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North Carolina

Former Tar Heel hoopster is leading angler at Big Rock

Posted June 13, 2011
Updated June 14, 2011

Former UNC basketball player Travis Stephenson should go buy a lottery ticket. Then again he may have caught one on the first day of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament out of Morehead City, NC.

Stephenson was the angler when a 652.8 pound blue marlin hit the line just after noon. In a little over an hour the crew of the boat Double B had the fish on board. "It was a text book catch, " Stephenson told WRAL. 

One of the crewmen on board was boat owner Harry Smith, Jr., a classmate of Stephenson at Clayton High. "We were just a bunch of guys jumping around, hugging each other with tears in our eyes, " Stephenson said after the one-hour fight to land the fish on the boat. 

A trip to the scales pushed the Double B fish to the top of the leader board after the first day of the 53rd annual Big Rock Tournament. If they remain there, the winning crew would win $524,375 in prize money.  

The boat Blue Water landed a 581 pound blue marlin and is in second position after the first day. 

Last year the boat Citation caught a whopping 883 pound marlin and would have won the tournament. But one of the crewmen didn't have a tournament required fishing license so they were disqualified and lost $890,000. 

Does Stephenson have his fishing license? "Oh yeah, I have it! " he quickly replied. "We wouldn't let anyone on board (Monday) morning without visual proof." 

Stephenson's only day to fish in the Big Rock was Monday. He had to get back to work on Tuesday as the vice-president of retail sales for Flanders Corporation. 

Whether he is the winning angler of this year's Big Rock tournament, Stephenson says, "This is bucket list kind of stuff here," referring to catching his first blue marlin in a tournament like this. "If someone catches a bigger fish, this is still a top 5 event for me."

The former Clayton Comet star already has a national championship ring he earned as a senior playing basketball at North Carolina. The Tar Heels beat Michigan to win the 1993 national championship.

 

 

 

50 Comments

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  • sharri0412 Jun 14, 2011

    Congratulations, Travis!!

  • Tarheel born Jun 14, 2011

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    LMAO.....Being a one sport school must be tough......College World Series........GO HEELS!!!

  • heelman73 Jun 14, 2011

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    "crumbling athletic program"?

    What an id!ot!!

  • ElvisPresleyJr Jun 14, 2011

    Depends on how you measure "better." Head to head over last 4 years, no they are not. Total wins over last 4 years, yes they are.
    - Posted by 4tarheels
    ------------------------
    Typical post by a typical tarhole fan. They can't accept the present status of their crumbling athletic program so they attempt to seek comfort and security in their past...trying to hold on to those glory days and tradition when they were still cheating but just had not been caught or investigated .....yet. alittle advice: the days of Dean Smith, the four corners, Woody, blah blah blah..are over.. there's a new era now..it's called WOLFPACK NATION.

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jun 14, 2011

    View quoted thread



    +1

  • wjuliang Jun 14, 2011

    View quoted thread



    +5

  • rspilkington Jun 14, 2011

    Must be a slow news day.

  • heelman73 Jun 14, 2011

    View quoted thread



    Some have been.

  • Carameltoe Jun 14, 2011

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    Does this include wins that will inevitably be vacated by the NCAA?

  • the way of it Jun 14, 2011

    View quoted thread



    Depends on how you measure "better." Head to head over last 4 years, no they are not. Total wins over last 4 years, yes they are.

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  • NCAA: Gonzaga vs. UCLA

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NCAA: Duke v. Utah

    Tomorrow at 9:40 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NCAAT: NC State vs. Louisville

    Tomorrow at 7:37 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 5
PIT 2
Final
WISC 79
UNC 72
Final
PIT 5
ATL 7
Final
DET 6
BAL 4
Final
STL 3
MIA 5
Final
BOS 5
MIN 4
Final
TAM 6
NYY 5
Final
TOR 4
PHI 1
Final
CLE 2
CIN 13
Final
SEA 0
KAN 3
Final
CWS 6
LOS 9
Final
MIL 15
SEA 1
Final
ARI 3
SDP 3
Final
WAS 3
NYM 8
Final
CHC 4
ANA 8
9th
TEX 6
COL 0
 
5th
SFG 4
OAK 4
 
Final
MIL 111
IND 107
Final
ND 81
WICHS 70
Final
WISC 79
UNC 72
Final
LALAF 82
EVAN 89
2nd
KENT 60
WVU 26
 
Half
ARZ 28
XAV 28
 
Final
BOS 2
ANA 3
Final
BUF 3
ARI 4
Final
NYI 2
LOS 3
Final
WAS 3
NJD 2
Final
CAR 5
PIT 2
Final
TOR 1
FLA 4
Final
TAM 2
NAS 3
Final
OTT 1
NYR 5
Final
DET 4
SJS 6
Final
WIN 5
MON 2
2nd Intermission
VAN 0
COL 3