The results are in! The Big Rock is a proud supporter of the International Gamefish Association’s (IGFA) Great Marlin Race! Since 2021, Big Rock has partnered with the IGFA to host a tagging event throughout the week of the tournament.
The Great Marlin Race (IGMR) is an unprecedented billfish research and conservation initiative that allows recreational anglers, armed with cutting-edge satellite tag technology, to become citizen scientists and deploy tags on the billfish they release. The race occurs from October 1 – September 30 each year. Since its launch in 2011, the IGFA Great Marlin Race has deployed nearly 600 satellite tags on billfish around the world, making it the largest program of its kind!
A total of 59 tags were deployed across five billfish species during the 2022-2023 Great Marlin Race. Of the 59 tags, 29 tags surfaced during this year’s race, the other tags will provide data for the 2023-2024 race.
We are thrilled to announce the winner of the 2022-2023 Great Marlin Race is WASTE KNOT (67’ Jarrett Bay). Scott and Ven Poole, owners of the vessel, have been great supporters of Big Rock’s partnership with the IGFA. The team has deployed 6 tags with Captain Michael Tickle at the helm.
The winning tag was deployed on a Blue Marlin out of Ocean City, MD in August of 2022. The tag stayed on for the full programmed deployment period of 240 days. Once the tag popped off, it began transmitting information to the lab of Dr. Barbara Block at Stanford University, where researchers began analyzing the data. What they found was astonishing!
Once tagged, the fish traveled east into the North Atlantic and then turned south traveling in a directed path toward the equator. Just north of the equator, the fish slowly moved west towards Brazil and then turned south again, crossing the equator. The fish then followed the coast south for another month before the tag popped off near the southern border of Brazil. The fish reached 25°S in the South Atlantic, the farthest south ever recorded by the IGMR for a blue marlin tagged in the North Atlantic.
Over the duration of the deployment, the fish traveled an impressive total estimated distance of 7,819 nm, and last pinged 4,149 nm from the original deployment location. The fish spent approximately 60% of the time within 33 ft. of the surface where the water temperature ranged from 75° to 84°F. Deeper dives ranged between 82-492 ft, the deepest dive occurred in mid-January when the fish dove to 1,070 ft. where it encountered its coldest water temperature of 54°F.
The second place tag was deployed on an estimated 250lb. blue marlin during the 2022 Big Rock Tournament by Bobby Schlegel aboard STREAM WEAVER. The tag surfaced after 163 days. After the fish was tagged out of Morehead City, it slowly swam east over the course of four months. The fish then traveled southeast for two more months before the tag popped off east of South America, for a total estimated distance of 3,689 nm.
It’s incredible to see two tags purchased during the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament take first and second place in the international event. For two consecutive years, Big Rock tags have won the Great Marlin Race! Tony Huerta of LO QUE SEA deployed a tag in the 2021 Big Rock Tournament, which won the 2021-2022 race for a fish that traveled from Morehead City to approximately Cape Verde, Africa.
The Great Marlin Race has fundamentally changed the way that scientists, anglers, and policymakers understand billfish migration patterns and habitat utilization, helping secure the future of these dynamic species for generations to come.
The Big Rock would like to thank each boat that has purchased satellite tags since the tournament began partnering with the IGFA in 2021: Catch 23, Islander, Lo Que Sea, Reel Steel, Right Hook, Sand Bob, Stream Weaver, Sweetums, Triple S, Waste Knot, and Weldor’s Ark.
If you are interested in becoming part of the program, please contact Carlee Sharpe, email@example.com.
The second annual Wrightsville Beach Sailfish Tournament wrapped up this past weekend. Over 9 days, boats had the option to fish any two days of their choosing. The fleet of 7 boats racked up 36 Sailfish + 3 Blue Marlin releases.
DOC FEES claimed 1st place with 17 SF + 1 BM, taking home nearly $11,000. OUTNUMBERED won 2nd place with 14 SF + 1 BM. The real winner of the tournament was its charity, the Lower Cape Fear Life Care. This year, the tournament will make a donation in memory of Tripp Brice, the dockmaster at Bridge Tender Marina in Wrightsville Beach.
It’s Giving Season! On Tuesday, November 28th, The Big Rock Foundation will announce this year’s charitable donations. You can help expand and further these donations by choosing The Big Rock Foundation for your annual charitable giving. 100% of the funding received goes back to our community’s worthy organizations.
The Big Rock Foundation greatly appreciates your support through retail sales, tournament entry, auction items, license plate sales, and individual donations. Supporting the Foundation is easy through the online portal. DONATE NOW!
THE BIG ROCK FOUNDATION’S CORE CHARITIES
Boy Scouts – East Carolina Council • Broad Street Clinic • The History Place • Hope Mission Soup Kitchen • Martha’s Mission Food Cupboard • Big Rock Kids – Boys and Girls Club • NC State University Research • NC Symphony • The Station Club • Crystal Coast Hospice House • KWLA Carteret Health Care Cancer Center
Due to unfavorable weather conditions from Hurricane Norma, the Bisbee’s team decided to run both the Black and Blue and Los Cabos Offshore tournaments simultaneously. Combined, the tournaments paid out over $11,076,000!
Bisbee’s awarded two teams with multi-million dollar prizes. ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOOKERS weighed in a 501lb. Blue Marlin on the last day of the tournament, stealing first place and earning $3,644,139 (Black & Blue + Los Cabos). The team donated $100,000 to the Casa Hogar de Cabo San Lucas, a children’s home in Cabo that is featured in the Netflix movie, Blue Miracle. STELLA JUNE, 46’ Jarrett Bay, claimed second place in both tournaments with a 368lb. Black Marlin. The fish earned them the top prize of $4.4 Million (Black & Blue + Los Cabos).
C-STUDENT, who claimed 3rd place in the 2023 Big Rock, had some beginner’s luck at Bisbee’s weighing in a 50.2lb. dolphin, winning $73,380.
CHASIN’ A, the reigning 2nd place Big Rock champ, got in some epic pre-tournament fishing, releasing 127 billfish in only 4.5 hours.
“HOME SWEET HOME” created by Steve Goione of Wilmington, North Carolina was selected as the 66th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament art. This piece highlights the beloved Cape Lookout Lighthouse and elusive Blue Marlin anglers pursue off the coast of North Carolina each June. For one week out of the year, all eyes in the sportfishing community are on Morehead City, but to many it’ll always be Home Sweet Home.
Visit The Big Rock Store on the waterfront in downtown Morehead City (Monday-Saturday, 10am to 5pm) or shop online: www.thebigrockstore.com. All proceeds from The Big Rock Store benefit Big Rock Charities throughout Carteret County and Eastern North Carolina.