August 12, 2015; Manteo, North Carolina:

By Capt. Dave Lear

Boat names span a wide range of associations. Some refer to family members like wives, mothers or daughters. Many relate to the owner’s line of business. Some are pure whimsical while others are a direct reflection of persona or character. On the second day of the 2015 Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament, Hollywood couldn’t have scripted the top boat name any better.

Instigator led the pack of 53 boats fishing Day Two and was in the nexus of an epic billfish bite. Owner Curtis Colgate and his team aboard the 57 Blackwell released 6 white marlin, 2 blues and one sailfish to earn 900 points and capture the early lead. Instigator was fishing up around the 060 mark in 500 fathoms of water.

“It was a helluva day. We caught some nice fish, including one grand slam. It feels great,” Colgate said as the boat tied up in the slip in the Pirate’s Cove Marina.

“All the bites were in the same place so I just kept circling,” said Instigator skipper Josh Wentling. “I marked a little bait but not a ton. We had other boats around us, so I guess we were like the Pied Piper today.”

Released billfish, including marlin, sailfish, spearfish and swordfish count 100 points each in this event. A total of 128 billfish were caught and let go on Wednesday, including 12 blues, 94 white marlin, 19 sailfish and three spearfish. Fishin’ Fever, Sally Girl, Dirty Business and Haphazard are within striking distance with 600 points after the day’s action. Two boats have five releases, while three more in the top ten have 400 points. Standings are determined based on time of the release. Bi-Op-Sea recorded the first fish of the day, a white marlin, at 8:37 am.

Sandra D was another boat that took advantage of Wednesday’s hot bite. The team caught 3 white marlin and one blue while pulling naked ballyhoo.

“All our fish were singles,” said mate Rich Samuel. “I’m not sure if we’ll go back to the same spot tomorrow. We’ll play it by ear, I’m sure. Bubba [Capt. Mike Merritt] will look at the charts and figure it out. When he says throw ‘em over, I just throw ‘em over.”

Viking Yachts President Pat Healey made an immediate impression on the game fish leaderboard. He weighed a gaffer 63.6-pound dolphin, caught while fishing on his factory model Viking 70 convertible. Manny Defrietaz, on Hey Chama, registered a 14-pound blackfin tuna on Wednesday as well.

The three boats that opted to fish on Tuesday all layed today, so the entire fleet will be hitting the water the rest of the week. With an overall purse of nearly $468,000 and the bite turning on, there will be plenty of rabble-rousing offshore. Just don’t be surprised to find Instigator in the middle of the scrum.