06/18/06 — Seegars wins Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament

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Seegars wins Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on June 18, 2006 2:05 AM

From staff reports

MOREHEAD CITY -- A Goldsboro sportsman won the championship of the 48th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin fishing tournament in dramatic fashion Saturday.

Wes Seegars and his son, Ben, fishing from the Chain Link, captained by Ralph Griffin of Morehead City, brought home a 501.5-pound marlin Saturday to take the top prize, according to reports posted on the tournament's Web site Saturday evening.

Seegars battled the big fish for nearly seven hours, according to the report, about 100 minutes past the deadline. Tournament rules permit an angler to continue fishing past the deadline if he has a marlin on the line.

The win gave the Chain Link the $768,537 top prize in the tournament's record purse of $1.6 million.

"We saw it in the bait, but we never saw it after it sounded (dove deep) so I just had to keep working ... I worked all day," Seegars told reporters dockside. "I'll tell you this, I'm going to sleep real good tonight ... or maybe not at all."

It was the second victory in the tournament for the Chain Link, named in honor of Seegars' family business, Seegars Fence Co. The boat, then named the Salty Fare, also won the tournament in 1994.

Seegars is one of Wayne County's best-known sportsmen, serving as vice chairman of the state Wildlife Commission .

The Chain Link edged out competitor Chuck Walker of Wilmington, fishing from the Skirt Chaser, which was captained by Barry Daniels. They hauled in a 486.5-pound blue marlin Friday.

The Skirt Chaser crew won $283,147 of the purse.

Third place went to the Can Do Too and fisherman Victor Gold of Wyckoff, N.J., who led the tournament for four days before falling behind the Skirt Chase on Friday. The Can Do Too, captained by Jim Foy, took home third place and $183,565.

More than 180 boats competed in the week-long tournament, with fishermen hailing from 12 states trying their luck.

The Chain Link's catch bumped the Razorback Express and angler Tony Deibert of LaGrange, who had been in the runner-up position until Friday with a 432.5-pound blue marlin, out of the money. The Razorback Express, captained by Scott Wiggins of LaGrange, had held the runner-up spot in the tournament from Monday until Friday.

Winners received their prizes Saturday evening at the Big Rock awards ceremony. Tournament officials also were to distribute more than $100,000 to various charities at the wrap-up event.