After helping his crew battle hard for four straight hours, Wakefield High School graduate Cole Pirrung earned first place in the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament on Friday.
Pirrung and his boat, Widespread, are reported to have earned $1.6 million, according to ABC11, for hauling in the prize catch: a marlin weighing in at 656.5 pounds. The fish was finally brought to shore around 10:30 p.m. on Friday, after nearly four hours of work.
The second-place boat, Natural, caught a 521.6-pound marlin while the third-place boat, Outnumbered, caught one weighing 512.4 pounds.
This was the 63rd annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, which takes place in Morehead City, North Carolina. This year, the tournament spanned from June 11th through June 20th, according to its website.
The tournament opened with different events for the participants, which were not open to the public, and concluded with an awards brunch on Sunday.
Fishing took place from June 14-19, though each boat had to take two “lay days.” On fishing days, fishing took place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with weigh-ins at 4 p.m. This excluded Saturday, with fishing occurring from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with weigh-ins at 3 p.m.
On the Widespread boat, Pirrung, 19, served as the angler. The captain of the boat was Jay Watson. Pirrung’s brother, Luke, brought in a marlin Thursday that weighed in at 479.2 pounds, which finished as the fourth-highest weight in the tournament. In 2019, their brother, Connor, participated in the tournament, as well, and finished in sixth, according to Carolina Coast Online.
Coming to form in the late 1950s, the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament has become a yearly staple of Morehead City. The first ever prize awarded in the tournament was between $250 to $300. Its growth over the years led to the large payout this year and a record of 270 participants, according to JDNews.
A 2020 graduate of Wakefield High School, Pirrung played lacrosse in high school, according to MaxPreps.