Crystal Coast Newsroom

Reel Adventure Ensues at The 56th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
May 3, 2014

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. – May 1, 2014 – Fishing fanatics of all ages are invited to try their luck at the Crystal Coast this summer during the 56th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament -- June 6-14, 2014 -- in Morehead City. Since the first big catch of marline in 1957, every year the competition promises to hook hundreds of world-class anglers in the fish-filled waters of North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks, providing an unparalleled fishing experience and excellent payout, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and prizes awarded (

The tournament offers a variety of festivities to participate in, including: a captain’s party, sponsored dinners, Sunday Pig Pickin’, an awards banquet with an auction and a lady angler event. Daily release prizes include $5,600 for the 56th billfish release during the tournament and $2,000 each day for the first billfish released that day. The Big Rock Tournament purse has exceeded more than $1 million every year over the past 17 years and more than $3 million donations to many local charities.

While, the Crystal Coast is known for its superior fishing, the blue marlin was not always a top contender. Blue marlin fishing was once restricted to the Gulf of Mexico because no one had ever caught a blue marlin in North Carolina’s coastal areas. Sailors from cargo ships then began spreading rumors about spotting blue marlin fish not too far from the shore. People brushed off these rumors, secretly wishing they were true.

Though they experienced no luck in catching any, charter members began to sight blue marlins as they ventured further offshore during summer of 1957, after receiving an offer for prize money. However autumn came with huge success when Raleigh, NC angler Jimmy Croy and Captain Bill Olsen caught a 143 pound blue marlin -- the fishing phenomenon began. The tournament gets its name because it is assumed that Olsen and Croy made their historic catch along the continental shelf known as “Big Rock.” While it was initially a secret, the Big Rock location is considered a prime spot for marlin fishing along the east coast.

Dangling like a delicate strand of pearls off the coast of North Carolina, the favored Atlantic beach destination of generations represents one of the only remaining natural barrier island systems in the World. The Islands are strung together with 85 miles of silken coastline along the southern Outer Banks, 56 miles of which are in the protected Cape Lookout National Seashore, and the destination is home to Beaufort, “One of America’s Most Romantic Towns” according to Travel + Leisure and the “Best Wreck Diving along the East Coast” by Scuba Diving.

For more information on the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, visit or call 252.247.3575. To experience North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, call (800) 786-6962 or visit or


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