uno Mas won $80,962 for finishing second in the release division in addition to two daily prizes of $48,520 each.
Megabite, captained by Teak Bell, Wilmington, tallied the 59th billfish release of the 59th Big Rock and will receive $5,900.