MOREHEAD CITY – The 61st Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament started off with a bang last week, with the leader board filling up with 500-pounders on the first day of fishing off of the Crystal Coast. The real fireworks, though, came on the very last day of the world-famous bill fishing tournament with a $2.4 million total purse, as a boat named Top Dog lived up to his name on Sunday evening with a 914 lbs blue marlin!
Owned by Todd Dickerson of Ocean City, Md., and captained by Ryan Knapp, the Top Dog hooked up with an absolute monster of a blue marlin on the very last day of fishing. Arriving at the weigh station on the waterfront of Morehead City as the sun set, and while the originally scheduled tournament awards ceremony was put on pause, watch as tournament dock hands struggle to raise the biggest blue marlin in Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament history.
With a grand prize of $793,187 for the first place fish, that works out to about $868 per pound for the owners and crew of the Top Dog. More importantly, they now join the hallowed halls of Big Rock champions, and bragging rights for life.
The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, since it’s informal beginning in 1957 spurred by rumored sightings of a fish species no one thought existed in NC waters, has grown into the Superbowl of bill fishing tournaments with a storied history. Captains and anglers come from around the world with the hopes of bringing a winning fish to the scales.
Now, the Top Dog has realized the fisherman’s dream, making its own history in the process, and plotting out a fishing tale these fishermen will be telling their grandchildren.