Beating out the standing tournament record by almost 100 pounds, Capt. Ryan Knapp put Top Dog owner and angler Todd Dickerson on the most important fish in Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament history. Not only did the marlin decide to bite on the final day, it also took an estimated five and a half hours to land and was worth a cool $793,187 to the team.
Little did Dickerson know that at 10:03 a.m. Saturday he was hooked up to the fish that would win the tournament—a pleasure belonging to just a chosen few—to exceed the blue that was managing to hold on to the lead from Day One.
His 914-pound sea monster bumped Wolverine's 588.9-pound fish—the leader until almost dark on the final day—caught by angler Cory Zieger to second place, and also knocked Summertime Blues' (angler Ron Wallschlager) 831-pound blue marlin from the tournament-record spot, a position held since 2000.
One hundred eighty-four teams participated in the 61st annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament—all competing for a chunk of the record-breaking $2.86 million purse.
Just two hours after lines in on Day One, Post Call boated the first blue marlin of the tournament—a 451.4-pounder that ended up finishing 14th in the category—that began a trickle of some 15 large fish being brought to the scales over the next six days.
Capt. Pete Rae's 82-foot Viking, Sweetums, boated the tournament's first blue surpassing 500 pounds on Day One of competition, winning the Fabulous Fisherman's prize, and netting the team more than $500,000.
Annie O, a 60-foot Guthrie, placed first in the release division with four blue marlin, one white and one sailfish; the Day Two daily release winner—Ed Amos' Drillin' and Billin'—placed second in the category, releasing four blues; and Key Largo's John Floyd and Capt. Ryan Riggs of Full Pull won the release daily on Day One, putting them in third for overall billfish releases with three blues during the course of the tournament.
Job Site won the heaviest mahi with a 53.7-pounder; Uno Mas weighed the heaviest wahoo at 59.3 pounds; and Predator managed a 145.1-pound tuna to round out the gamefish categories, each species worth $5,000. Doc Fees released the 61st billfish of the 2019 tournament for a lucky $6,100.