North Carolina Fishing Crew Lands $1.7M Prize with 504-Pound Blue Marlin

North Carolina Fishing Crew Lands $1.7M Prize with 504-Pound Blue Marlin

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A North Carolina fishing crew aboard the Hatteras-based boat "Release" made history at the 66th Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, landing a massive 504-pound blue marlin and securing a $1.7 million prize.

The impressive catch was made by angler Kirk Pugh, under the guidance of Captain Rom Whitaker, leading the 53-foot Bobby Sullivan vessel to victory.

The fishing tournament, which set sail with a record-breaking number of 302 boats on Monday, is set to continue through Sunday.

Blue marlins, native to the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, typically average around 11 feet in length and weigh between 200 to 400 pounds, according to National Geographic.

The "Release" team, consisting of Kirk Pugh, Rob Powell, Pete West, Bill Brown, Chris West, and Bert Powell, had been fishing together in the tournament for 22 years without previously boating a marlin.

Madison Struyk, the executive director of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, noted that the tournament is the largest non-profit billfish tournament worldwide.

The Big Rock Foundation, the tournament's charitable arm, has contributed over $10 million to worthy causes since 1986, with annual donations exceeding $1 million in the past three years.

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