Fishing

Run-Off wins record prize at Big Rock

Posted June 17

— Run-Off took home a record $1,161,450 prize Saturday, winning the 59th annual Big Rock Marlin Tournament. Angler Matt Hanley of Glen Allen, Va. caught a 533.8-pound blue marlin early Monday and the catch stayed in the lead the rest of the week.

Boat captain Brian Harrington, of Morehead City, and first mate, Marty Hiatt, helped land the blue marlin. The catch was Hanley's first-ever blue marlin.

Hanley’s catch initially won $467,500 Monday because it was the first 500-pounder caught by a team entered in the Level V Fabulous Fisherman’s “Winner Take All” division. Run-Off received an additional $693,950 for finishing first with the largest blue marlin.

The record purse tops the old Big Rock record (held by Sea Striker captain Adrian Holler) which was $942,100 won during the 43rd Big Rock in 2001.

That proved to be the biggest payday in sports that week -- topping the $900,000 that Retief Goosen received for winning the 101st U.S. Open Golf Tournament played in Tulsa, Okla.

Ironically, Hanley is a U.S. Open golf fan.

"We went to the U.S. Open down in Southern Pines a couple years ago for Father's Day,” Hanley said, referring to his 10-year-old son, Will, who was aboard the Run-Off to witness the winning catch. “I think this has to be the best (Father’s Day weekend.) My dad came down … and my brother. It's pretty amazing."

The 59th Big Rock had a field of 177 boats but most were fished out by the final day. Competitors are only allowed to fish 4-of-6 days in the competition. Just 53 boats were eligible to fish Saturday and choppy seas limited anglers to 11 releases: one blue marlin, seven white marlins and three sailfish.

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