There’s nothing like a little home cookin’ for one Morehead City-based boat at the Big Rock.Following the first day of competition in the 59th Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, Run-Off literally ran off with the lead with one of the earliest weigh-ins of the competition. In a year where the purse has reached record heights, the massive marlin could net the Run-Off crew a more than $1 million pay day.Run-Off captain Brian Harrington and first mate Marty Hiatt worked with Matt Hanley during the reported 92-minute fight. While the trio had never fished together aboard the Run-Off, Hanley noted it was extra special to haul in his first blue marlin with the crew.”I’ve fished different places in the world and Marty and the other mates cleared the other lines just like that,” Hanley said. “Everything went perfect. It was extra special because my son was on board. To have him be there to see my first blue marlin … and to have it be something really special. It’s been a great day.”After entering the Level V Fabulous Fisherman’s competition, the Run-Off crew already nabbed a $467,250 prize for weighing in the first fish at more than 500 pounds. If the 533.8-pounder holds as the largest blue marlin in the competition, the catch could be worth a total of $1,161,450.Last year, the crew on the Ashley Lauren pocketed $662,925 for a 621.4-pound blue marlin reeled in by Doug Phillips. However, the largest total sum went to Marlin Gull, which won the Fabulous Fisherman’s competition and finished second overall to rake in $671,900 in prize money.The suspense wasn’t over after the Run-Off’s huge haul, though. White Caps from Wilson weighed in a blue marlin at 417.7 pounds later in the afternoon, topped only by Run-Off and Weldor’s Ark, out of Swansboro, which hauled in a 484.9-pounder. There were also 35 blue marlin releases.With teams only allowed to fish four of the six days through Saturday, the Run-Off will have three more days to top their own mark. But with a record purse on the line, don’t expect any crew to sit idly by in the crown jewel of the Governor’s Cup Billfish Tournament.
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