Big Rock, big moneyPublished 9:00pm Saturday, June 22, 2013
After getting his feet wet at last year’s Big Rock Blue Marlin fishing tournament Glenn Wetherington returned for his second go-round with a few new additions and as a result the longtime fisherman and his friends reeled in a top-five finish and a boatload of cash.
Competing in last week’s 55th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin tournament in Morehead City, Wetherington joined Kevin Boyd, Kenneth Taylor, Tim Waters, Brian Waters, Tiffany Vrablik, Austin Boyd, Glenn Lofton and Lee Martin on the “Let it B” for the week-long event and together they hauled enough Blue Marlins to finish third in the Release Division and fifth overall to net nearly $22,000 in prize money.
“We were all just ecstatic,” said Wetherington, a 35-year old Chocowinity native who now lives in Washington and owns the Down on MainStreet restaurant as well as the Naughty Life gift shop, which sells nautical apparel. “We couldn’t be any more happier. The whole crew was thrilled. We all want to win, that’s the name of the game, but we were all very satisfied to place in a such a huge tournament.”
The tournament, which has an entry fee of $18,000, is one of the biggest on the east coast and featured 100 competitors from all over the country. Wetherington made his first appearance in the tourney last year and failed to place. This year, he returned with added experience and new captain.
“I attribute this year’s success to having a seasoned captain for starters,” said Wetherington, who served as a mate and reel man aboard the “Let it B,” a 54-foot Paul Mann boat owned by Kevin Boyd. “We hired a captain named Glenn Lofton who has been fishing for over 35 years out on Atlantic Beach and the Beaufort area. I think his knowledge of the waters that we were fishing was a big help to us.
“All the guys on the boat are big time fishermen, but you still learn every time you go out. That’s the one thing about offshore fishing, you never learn it all. You have to learn from your mistakes and one thing we will bring into next year’s tournament is what we learned from this year.”
Aside from having a stellar captain, Wetherington said the right tools are a must when competing in such a big tournament.
“Having the right equipment … There’s just no question you have to have the best equipment there is and you better know how to tie your knots and make all your terminal connections,” Wetherington said. “That plays a role in everything.”
So does knowing where to go. Something the crew of the “Let it B” was able to do thanks to the aid of a few high-tech gadgets and some seasoned seamen that could interpret the data they collected.
“We kind of use our knowledge (of the area), but there are several factors we look into and a lot of equipment to help us decide where to go,” Wetherington said. “There are several websites we look into. We look into water temperature and where the Gulf Stream is running at that current time. There is satellite imagery that you can go online and pull up. We use the Internet as an intricate tool in our decision-making as to where we actually fish for the day. We got GPS, fish finders and all that kind of stuff. That equipment is just as important as your rod and reel.”
The James Bond-type equipment is a huge plus, but having comradely with your crewmates is equally important. Especially when you plan on spending a week together on the Atlantic Ocean.
“Chemistry is huge,” Wetherington said. “There’s a lot of downtime and you learn a lot about each other when you’re out there on the water.”
Wetherington said the chemistry was so good because the crew consists of longtime local fishing buddies that share a mutual respect for one another.
“Pretty much everybody in the crew is Eastern North Carolina people, a lot of the guys fishing are right from around here,” Wetherington said. “We’ve become fishing buddies over the last few years. We’ve fished a few tournaments against each other and we’ve fished together a few times and we just kind of decided that we wanted to team up with each other. There’s a lot of experience there.”