Linda Sandbo, Beaufort, caught and released her first blue marlin Saturday to lead the Fishing Partner to victory in the 11th annual Big Rock Lady Angler Tournament.
Sandbo was hooked up at 11:53 a.m. and scored her release at 12:22 p.m. The 29-minute fight put Fishing Partner in the lead for good with just 38 minutes left in the competition. The Fishing Partner crew will receive $6,906 from the $13,812 purse.
"I'd never done that before and I have a whole new respect for what the guys do out there during (the six-day) Big Rock," Sandbo said. "It's just awesome. My arms were shakening, my legs were shaking, but I knew I had to get that last crank in so they could grab the leader. It was harder than Hades ... but it was all worth it now."
Energizer finished second with a blue marlin release at 12:55 p.m. Both Fishing Partner and Energizer finished with 400 points, but the Fishing Partner crew captured the win because they reached 400 points first.
It’s the second straight year the Big Rock Lady Angler competition has been decided by this tiebreaking rule. In 2007, the crew of the O Lucky Me caught and released a blue marlin two minutes ahead of the crew on the Celebration.
In addition to the prize money paid out to the Fishing Partner, anglers winning the gamefish categories will divvy up a similar amount three ways. Dolphin and wahoo division winners each receive $2,302. A rollover of $1,947 from the 2007 tuna division makes that division worth $4,249 this year.
Lady anglers release all billfish hooked during their one-day competition and donate most of their tournament proceeds to charity. The $16,250 raised from this year’s competition will go to support the RAAB Oncology Clinic at Carteret General Hospital.