Capt. Ed Petrilli of Cape Carteret put his team in position to win $217,570 when angler John Parks of Jacksonville reeled in a blue marlin that was originally thought to be too small.
"We weren't sure how big it was," said Petrilli. "Then it jumped about 10 times and we got a good look at it. Then we knew it was big enough. It was a fat fish."
Unfortunately for Petrilli, it wasn't quite as big as the blue marlin caught Monday.
Capt.Eric Holmes of Buxton brought an 883-pound blue marlin to the scales Monday which set an all-time Big Rock record. It also gave Citation, a Hatteras-based charterboat, a solid claim for the first place prize of $912,825 from a purse that tops $1.66 million. The Citation's monster-sized blue marlin topped the 831-pounder caught during the 42nd annual Big Rock by Ron Wallschlager aboard Summertime Blues. It instantly earned the Citation crew a $318,750 prize for landing the first blue marlin to weigh more than 500 pounds.
Even though the Carnivore's catch didn't bite into Citation's lead it is still an impressive blue marlin. Petrilli and his crew would have won two of the past four Big Rocks with this year's catch and the fight was something the Carnivore team will remember for a lifetime.
"I've caught a lot of billfish before, but this was my first blue marlin," said Parks, who battled his fish for 55 minutes. "It crashed the bait and then 'greyhounded' out in front of the boat. We spun around and she sounded. From there it took about 30 minutes to pull it back up where we could get it."
Warmer-than-normal temperatures and negligible winds made for an unusual day offshore. Only 69-of-156 boats in the field elected to fish and many expect a similar low number Thursday as the 52nd Big Rock starts its second half.