An afternoon hookup added drama to the start of the 55th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament as angler Trey Siner of Concord, reeled in a 423.8-pounder to give the Sensation the early lead

Siner battled the fish for nearly two hours after it was hooked before 3 p.m., when fishing ends. Capt. Dale Britt, who serves on the Big Rock Board of Directors, was initially worried the catch might not make weight, but those concerns were gone with the wind when his team jumped to the top spot on the leader board.


"We measured it in the water and the measurement in the water did not compare to the measurement on the boat … so I was concerned," Britt said. "The fish came up tail wrapped. We fought it for a long time and, unfortunately, the fish died. We hoped it would make the weight because it did not make the length. Thank the good Lord it did."


"To catch a blue marlin like this … in the Big Rock … that's a bucket list thing, right there," Siner said. "It's early in the week, and a lot can happen. But right now I feel real good. It's a great feeling."


Sensation is entered in all levels and is currently in line to win $494,710 from the $1,154,625 purse. All but two of the 100 boats in the field went offshore Monday, a day that has been big in recent Big Rock history.


Compromise, captained by Larry Branham of Johns Island, S.C., had the first blue marlin release of the day, to win $2,000. Compromise also holds the early overall release lead with one blue marlin release.


Marlin fishing takes center stage at the Big Rock, but there is plenty of money up for grabs in the gamefish categories.


The Goin Deep, captained by Kenny Sexton of Manteo, took the lead in the dolphin division with a 48.8-pounder landed by Andy Eaton of Virginia Beach. Sea Hag, captained by Allan Willis of Morehead City, weighed in a 45.2-pounder reeled in by Luke Ledford of Jamestown to take the runner-up spot.


Water's Edge, captained by Robert Hollingsworth of Mt. Pleasant, S.C. grabbed the lead of the waho division with a 56.8-pounder reeled in by Charles Whitman of Charleston, S.C. Let It Ride, captained by Tommy McConlouge of Monmouth Beach, N.J., weighed in a 44.1-pound wahoo to grab the runner-up spot in that category.


The Irish Ayes, captained by Brent Johnston of Wilmington, grabbed both places in the tuna category with a 59.5-pounder reeled in by Don Bartenfelder of Manchester, Md, and a 50.9-pounder landed by Tom Slezak of Middleriver, Md.