Michael Jordan’s 80-foot Catch 23 made waves at the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament and in the national media on Tuesday, boating a 442.3-pound blue marlin that ended up being the ninth-biggest catch of the Morehead City fishing tournament.
But it was a boat less than half the size of Jordan’s — the second biggest of the 205 registered entries — that took home the big prize.
The 35-foot Pelagic Hunter II of Snead’s Ferry weighed in the week’s biggest catch, a 495.2-pound blue marlin, on Friday to win the 62nd annual tournament.
The top catch earned Pelagic Hunter II $206,688 in Level I winnings along with $16,575 for first place in the Outboard Division. The four-man Pelagic Hunter II is owned and captained by John Cruise III and included anglers Riley Adkins, Norman Bowen and Kyle Kirkpatrick.
Two-time Big Rock winner Sea Striker fell just two-tenths of a pound shy of a third win with its 495-pound marlin on Saturday’s final day but ended up with the biggest payday, winning more than $1.05 million. The 61-foot boat is owned by Adrian Holler.
No boats reached the 500-pound level to win the Fabulous Fisherman’s prize, so Lo Que Sea, which totaled 2,250 points for the week, earned $552,500 prize for having the highest score among Level 5 entries. Lo Que Sea took home just under $200,000 in other weekly winnings, giving the crew more than $750,000 in total prize money.
The nine-day tournament had a record purse of more than $3.35 million this year. The tournament also awards cash prizes for heaviest wahoo, tuna, dolphin, billfish, and the KWLA Tournament last Saturday handed out nearly $150,000 in prizes to the top female anglers of the day.