One little mistake cost one boat big money in the Big Rock.
What would have been the winning blue marlin, worth more than $1.2 million in last week's fishing tournament, was disqualified Tuesday when Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament officials determined a member of the boat's crew did not have a North Carolina coastal recreational fishing license when the record-setting 883-pound sailfish was caught.
Peter Martin Wann, 22, of Alexandria, Va., was cited on Sunday, six days after the fish was caught, by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries for fishing without a license after he was reported by tournament officials.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Big Rock officials said the crewman, identified by a Marine Fisheries spokeswoman as Wann, purchased a license - which for a non-North Carolina resident costs $30 annually or $10 for 10 days - on his way to the weigh-in station in Morehead City at 5:51 p.m. on June 14, more than two hours after the marlin was brought on board the Citation by angler Andy Thomasson.
When no bigger blue marlin was caught during the final five days of the tournament, Citation seemed to be the winner of $912,825 in first-place money as well as a $318,750 bonus for the first 500-pound marlin caught.
However, the prize money was withheld as Big Rock officials investigated the licensing issue, which was reportedly uncovered during a polygraph examination of the Citation's captain.
The Big Rock board of directors spent three days deliberating before disqualifying the Citation at 5:33 p.m. Tuesday and designating a 528-pound blue marlin caught June 16 by John Parks aboard Carnivore the $999,453 winner.