Since I was an early teenager, I had as a goal to fish North Carolina’s Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament on my own boat. I had a chance over the years to be an angler on other people’s boats, and the goal was to fish the tournament on my own boat. I didn’t strive to win, only to participate and compete against some of the best big game sportfishermen.
I was able to achieve that goal in 2022, the month before we left for Chile. With a group of friends, we entered the tournament with one of the smallest boats in the fleet, Adventure. It was a humbling experience. The ocean beat the heck out of us. It was rough, really rough sixty miles offshore. Only one day did we get to fish the waters we chose. The other days, we fished where the ocean allowed us.
There were many highlights, such as running through the tumultuous inlet with the big boats, outrunning lightning storms offshore, and weighing a mahi at Big Rock Landing. We held the #1 spot in the mahi category for about an hour, basically because we were the first to reach the scales since the ocean kept us pinned on the nearshore side of the gulf stream while the big boats made their way into the deep.
I also enjoyed the camaraderie of the sport. Given we were in such a small boat and perceived as a low threat, some other fishing team’s helped us out, letting us run in rough seas in their wake, sometimes sharing intelligence on where fish were being caught, and sharing some of their sea surface temperature and other charts.
I’m hooked on the tournament experience and look forward to competing in more tournaments. Of course, I sold the boat in preparation for traveling abroad. Having it sit idle would be a shame. So a new platform will be needed for future tournaments.