Big Rock Quickly Hooks You and Reels You Right In
The Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament is a huge lure to the Crystal Coast annually, for both sportfishers and spectators. Why? Well, big fish, big money and big adventure have a lot to do with this local fishing favorite. It's been called "The Superbowl" of sportfishing for a reason!
Here are a few of the reasons that Big Rock quickly hooks you and reels you right into the tournament action, whether you're a fisherman or not.
History in the Making
Did you know that until the mid-1950s, no one fished for billfish off the Crystal Coast of North Carolina? It's true. Why? They thought Blue Marlin were only found in the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico, not here in the Atlantic waters of the Eastern NC.
That all changed on Sept. 14, 1957, when Raleigh angler Jimmy Croy was fishing aboard the Mary Z with Capt. K.W. "Bill” Olsen. That day in history was made when he landed a 143-pound blue marlin. It was the first to be caught off the waters of the Crystal Coast. This catch would forever change the face of fishing along the North Carolina coast.
While no one knows exactly where Olsen and Croy made their historic catch, most think they had reached the Gulf Stream, a warm-water current that bisects colder coastal waters about 40-60 miles south of the Morehead City port. As the Gulf Stream drifts north along the North Carolina coastline, it crosses a structure on the continental shelf called "Big Rock”. Sound familiar?
Yes, that is exactly how the Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament got its name. Check out the full story of Big Rock's history and read how it all began.
Reel Big Fish
As you can imagine, the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament has reeled in some mighty big fish. The scales prove it. The average length of a Blue Marlin is 11 feet and the weight spans on average between 200-400 pounds. Females are significantly larger than males and reach up to 14 feet in length with weights reaching close to 2,000 pounds!
So what's the Big Rock tournament record-setting fish? It was an 831-pounder caught by Ron Wallschlager in the year 2000. Others have come close, but have not yet broken that record set 16 years ago. Maybe this will be the year? You can peruse Big Rock's previous tournament winners and see how they compare.
Blue Marlin are cobalt-blue on top and silvery-white below, with a pronounced dorsal fin and a long, lethal, spear-shaped upper jaw. They are so-called blue-water fish, spending most of their lives far out at sea. They are also highly migratory, and will follow warm ocean currents for hundreds and even thousands of miles.
Blue marlins prefer the higher temperature of surface waters, feeding on mackerel and tuna, but will also dive deep to eat squid. They are among the fastest fish in the ocean, and use their spears to slash through dense schools, returning to eat their stunned and wounded victims.
Known for putting up a tremendous fight when hooked, these rare marine monsters are the holy grail for sportfishers. You can read more about Blue Marlin here.
Hooked on the Anticipation
Anglers and spectators alike are easily hooked on the anticipation leading up to each year's event. Once the fishing tournament begins, the anticipation turns toward the weigh station at Big Rock Landing. What will be brought in? How much will it weigh? Will it be the winning catch? Could it be a record-breaker?
Trust us, if you've never attended the Big Rock Blue Marlin weigh-ins, you don't know what you're missing. It's an excitement like no other and is part of what lures big crowds to the scales each and every year of the tournament.
The Scales Tell All
The scales do tell all. What will they say this year? We can't wait to find out. The 58th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament begins this week, running from June 10 to June 18, 2016. We hope you'll join us for all of the adventure, excitement and fantastic fishing to be had.
Can't be here? Sorry to hear that. The good news is that you can follow all of the Big Rock Tournament action on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Oh, and there's an app for that too! You can download the Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament app right here.
Do you have plans to be in Downtown Morehead City for any or all of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament action?