Capt. Mike Taylor, Dustan Tilley, Jon Wood, Bob Townsend, and John Roberts–the “Weldor’s Ark” crew–won the Swansboro Rotary Blue Water Tournament with a pair of blue marlin releases they tallied over the course of the two-day event. Photo courtesy of Lew McCloud.

After both releasing a blue marlin and experiencing motor troubles on the tournament’s first day, Capt. Mike Taylor, owner John Roberts, and the crew of the “Weldor’s Ark” hopped into a different boat and came out swinging on day two, releasing another blue marlin for a total of 600 points to top the leader board in the Swansboro Rotary Blue Water Tournament, held Memorial Day weekend out of the Swansboro Rotary Civic Center.

“We had a motor cut out and 2’ of water in the bilge while we were trying to cut across the slot,” Capt. Mike Taylor said. “A 3-inch hose had come off and was pouring water in like a fire hose.”

After resolving that issue, the crew headed offshore to a spot north of Cape Lookout where they’d had success before.

“It had some fish in last year’s tournament,” Taylor continued. “It’s just a good area I like to fish.”

Trolling between 140-200 fathoms of water over the course of the day, Taylor, Roberts, and Dustan Tilley, Jon Wood, and Bob Townsend—the rest of the crew aboard the 55’ Jarrett Bay—found slow fishing for much of the day.

With around 20 minutes left before they headed in, a blue marlin attacked a blue/white Black Bart lure in the long rigger and found the hook.

Wood took the rod and began fighting the fish. Despite some problems with the boat’s running gear, the angler was able to battle a 350 lb. class blue marlin to wireman Dustan Tilley to secure the boat’s first release.

After heading home, the crew elected not to chance more mechanical issues with the boat on day two.

“We stayed up that night getting John’s 36’ Yellowfin ready to fish,” Taylor explained.

The crew took off on the Yellowfin the next morning, returning to the same area where they’d released their marlin the day before.

Early in the day, a larger blue marlin attacked a blue/black Black Bart lure in their spread, and Roberts went to work on the crew’s second fish.

“That fish put on a show,” Taylor recounted. “It pulled off 400 yards of line jumping the whole time. It just went ballistic.”

Without the big boat’s fighting chair, the crew couldn’t put as much pressure on the larger marlin, and Roberts fought it to leader a number of times while the crew deliberated on whether it was over the tournament’s minimum size for a “kill fish”—110 inches.

Ultimately, the marlin pulled the hook on the leader and was tallied as a release, but the 300 points the “Weldor’s Ark” earned for their second blue were plenty to keep them atop the event’s leader board.

Putting one blue and one white marlin release on the board to earn 375 points and second place in the event were Capt. Randy Bryant and the “Maggie” team. Fishing with his son Butch, grandsons, and Chris Hendricks, Paul McCarthy, and Zach Adams aboard the 55’ custom Carolina boat, the crew headed south of much of the fleet during the tournament.

“Everybody went north,” Randy Bryant explained, “but we headed south and I think we had some stable water down there. Everybody up north was in some fast water, and I think that stable water really helped us out.”

Trolling all day Saturday with little to show for it, the “Maggie” anglers had a white marlin attack a Jr. Wide Range trolling lure shortly before 3:00 that afternoon near the 415 Line in 110 fathoms of water.

McCarthy took care of the angling duties on the white and battled it to a swift release with Hendricks on the leader.

The crew returned to the same area Sunday, and they connected with their blue marlin around 9:30 that morning.

“He came in on the rigger,” Bryant continued, “and tried to rip the teaser off the boat. He turned on everything close to the boat, and then knocked the left short out of the rigger.”

Butch Bryant grabbed the trolling outfit, dropped back, and managed to get a hook in the marlin. Then he battled it to wireman Hendricks for another fast release.

“He stayed up top, and we got to him quick,” Bryant reported.

Their blue release was the “Maggie” crew’s final addition to their points total for the event, but the additional 75 points they earned for the previous day’s white was plenty to secure second place in the tournament.

The event’s first blue marlin release earned 300 points and third place overall for Harris Huddle and the “Builder’s Choice.”

Like most of the other boats in the event, the “Builder’s Choice” crew went north, finding their blue marlin at around 2:00 Saturday afternoon. The fish fell for a brightly-colored Marlin Candy lure near the 640 line in 250 fathoms.

“We planned to fish a little inshore of there,” Huddle explained, “but there were a bunch of storms and lightning in there so we stayed out offshore.”

George Beuler handled the angling duties, and he had the 350 lb. class blue marlin boatside for the release in around 25 minutes.

The 300 points the “Builder’s Choice” earned for their marlin placed them in a tie with five other boats in the event, but releasing their fish first gave them the nudge into third.

More information about the event and the full leader board are available at www.kingbluewater.com

About the Author Hank Sibley Bluewater Yacht Sales

Hank Sibley hsibley@bwys.com Sales Professional Bluewater Yacht Sales Hampton, VA 804.337.1945 (Mobile) 757.788.7082 (Office) 757.723.3329 (Fax)

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