Online Originals: What a day at the 63rd annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament looks like

Crystal Coast

MOREHEAD CITY (WNCT) — The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament is the annual event that fascinates people near and far and the old and young. 

“I’ve known about it for years. Our son used to come down every year, with envy watch the boats pull in with the big fish. And so we were down for a couple of days and we thought we gotta come see what was happening so here we are.“ said Cindy McEnery, who is visiting from Raleigh. 

For someone who doesn’t know, what is a day at Big Rock like? Executive Director Crystal Hesmer explains.  

“Everything is happening during the day. We start lines in the water at 9 o’clock in the morning,” said Hesmer.  “We have lots of options for listening, either on your computer or via your app on your phone so you can listen to the action all day long, the hookups and releases and whether someone’s boated a fish or not.” 

In the morning, anglers place their lines. While the crowd anxiously waits to hear whether they have boated a blue marlin or not, they can enjoy the many vendors and sponsors at the event. 

“We have a lot of sponsors. We have 63 sponsors that sponsored the tournament,” said Hesmer. “A lot of those sponsors have shirts and goods to sell, so we have all those set up around the weigh station.” 

Hesmer explains how the charitable contribution process works. 

“Well, we have a contribution process, charity committee, goes through each and every year is what we have to give away,” said Hesmer. “And then they sort of, based off of our five-point mission statement, see how the charities fit with our five-point mission statement and then decide who’s going to receive the funds that year.” 

There are also daily events to keep the family busy while they wait for updates. On Tuesday, they had a family tye-die station. Kylie Deavun, 12, visited from Tampa, Fla., and explained she’s most excited to see what happens next. 

“Probably just to see who wins, ya know. Just for the big fish stuff. I’m excited,” said Deavun. 

And when that fish comes in, the crowd always erupts into cheers. Tuesday’s blue marlin catch by boat Natural weighed in at 521.6 pounds putting them in the lead, as of now. 

The competition is still on going, and catches are never guaranteed. But one thing is for certain, rain or shine, Big Rock is an event that will continue to captivate the audience every year.  

“Just enjoying being out again after the pandemic and seeing all these people having to much fun. Enjoying something that we all like, fishing,” said McEnery. 

Big Rock will continue every day until Saturday. 9OYS will have continuing coverage of the event on-air and on our website.

You can see our dedicated blog with real-time updates here, as well as Big Rocks official website here.

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