Big Rock tournament off to fast start; Jordan’s boat lands 442-pound marlin

This year's tournament has a record $3.35 million purse

The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, a nine-day fishing tournament highlighted by the Monday through Saturday quest to catch the biggest blue marlin off the Crystal Coast, is underway for the 62nd straight year. According to the tournament’s website, 204 boats registered to participate in this year’s event, and one is already making national news.

Basketball legend Michael Jordan’s boat, Catch 23, weighed in its catch just after 2 p.m. Tuesday, coming in at 442.3 pounds, good for sixth place as of Wednesday morning. Jordan said it was his first time competing in the Big Rock Tournament.

This year’s record purse of more than $3.35 million includes the $552,500 Fabulous Fisherman’s prize for the first Level V entrant that hauls in a 500-pound blue marlin.

Four boats on the first day weighed in at the docks, and Predator’s 494.2-pound catch, while falling just short of the Fabulous Fisherman prize, remains in the lead for the biggest payday. More than 50 blue marlins have already been caught and released during the past two days.

The tournament also awards cash prizes for heaviest wahoo, tuna, dolphin, billfish, and the KWLA Tournament on Saturday handed out nearly $150,000 in prizes to the top female anglers of the day.