August 2, 2013
Citation mate has charges dismissed
in Big Rock Tournament controversy
BY CATHERINE KOZAK
Wann’s ticket for fishing without a license was dismissed last month in
Carteret County Superior Court. But the dismissal won’t restore the
more than $1 million in winnings the first mate’s missing license cost
Wann was a 22-year old college student when his
lack of a recreational saltwater fishing license disqualified the
sportfishing boat from its first place winnings for hooking an
883-pound blue marlin in the 2010 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.
owners of the Hatteras-based charter boat Citation filed a lawsuit
against the tournament, arguing that the fish was caught outside state
waters, where a fishing license is not required, and that Wann had
obtained his license online before re-entering state waters.
A settlement reached between parties earlier this year remains confidential.
attorney Andy Gay, who represented the Citation as well as the mate,
said that Wann’s case, which had been appealed, had been on the court
calendar 30 times.
Initially, Wann had pleaded not guilty in
District Court and was tried and found guilty. He was fined $35 and
ordered to pay $125 in court costs. The case was then appealed to
Superior Court. Meanwhile, the civil lawsuit was filed.
District Attorney David Spence said that the case continued to roll
over to the next court calendar while the civil matter was
litigated. The fishing without a license charge was expected to
be dismissed, which is routine as long as the defendant possesses a
“It was just a compliance matter,” Spence
said, “and everybody agreed that’s what would happen when the civil
case was resolved.”
Gay said that Wann, now 25, is doing
well, but he was relieved that the charge was finally dismissed on July
9, and there was no fine or court costs levied.
still fishing and has made a good career at it. He fishes quite a bit
out of the Caribbean,” the attorney said. “Obviously, he’s a very young
man. This has been very burdensome on him.”
A June 24, 2010
article in The Washington Post described Wann’s two-hour struggle that
resulted in the June 14 landing of the gigantic fish, the biggest
marlin ever caught in the Big Rock tournament.
“My eyes were
wide,” Wann said. “Once it got up, everybody started freaking out,
saying, ‘Holy smokes!’ Everybody was so excited.”
interviews with several news outlets, Wann said that he has assumed
that the Citation possessed a blanket fishing license, and that no one
on the boat told him that he was required to have his own fishing
“It was a bad mistake on my part, a bad mistake on
the captain’s part for not making sure I had one, and bad mistake on
the owner’s part for not making sure we all had one,” Wann told
Greenville, N.C. station WNCT.
Then a senior at George Washington University studying mechanical engineering, Wann was being paid about $500 a week.