Fish Stories

It was a mellow Thursday, compared to normal OBX August standards. Wave Paver, Mama C and Tarheel padded their leads. But there is still one more day of competition in the 38th annual PCBT and the 39 remaining boats will be trolling naked ballyhoo and pulling dredges and daisy-chain teasers Friday in hopes of a furious finish. Uno Mas, a 77 Willis and multiple past tournament champion, will be among them.

“We got lucky today with a blue and white,” said Capt. Sean Gallagher on Uno Mas. “We were pulling the standard stuff along the 170 Line. There were some flyers around and we marked bait down deep. There’s a lot of life out there, so I’m not sure if it’s a lack of billfish or they’re just not biting. It is frustrating when you see fish but can’t get them to eat.”

Gallagher said the team had no qualms about resuming their quest on Friday the 13th. “We like to fish the last day,” he explained. “We know what we have to do.”

Nancy La Vista, an angler on Sandra D, splits her time between Pirate’s Cove in the summer and Florida in the winter. She has been fishing this event since 2007. Sandra D, a 58 Hudson, released three white marlin on Thursday to close out the 2021 contest. The boat will take their mandatory lay day on Friday.

“We went three for five on fish on naked ballyhoo. It would have been a better day to not miss those other two. But it’s all good in love and war.”

The dock buzz was still humming with news of the big one that got away Wednesday, however. Capt. Hunter Blount on Sea I Sea shared the story about the epic battle.

“We were fishing up north with the fleet and decided to run down the beach about 10 miles,” he recalled. “The mate saw a jumper from a distance, so we tacked over that way. A big fish came in on the dredge and we got the pitch bait out. But it decided to eat the plain ‘hoo on the ‘rigger line. Bill Mills grabbed the rod and he was on that Tallica 30 stand-up for the next 10 hours. He really did an outstanding job fighting that fish on light tackle. We had 30-pound main line on the reel, with a 60-pound header and 50-pound fluorocarbon leader with 8/0 Trokar circle hook.

“That fish made a run and jumped some, then stayed fairly close to the boat. I don’t think it ever really knew it was hooked. It just kept down and swam along. We finally got it within 10 feet of the leader knot but never got the opportunity with the gaff. When it was jumping we got a good look at the length and the girth and we all conservatively agreed it was a 500-pound-plus fish.

“About 7-ish, my angler was cooked. His hand was cramping and we had to do something. So he increased the drag and put the heat to it. The leader finally broke at the knot. But that’s the risk you take fishing for blue marlin on white marlin tackle. It was an incredible event, a memory none of us will ever forget. It was definitely a fish story!”