Citation Owner Says It's Not Over Yet

By: Bill DiNicola
By: Bill DiNicola

The Big Rock Blue Marlin board Tuesday afternoon unanimously decided to disqualify Citation for having a crew member aboard who did not have a fishing license.

The board voted to give this year's top prize instead to Carnivore. That crew now receives the $999,453 first prize money for catching a 528-pound marlin.

Wet & Wild, which previously came in third, is now handed the second prize of $275,322.

Big Rock says the rule violation did not involve "dishonesty or cheating” on the part of the owners or angler of the Citation.

The Division of Marine Fisheries says it cited Peter Wann Sunday for not having a coastal recreation fishing license at the time the boat caught the fish. Spokeswoman Nancy Fish says their records show the 22-year-old did purchase a fishing license Monday, June 14, 2010, after the boat docked in Morehead City. Citation brought in a record setting 883-pound blue marlin on June 14th, the first day of the tournament.

WITN spoke with Mike Topp, the principal owner of the Citation, on Wednesday.

Topp couldn't say much, but he did tell WITN they are continuing to pursue recourse within the rules of the tournament and there is more to follow.

When asked how he was dealing with the situation, Topp said "like a cat on a rope."


Big Rock Press Release

After interviewing members of the crew of the fishing vessel “Citation”, review of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament rules, consulting the division of Marine Fisheries as well as the North Carolina Attorney General’s office, it is apparent that there has been a substantial violation of Tournament rules. The Board of Directors has unanimously determined that they have no choice but to disqualify the 883 pound blue marlin caught on June 14, 2010. The rule violation did not involve “dishonesty” or “cheating” on the part of the owners or angler of the “Citation”.

The rule violation involves the “mate” not having a Coastal Recreational Fishing License. This license is required by North Carolina law. It is required by the Tournament as written in our rules. Participants and crew were reminded of the license requirement at the Captains meeting prior to the Tournament. The mate engaged in fishing activities without a valid license and later obtained a license at 5:51 pm while heading to the weigh station. The fish was boated at 3:16 pm.

This is an unfortunate situation for the crew of “Citation” as well as the Tournament itself. For the integrity of the Tournament, Big Rock has no choice but to enforce the rules and disqualify the fish.

Because of this disqualification, The Big Rock Board of Directors declare Carnivore in 1st Place with their 528.3 pound blue marlin and in 2nd Place Wet-N-Wild with their 460 pound blue marlin.

-Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament Board of Directors


Previous Story

A mate who could possibly cost the winning Big Rock Blue Marlin crew $900,000 has been cited for not having a fishing license.

The board of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament said it's continuing to investigate the situation involving the boat Citation, which brought in a record-setting 883-pound marlin on June 14.

The Division of Marine Fisheries says it cited Peter Wann Sunday for not having a coastal recreation fishing license at the time the boat caught the fish. Spokeswoman Nancy Fish says their records show the 22-year-old did purchase a fishing license Monday, June 14, 2010, after the boat docked in Morehead City. Citation brought in a record setting 883-pound blue marlin on June 14th, the first day of the tournament.

The Big Rock board says it's contacted the Division of Marine Fisheries and the state Attorney General's Office. Tournament rules, as well as state law says all crew members must have a fishing license.

The fine for fishing without an license is $35, plus approximately $120 in court costs. As of Tuesday afternoon, Wann had not yet paid his ticket and has an August 30th court date.

If Citation is stripped of first place, the winning crew would be Carnivore, which brought in a 528-pound marlin.


Previous Story

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament officials gave a statement to the media Monday afternoon about the investigation into the first place catch of the "Citation" and whether or not the win still stands.

Meeting with the media in Morehead City, Big Rock organizers say they are consulting with Fish and Wildlife authorities, as well as the North Carolina Attorney General's office.

Big Rock officials say their investigation is an effort to maintain the integrity of the tournament for the participants, fans and sponsors.

They took no questions from the media.

Organizers are looking into an alleged violation that one of the crew members on the "Citation" did not have a fishing permit, which costs $15.

Michael Topp, the principal owner of the boat, told WITN the crew member told the captain of the boat that he did have a permit. Officials say it was determined after a polygraph test and interviews this weekend that the mate did not have a permit.

If the boat's win is taken away, the "Citation" would forfeit its winnings of more than $912,000.

The boat brought in an 833-pound blue marlin.

The second place winner issued a statement Monday.

"With great respect to the Big Rock Board Of Directors and all competitors, including first place boat Citation; until a final decision has been made by the Big Rock Board of Directors regarding the situation surrounding the final results of the 2010 Big Rock Tournament, 2nd Place boat Carnivore and its crew feel it is only right that we not discuss or comment on the situation to news media outlets or others. Your cooperation, is greatly appreciated.

--Captain Ed Petrilli, Carnivore"

The "Carnivore" brought in a marlin weighing nearly 529 pounds.


Big Rock Press Release

The Big Rock Board of Directors is still in the process of investigating the alleged rule violation by the fishing vessel "Citation" with regards to the 883 pound Marlin weighed in on June 14, 2010. The violation centers on whether the Mate on the "Citation" had been timely issued a Coastal Recreational Fishing License required by our Tournament as well as the State of North Carolina. We have been in contact with the Division of Marine Fisheries as well as the NC Attorney General's Office.

We are exercising due diligence in this investigation, so to protect our participants, sponsors and charities.

-Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament Board of Directors



Previous Story

Michael Topp, the principal owner of the boat Citation says his crew "did not cheat."

The Big Rock Tournament board of directors has withheld presentation of blue marlin prize money until an alleged rules violation by the top team, Citation, has been totally researched and a decision made regarding this alleged violation.

The Big Rock Tournament board has not said if Citation would forfeit its winnings of more than $912,000.

Topp says one of the members of the crew did not have a fishing permit, but says he was repeatedly asked by the Captain, Eric Holmes for a paper copy. Topp says that at a polygraph Saturday night Holmes was asked if he or his crew had done anything that could be considered a rules violation. Holmes later said there was no paper copy of one of the crews permits. Topp says the mate in question was brought in and interviewed repeatedly, it was then determined that he did, in fact, not have a fishing permit.

Topp says Holmes asked the crewman about the permit, and he said he had one. Topp, who was at the helm of Citation when it hooked the 883 pound Blue Marlin, says the mates duties consited of baiting baits, putting lines out, and helped hand line the catches up.

Previous Story

The Big Rock Tournament board of directors has withheld presentation of blue marlin prize money until an alleged rules violation by the top team, Citation, has been totally researched and a decision made regarding this alleged violation.

Citation appeared to score a wire-to-wire victory in the 52nd annual Big Rock. Bringing an 883-pound blue marlin to the Big Rock Landing weigh station Monday. The fish caught by rookie angler Andy Thomasson remained in first place throughout the six days of competition.

Citation, a boat captained by Eric Holmes of Buxton, received a $318,750 check for catching the first blue marlin weighing more than 500 pounds and qualified for an additional $594,075 Saturday when no other boat brought a bigger catch to the scales. Citation’s total winnings will be $912,825 from the Big Rock’s $1.66 million purse.

Second place in the blue marlin division was captured by Carnivore, which landed a 528.3-pounder Wednesday. The Carnivore, captained by Ed Petrilli of Cape Carteret, will receive $217,570 for finishing in the runner-up spot. The Carnivore’s big catch was reeled in by John Parks of Jacksonville.

Wet-N-Wild, a boat captained by Tony Ross of Beaufort, finishes in third place in the blue marlin division with the 460-pounder that was reeled in by Joseph Engleby of Nazareth, Pa. Ross and his crew will receive $144,380.


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