Marlin Weighing In On Third Day of Blue Rock

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A marlin weighed in at 553.5 pounds just after noon Wednesday at the 50th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. The blue marlin was roughly 124 inches, or 10 feet, long.

The boat, owned by Spencer Yachts of Puerto Rico, is the Lady Lou V. The angler is Jose Valdes, and the captain is Paul Spencer.

The crew of the Artemis out of South Carolina retains the lead with a 640-pound marlin.

More weigh-ins are expected Wednesday. We'll have updates here on and live reports from Morehead City starting at 5:00 p.m. on WITN-TV.

Tuesday's update:

The crew of Artemis out of Charleston, South Carolina pulled into Big Rock Landing just before 11pm on Monday and took the lead at the 50th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. Artemis reeled in a marlin weighing 640 pounds. That's bigger than the marlin thAt won last year's event.

It’s not likely Melina owner William Burris of Moorestown, N.J., will ever forget the weight of the fish he boated in the 50th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.

When the scales indicated Melina's catch weighed 555.5-pounds, Burris turned around and said:

“That’s the last four digits of my cell phone.”

Melina's catch bumped the Tuna Trappe III to second place, but not before the crew of that Wrightsville Beach-based boat captured the event’s $386,750 prize for landing the first billfish weighing more than 500 pounds.

Tuna Trappe III landed a blue marlin earlier in the day that tipped the scales at 537 pounds.

The tournament’s inaugural leader, Phat Mann, a boat from Manassas, Va., currently holds third place with a 463-pound blue marlin. Phat Mann initially held off a challenge to its lead when the catch of the Manteo-based Sizzler topped out at 458.5 pounds

Offshore conditions were near perfect as 169 of 176 boats went offshore during the first day of competition. Blue marlin were caught to the north and south as anglers tallied 16 blue marlin releases, 6 white marlin releases and one sailfish release.

While the crew of the Tuna Trappe III was disappointed to be bumped from the lead, the boat’s captain,
Brian Smith of Wilmington, knew things could be worse.

“I was the mate on the Hatterascal in 2001 when we finished second overall … but we didn’t enter all levels that year,” Smith said. “Adrian (Holler, the eventual winner) got all the money … and that hurt. This time around, we got a big check.

“I don’t even know what’s going on right now. I just feel blessed. It’s like a dream right now. I don’t know what else to say. I just feel very fortunate.”

Smith and his Tuna Trappe III team are guaranteed the $386,750 no matter what else happens in the tournament. The way the leader board changed Monday, that’s a fortunate feeling indeed.