Almost three years after the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament disqualified the largest fish ever brought to its scales, a suit brought by the boat that caught that huge fish has been settled out of court.
In 2010, the Citation, a private boat out of Hatteras, owned by Michael Topp and captained by Eric Holmes, caught and weighed in an 883-pound blue marlin. The fish was later disqualified when it was discovered that a mate on Citation, Peter Wann, did not have a valid North Carolina fishing license as required by state law and tournament regulations.
The disqualification cost Citation the first-prize money of $915,825. A 528-pound fish caught by Ed Petrelli's Carnivore was elevated from second to first place, and a 460-pound blue caught by Capt. Tony Ross's Wet-N-Wild, moved from third to second – both with corresponding increases in their winnings.
The Citation owners filed suit against the tournament in Carteret County Superior Court in 2011, and asked the court to hold up prize monies awarded to Carnivore and Wet-N-Wild. The court ruled in favor of the tournament, and after the decision was appealed, the N.C. Appellate Court ruled 2-1 to support the earlier court ruling. But because of the one dissenting vote, the case was sent back to Carteret County Superior Court to be heard in front of a different judge.
Shortly before a court date was to be proposed, the tournament announced on Memorial Day that the case had been settled out of court. No details of the settlement, including the final distribution of prize money, have been released.
The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament released the following statement: "Shortly before a trial date was to be proposed, there was an announcement on Memorial Day that the case had been settled out-of-court. No details of the settlement, including the final distribution of the prize money, have been released. The following statement was released by the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament."The parties involved in the Big Rock lawsuit have reached a mutually satisfactory resolution of all matters in dispute between them. Had the 883-pound fish caught by the vessel Citation not been disqualified, it would have been the largest fish weighed in the history of the Big Rock tournament. The parties are pleased that they were able to resolve their differences honorably and amicably. By agreement, the parties will have no further comment on the matter."