A blue marlin caught the first morning of competition hung on through five days of competition, and the crew of the boat that caught it walked away with the first-prize money in the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament on Saturday in Morehead City.

Flybuoy's 499.3-pound marlin, caught last Monday, wound up as the biggest billfish brought to the scales and took home $494,710 – but it was just a whisker away from a bonus of almost $250,000, had it weighed 500 pounds.


The winning boat is owned by Gary Davis and captained by Robert Hollingsworth of Charleston, S.C. Angler Todd Baxley was on the rod for the winning fish.


Capt. Casey Wagner of Morehead City and angler Terry Clark of Beaufort took second aboard Inspiration with a 437.7-pound blue marlin that was good for 212,640.


Capt. Rom Whitaker of the Hatteras-based Release won, fittingly, the release category, catching and releasing two blue marlin on the final day to win his second-consecutive title in that category. Release had 1,700 points for six white marlin releases and three blue marlin releases. Release also won two daily release awards, and Whitaker took home a check for $59,427.


Capt. Thomas Wood's Dancin' Outlaw of Morehead City was second in the release category with 1,200 points for three blue marlin releases, worth $34,564. Capt. Freddie Brittington's Double 07 also finished with 1,200 points for three blue marlin releases but finished third and won $28,500.


Can Doo II, captained by Sid Gold of Stewart, Fla., won the dolphin division with a 41.3-pound fish worth $4,675.


John Elmo of Cary caught the tournament's biggest wahoo aboard Impulse, a 53.1-pound fish worth $5,743. The biggest tuna, a 56.8-pound yellowfin landed aboard Sensation by Walt Hooks of Wilson, was worth $34,000.