It was a long four-day wait for the Honey Hush team. Boating their blue marlin on the second day of the tournament, the team had to wait out 10 other blues at the scales. It literally came down to the wire when Capt. Carl Beale brought the Fender Bender blue marlin in. Weighing in at 514.3 pounds, angler Col. T.J. “Bucket” Dunne’s fish became second-place by a scant 4.2 pounds. Now, Honey Hush could breathe. The tournament was over, and they would be declared the winners of the heaviest blue marlin category – to the tune of $753,875.
Team Carterican weighed the third heaviest blue marlin of the tournament, at 500.9 pounds, and the team netted a little over $174,000 in prize money, with an additional $500,000 for the Fabulous Fisherman’s prize – the first blue marlin weighed over 500 pounds – with a $5,000 investment at the outset.
In the release division, the 59-foot Spencer Yacht, Wall Hanger, led by Capt. Gary Blount, finished in first with a total of 1,325 points for releasing a total of three blue marlin and one white marlin in their four days of fishing. Beaufort-based Shifting Gears, a 57-foot Sunny Briggs, placed second with 1,200 points as Capt. Alan Scibal jockeyed three blue marlin to the leader. The third-place team – Morehead City’s own 61-foot Spencer, Shenandoah – hung onto a second-place lead until day five when Shifting Gears bumped Capt. Alan Willis’ team into third with a blue marlin release right before lunch.
Day Four was all about the meat fish. Sarcastic weighed in a hefty 74.4-pound wahoo for first place in that that division, Goombay brought in the winning mahi at an astonishing 71.1 pounds, and the largest tuna weighed in at 19.9 pounds for the team on Reel Country. Each first-place fish paid out $5,000 – plus another $2,000 in daily money – for the heaviest of each category.
The 60th Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament hosted 183 boats, awarded over $2.5 million dollars in prize money, and continues to raise awareness and monetary support for many charities and community projects.