MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WITN) — Father's Day played a major role during the 61st annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.
'Top Dog' set a tournament record by reeling in a 914-pound big blue marlin. The team finished in first place and won nearly $800,000. Ryan Knapp captained the boat and Todd Dickerson was the angler. Both gentlemen are from Maryland. The crew fought for more than six hours and then needed an additional 90 minutes just to get the 15-foot monster partially onto their 60-foot Buddy Cannady. Their catch shattered the previous record of 831 pounds set by 'Summertime Blues' back in 2000.
For Todd Dickerson, it's not about the money though. Instead, it's all about his late dad on this father's day weekend.
"My dad passed away four months ago today," said Dickerson. "He started me fishing in Ocean City, Maryland for the White Marlin tournament. Like I said earlier if you don't believe there's somebody upstairs keeping an eye on you, this is believing right here. So, I'd give anything to have him here right now."
That's not the only heartwarming Father's Day story from Big Rock. In fact, Harry Smith and his daughter, Brooke, are both from Greenville, and together they caught a 497.6-pound blue marlin on Saturday, as well.
Harry is the captain of 'Double B' and won the tournament back in 2011. But he said nothing will top the memory of watching his daughter spend 67 minutes reeling in a big blue.
"I don't know how many dads get to take a blue marlin in a blue marlin tournament with their little girl," said Harry Smith. "So it was pretty special. She's caught some nice fish with me, but that's the nicest fish she's caught with me. It's hard to explain it, but it's about the memories, and today was a very special one. For me, I don't think anything is better than the fact that I did it with my little girl. She's obviously an athlete, but she just never quit. A pretty special moment. We spend our whole lives trying to make memories, and I got to make one today with my daughter that I won't forget."
"I think my dad was so excited that it made it all worth it, " Brooke Smith said.
When asked if it's the best father's day gift she's ever given her dad, Brooke said: "I would say yeah, probably!"