May 29, 2013
UPDATE: Settlement in Big Rock Tournament
case leaves questions unanswered
BY CATHERINE KOZAK
It was a juicy saga that began in June 2010 and spurred a frenzy of worldwide publicity.
mate on the charter boat Citation, based out of Hatteras, forgot to buy
his $15 fishing license. In a crazy twist, that oversight ends up
creating a technicality that disqualifies the boat of more than $1
million in prize money awarded for the largest fish ever caught in the
Big Rock Tournament, a big-money billfishing tournament based in
Morehead City, N.C.
The owners of the Citation filed a lawsuit
against the Big Rock Tournament, and the case made its way through the
North Carolina Court system.
After the Citiation’s owners lost
several lower court decisions, in January the state Supreme Court
reversed a state Court of Appeals ruling that had sided with the
tournament board’s disqualification. The Supreme Court had questioned
whether a violation had been proven, and sent the case back to state
Superior Court in Carteret County to be heard in a jury trial.
It was expected to be tried this fall.
in the wake of the tabloid-like story of good luck gone astoundingly
bad and the efforts for redemption, the public may never learn the fate
of the prize money.
As the three-year anniversary of that
fateful tournament approaches this June, a settlement between parties
has been announced in a cryptic press release issued this week:
parties involved in the Big Rock lawsuit have reached a mutually
satisfactory resolution of all matters in dispute between them. Had the
883-pound fish caught by the vessel Citation not been disqualified, it
would have been the largest fish weighed in the history of the Big Rock
tournament. The parties are pleased that they were able to resolve
their differences honorably and amicably. By agreement, the parties
will have no further comment on the matter."
Citation had been awarded $912,825 in the Blue Marlin Division and
$318,750 in the Fabulous Fishermen’s Level for hooking the marlin.
of the Citation’s disqualification, the Big Rock Board of Directors
declared the second-place boat, Carnivore, the tournament winner with
its 528.3 pound blue marlin, caught by angler John Parks. The
board awarded a $999,543 first-prize to the Carnivore.
Later, a judge had earlier ordered the prize money to be held in a trust account until the issue was resolved.
Who gets the prize money is unclear because no further details about the settlement are available.