Big Rock: On The Docks

The sights and sounds from one of the most famous blue marlin tournaments in the world

Three Blues Weighed on Day Two of Big Rock

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
Headquarters for the Big Rock TournamentDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
A bluebird day at the weigh scale on Day Two of the 58th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin TournamentDave Ferrell

The second day of the 58th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in Morehead City, North Carolina, saw some big moves on the leader board with three blue marlin coming to the scales that eventually took over first and third place in the blue marlin category. Ashley Lauren – winner of the 19th annual Keli Wagner Lady Angler blue marlin tournament last Saturday – stayed in the action during the big event and weighed a 621.4-pound blue to take the lead on Day Two.

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
News of a big fish coming the scales always draws a crowd.Dave Ferrell

Morehead City captain Chris Russell and angler C.J. Struyk boated a 558.8-pound blue in just 26 minutes aboard Piracy to take over third place. Struyk, an East Carolina University football center accustomed to shoving around defensive linemen, seemed to have no trouble catching the big blue that's currently worth $158,320.

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
The crowd goes wild when a big blue comes out of the boat.Dave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
Everybody wants to get a close look.Dave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
Piracy takes over third-place.Dave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
An ecstatic team aboard Piracy now starts sweating — there are still two days left of fishing for most teams.Dave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
Local boys get some media coverage.Dave Ferrell

The first blue marlin brought to the scales Tuesday met the minimum weight, but couldn't stay on the board once Piracy brought their fish to the scales. A father-and-son team from Camden, South Carolina, aboard Fowl Hooked — Capt. Ron Prestage and angler Zach Prestage — fought their 525.8-pound blue marlin for 52 minutes.

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
Team Waste Knot added a nice dolphin to their tournament total.Dave Ferrell

Marlin Gull, captained by Kenny Midgett of Wanchese, North Carolina, held onto second place with the 564.8-pound blue they caught on Day One that won the $433,500 Fabulous Fisherman prize for the first 500-pound blue marlin of the event. Marlin Gull angler William McSpadden, reeled in a 564.8-pound blue marlin three hours after lines went into the water on the tournament's opening day.

The 174-boat fleet also caught and released 9 blues, 9 whites and 9 sails on Day Two.

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
Big Rock Tournament Director Crystal Hesmer being interviewed by local press.Dave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
Randy Ramsey of Jarrett Bay fame pulls radio duty.Dave Ferrell

Thunder Rolls on Day Three of Big Rock

The weather plays a big factor in every fishing tournament and while this year’s participants in the 58th Annual Big Rock Tournament enjoyed two days of bluebird skies, the third day brought massive thunderstorms into the area. By 6 a.m., the time most boats start heading out, lightning cracked every few seconds and the rain began to fall hard. Teams get to choose four out of a possible six days to fish in the tournament. Forecasts are calling for heavy winds at the end of the week, so most boats have chosen to fish the first three days, lay one and then finish on Friday.

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell

I was fortunate enough to fish on the beautiful 77-foot Jarrett Bay, Mama Who, owned by Lainey Jones. She and her crew took exceptional care of me and the big Jarrett Bay proved to a comfortable ride, even in the nasty conditions we encountered offshore.

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell

Unfortunately, fishing didn’t pick up with the bad weather and most teams didn’t see much. Out of the 160 or so boats that chose to fish on Day Three, the fleet only released five blues and five whites, while one boat brought a blue to the scales that wasn't big enough to change the top three on the leaderboard.

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell

After going through a punishing thunderstorm at lines out, by the time we arrived back at the dock the skies had cleared and everyone started making preparations to attend the traditional pork chop dinner served at the civic center. Smithfield Farms handpicks over 500 giant pork chops and cooks them up with all the fixin’s for the crowd.

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day Three
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell

Ashley Lauren still maintains the overall lead with their 621.4-pound blue caught on Day Two. The fish is worth $662,995 to the Clayton-based fishing team if it can hold the tournament lead for three more days.

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
2016 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament: Day ThreeDave Ferrell