Two blue marlin came to the scales on Thursday on the fourth day of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament out of Morehead City, and while third place changed hands twice, the $306,000 “Fabulous Fisherman’s” pot is still unclaimed.
The Chainlink, captained by Ralph Griffin of Morehead City, brought in a 412.7-pound marlin on Thursday to take over third place by two pounds. Angler Ben Seegars of Goldsboro reeled in the big catch, getting in position for a $345,405 payday.
But three hours later, the Ava D, captained by Jerry Jackson of Havelock, showed up with a 491.4-pound blue reeled in by Gray Hardison of Bayboro.
The Ava D easily took over third place, but it missed winning the Fabulous Fisherman’s prize of 8.6 pounds. The prize goes to the first boat entered in Level VII to catch and weigh a blue marlin that was a minimum of 500 pounds.
The two marlin that have occupied the top spots since Monday’s first day of fishing, a 754.3-pounder caught on the Inspiration and a 606.9-pounder caught on the Eye Catcher, remained in those spots. Neither boat, however, was entered in the Fabulous Fisherman’s division, so the money remains unclaimed.
Ninety six of the 120 boats in the competition fished Thursday, and 33 boats are now fished out, including Chainlink and Ava D. Only 18 boats can fish both of the remaining days, and 69 boats have one day of fishing left.
On Thursday, competitors caught and released five blue marlins and 11 white marlins as the bite let up a bit. For the tournament, five blue marlins have been brought to the scales and 116 billfish released.