North Carolina fishing team wins $1.7M after catching 504-pound blue marlin

A fishing crew recently caught a prize-worthy marlin at the 66th Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in North Carolina.

The team aboard the Hatteras-based boat, “Release,” reeled in a blue marlin weighing 504 pounds, earning the group of men $1.7 million.

The captain of the 53-foot Bobby Sullivan vessel, Rom Whitaker, led the team to success with Angler Kirk Pugh pulling in the striking big blue fish.


“These guys have been fishing together in this tournament for 22 years and have never boated a marlin in this tournament before,” a North Carolina resident who is close to the anglers told Fox News Digital (the resident requested her name be omitted for privacy reasons).

The “Release” team reeled in a blue marlin weighing in at 504 pounds, earning them $1.7 million. (Rom Whitaker of Release Sportsfishing )

Blue Marlins are native to the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. These fish tend to be in the average range of 11 feet and 200 to 400 pounds, according to National Geographic.

The tournament set sail with a record-breaking number of 302 fishing boats on Monday.


“Captain Rom’s win in the Fab Fish Level and Game Time’s leaderboard shakeup yesterday afternoon created the perfect start to the week,” Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament Executive Director, Madison Struyk, told Fox News Digital.

The “Release” team: Kirk Pugh, Rob Powell, Pete West, Bill Brown, Chris West, and Bert Powell are all pictured at The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. (The Big Rock Tournament)

She said Big Rock is the largest non-profit billfish tournament in the world.

“The Big Rock Foundation is the charitable arm of the tournament and has donated over $10 million to worthy organizations since 1986. For the past 3 years, the Big Rock Foundation has made annual contributions over a million dollars,” Struyk said.

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A 504 pound blue marlin was caught at the 66th Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in North Carolina. (The Big Rock Tournament/Rom Whitaker of Release Sportsfishing )

The fishing tournament is set to continue until Sunday.

Fox News Digital reached out to Captain Rom Whitaker and Kirk Pugh, who is one of the anglers, for comment.

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