Local anglers battle in Big Rock event
By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on June 19, 2007 1:47 PM
MOREHEAD CITY -- Local anglers from Goldsboro couldn't make the big catch during the 49th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament contested off Atlantic Beach during the weekend.
Greg Smith caught a 28.2-pound dolphin on Friday while fishing aboard the C-Mist, owned by Gordon Maxwell and captained by Johnny Day.
Anglers fishing on Chainlink, owned by Wes and Ben Seegars and captained by Ralph Griffin, caught and released a sailfish, a white marlin and a blue marlin. Grace Martin Franklin, fishing aboard Gracious, reeled in a 35.1-pound dolphin on the day's final competition. The boat is owned by Jeff Franklin and captained by Casey Wagner. The Gracious crew caught and released two dolphin on the second day of competition.
The big payday went to Bak Bar, captained by Tommy Lewis. The crew landed the tournament-winning 613-pound blue marlin -- worth $800,839 -- during competition on Friday, but didn't return to port until 11 p.m.
Lewis' son, Montukie, needed nearly six hours to land. The marlin got its tail wrapped and died near the bottom of the ocean four hours into the fight. For the next two hours, Montukie Lewis had to carefully reeled in the dead giant. He couldn't set the drag too tight in rough seas or reel too fast for fear of breaking the line.
"It was dead weight with a big fish at the very bottom ," the younger Lewis said. "It was rough out there. I had to give back as much (line) as I took. I didn't make much headway for a long time. I had to find a happy medium ... but I only got tired at the end."
Bak Bar's catch knocked Licketysplit from the top spot on the Big Rock leader board. Licketysplit, captained by Bobby Scarborough of Cape Hatteras, took the Big Rock lead Friday afternoon with a 567-pounder reeled in by Grimesland angler David Williams. But that lead didn't even last the night.
Licketysplit tried to return the favor Saturday afternoon with a hookup three minutes before the tournament ended. Unfortunately for Licketysplit, the fish threw the hook and got away.
Licketysplit competitors received $258,752 for placing second.
Maggie, captained by Randy Bryant, Morehead City, finished in third place with a 505-pound blue marlin landed Friday by Beaufort angler Butch Bryant. The Maggie crew received $171,835 for finishing third.
Catches by Bak Bar, Licketysplit and Maggie knocked Safari from the leader board Friday. Safari, captained by Mark Harris, Dania Beach, Fla., was the tournament's inaugural leader with a 473.5-pounder reeled in by angler Brett Goulding.
Safari was in line to win $1.2 million as fishing got underway Friday. A little more than 14 hours later, Safari was out of the money.
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