Honey Hush holds on for Big Rock win

The 518.5-pound blue marlin caught on the tournament’s second day withstood a last-second scare to win the 60th anniversary event

The crew of the Honey Hush landed the first 500-pound fish of the 2018 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, but missed out on the Winner-Take-All bonus worth more than half a million dollars because the boat wasn’t entered in the Level V category.

But Captain Chuck Lindner, angler Robert Gorrell and the rest of the Honey Hush team out of Hatteras got a $753,875 consolation prize four days later when the 518.5-pound blue marlin they hauled in Tuesday ended up being the biggest of the tournament.

The Honey Hush caught the second, and ultimately the biggest, blue marlin of the tournament, but the 60th anniversary of the event wasn’t without its drama.

On Saturday, the tournament’s final day, seven blue marlins made their way to the docks — including a last-minute lunker boated by the the Virginia-based Fender Bender that threatened a win for Lindner and Honey Hush owner Robert Warren — in his 42nd year at the Big Rock.

In the end, Fender Bender’s haul fell just short, weighing in at 514.3 pounds — just 3.2 pounds less than the winning fish.

“It hasn’t really set in yet,” Warren told Carteret County News-Times. “I’ve fished this tournament since 1977, been waiting for this a long time. I kind of equate it to Dale Earnhardt finally winning the Daytona 500 or Curtis Strange finally winning the U.S. Open.”

The crew of the Carterican were the beneficiaries of being the first Level V registered boat to land a 500-pound blue marlin, barely breaking the threshold with a 500.9-pound fish that was worth $501,500.

In all, more than $2.5 million in prize money was handed out during the six-day tournament out of Morehead City.