Up To It Scores First Marlin In Grand Championship
July 12, 2014; Orange Beach, Alabama:
By Capt. Dave Lear
A boat name can say a lot. So when you slap a boastful challenge like Up To It across the transom, you’d better produce if you don’t want to bear the brunt of jokes at the local marina bar.
The 60 Hatteras certainly lived up to its name when it christened The Wharf Marina scales Friday with a 442-pound blue marlin. That fish, caught by George Kendrick, was the first qualifier of the 2014 Blue Marlin Grand Championship and it brought a roar of approval from several thousand spectators once it was hoisted aloft.
“We were trolling when the marlin ate one of our specials, the Tripp Teaser lure,” the Slidell, Louisiana angler explained after the weight was announced. “We also released a blue, so it’s been an awesome tournament so far.”
“We thought she was bigger than she was,” added boat owner and skipper, Tripp Tolbert of Destin, Florida. “We hooked up and fought her for three hours before she got tail-wrapped. So we had to use a little finesse to get her in.”
Tolbert, who won the Bay Point Invitational Tournament in 1986 (which was also run by Grand Championship Co-Director Scott Burt) said conditions were perfect offshore. Up To It was trolling between the Beer Can rig and Drill Ship when the marlin struck.
“We released another small blue today and it was just beautiful out there, with pretty water and a big line of sargassum. We caught that other fish along that same weed line. But we had to leave at 4 so we could make it back in in time to give the crowd something to look at tonight. So we’re going to fuel up and head right back out.”
Friday marked the first full day in this third-annual big-game event. Fifty-seven boats are hunting for trophy marlin, tuna, dolphin and wahoo to earn a share of the $1.327 million in prize money. Two other boats, Relentless Pursuit and Dirt Pit, have both reported boating marlin measuring 114 inches but will wait until Saturday to come to the scales. Up To It’s fish taped out at 105 inches, according to weigh master Craig Martin.
With the full moon and calm conditions offshore, the bite should stay hot. All the boats have to be back by 7 p.m. Saturday and the scales will remain open until 10 p.m. to weigh all eligible fish. The weigh-in, presented by Saunders Yachtworks, is free and open to the public starting at 5 p.m. NBC television affiliate WPMI Channel 15 will be doing live coverage and a celebrity chef cook-off and fighting chair competition are part of the festivities. Everything will be streaming live on www.bluemarlingrandchampionship
So come early and watch as the fleet triumphantly returns. There’s only one Up To It. But there are 56 other boats that could be named Can Do Too.