By Capt. Dave Lear

Manteo, North Carolina:

Only two dozen contenders steamed out the Oregon Inlet before dawn for the final day of the 37th annual Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament. The remaining 59 were already done for the week, awaiting the final outcome. A few competitors made late pushes with respectable tallies, but the points accumulated weren’t quite enough to change the final outcome.

Tenacity, a 56 Paul Mann run by Capt. Tom Baer, was the top team for Friday. Baer and his anglers scored three white marlin and one photo blue, all singles. A teaser white was also released just after official lines out at 3 pm.

“It was a little rolly this morning, but right now it’s glass,” Baer said about four miles from the inlet on the return trip. “We were up around the 300 line right on the edge, 64 miles away. We saw a few birds and whales but not much bait on top. I kinda got away from the other boats up there and we got lucky. We got on a few fish real quick. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then.”

Sea I Sea, a 72 Viking with Capt. Hunter Blount, Sr. on the flybridge, was the second hot boat on the final day. The team finished with four white marlin and a sailfish pulling naked ballyhoo.

“We were real close to the fence, 73 miles on the 360 line,” Blount explained. “We were in 50 to 70 fathoms of water. It was gorgeous out there. We had one little rain shower and a little breeze, then it got really pretty this afternoon. We really had a nice day of fishing.”

Natural (56 Ricky Scarborough) run by Capt. Carl Beale, logged 400 points on Friday. Combined with the team’s previous total, that will bump Natural into 9th place in the unofficial standings.

Scorecards are still being collected and the final results verified. In addition to the trophies, the top teams will be splitting more than $850,000 in prize money among the Release Divisions, Daily prizes and the winner-take-all game fish categories for dolphin, tuna and wahoo. No eligible blue marlin were weighed this year.

A social distancing awards presentation will be held Friday evening at the Pirate’s Cove Marina.