754-lb blue marlin leads Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament

CorrespondentJune 12, 2014 

The fish are biting just about as fast as tweets and posts are showing up on social media. The first four days of the 56th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament off Morehead City were busy ones.

The fishing “has been phenomenal,” tournament director Crystal Hesmer said Thursday night after the fourth of six days of fishing.

The 120 boats – competing for a purse of nearly $1.4 million – have released 39 blue marlin, 74 white marlin and three sailfish for 116 total releases.

“Last year, we had 122 all week, and last year we had great numbers,” Hesmer said.

Five blue marlin have qualified; a sixth was undersized. Inspiration, out of Morehead City, with captain Casey Wagner and angler Bruce Brown, still holds the lead taken Monday with a 754.3-pound blue marlin. Eye Catcher, out of Wrightsville Beach with captain Burrows Smith and angler Randy Kelly, stood second with a 606.9-pound blue marlin, also caught Monday.

Ava D out of Hatteras moved into third Thursday with a 491.4-pound blue marlin. That bumped Thursday's other blue, a 412.7-pounder by Chainlink, to fourth. Third Monday but fifth Thursday was Carnivore, out of Morehead City, with a 410.7-pounder.

The leader board includes a 77.8-pound wahoo brought in Wednesday by Chris Clark’s Purple Pirate. The 33-foot boat out of Morehead City is one of 24 entries under 50 feet in length, attracted by a revision of the tournament structure that now provides 60 ways for smaller boats to win money, Hesmer said.

Two days of fishing remain. Follow the action on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, www.thebigrock.com or the tournament app.

Boggess: boggess.teri@gmail.com Twitter: @BoggessT

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