The Voice

When the outriggers are lowered and lines are snapped into the clips this August, a familiar and welcome sound will greet the competitors. For more than 20 years, Capt. Marty Brill has been the steady voice on the radio as PCBT Tournament Control. The teams’ universal respect and trust of Brill has been earned after a lifetime in the sport.

“I’m from Northeast Florida originally and I was working as a mate on head boats running out of Ponce Inlet,” Brill explains. “When I graduated high school in 1975, I immediately headed north. In those days, Hatteras was the place for blue marlin, so that’s where I wanted to be.”

Brill started his initiation as a mate on various charter boats operating out of Hatteras and the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. He worked on Reelin’, Sea Breeze and Tar Heel, plus did some freelancing. In the winters he joined several legendary builders crafting one-off boats in barns in Wanchese and Manteo. Brill spent two winters with Omie Tillet, worked on four boats with Buddy Cannady and also helped Irving Forbes and Bobby Sullivan.

When John Bayliss quit fishing to run the family business, Brill took over as the Tar Heel skipper. With the late Charlie Griffin manning the cockpit, Brill would catch seven blue marlin over 500 pounds, with the biggest tipping the scales at 807, during his tenure.

“It was a thrill to be part of that operation and a big honor to be voted in for dockage at the Fishing Center,” Brill adds. “I was battlefield promoted and learned how to run the boat while Charlie took care of the cockpit. We got to fish with and against all the legends. It was an amazing time to be part of that fleet and era.”

Brill left Tar Heel’s helm after a couple years to buy an outdoor sporting goods store. He eventually sold it and went to work for the Division of North Carolina Fisheries, where he spent the next 20 years as a port agent liaison inspector between seafood harvesters and markets/restaurants before retiring.

“If you love hunting and fishing, don’t buy a hunting and fishing outfitter store,” Brill says with a laugh.

Even after the charter stint, Brill couldn’t give up his love of the sport. As a way to promote the store, he began doing a live radio show that aired on Saturday mornings. In addition to fishing reports, Brill shared stories with the listeners about the personalities, significant catches, etcetera. The show finally ended, but Brill is still sharing anecdotes via podcasts five days a week through, a local, family-owned regional company. Brill also published his 19th Annual Fishing Guide for the Outer Banks this spring.

As the official voice of Pirate’s Cove Tournament Control, Brill mans the VHF radio throughout the week, confirming catches and relaying information to the fleet, alongside assistant tournament director Ashely Croswait. Brill is also on the tournament committee to resolve any disputes and serves as the radio voice and weighmaster for the local Boat Builder’s Tournament as well.

“I couldn’t do what I do without Ashely’s help,” Bill explains. “But the role is really fun because of my radio background and being back around my old buddies. It makes me feel like I’m still up there on the flying bridge.

“With the internet streaming, we have audiences around the world listening to the tournament action,” he adds. “I enjoy describing what’s going on offshore to the people who are listening at home. My favorite part of all this is running into old friends and sharing memories. The camaraderie and fellowship of the Oregon Inlet fleet is really nice and I enjoy being a part of that.”

For the PCBT participants, staff and volunteers, those feelings are mutual. Capt. Marty Brill is THE venerable voice chronicling all the action throughout tournament week.