Three Blues Weighed on Day Two of Big Rock
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.