A shark took a bite out of one crew’s dream of winning a high-stakes fishing competition when the massive marlin they reeled in was disqualified by tournament officials for being mutilated.
The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in North Carolina ended in controversy after the crew dubbed Sensation boasted a whopping 619-pound marlin Saturday that would have clinched the team members more than $3 million in prize money, but was disallowed because it appeared to be bitten by sharks.
“It was determined that Sensation’s 619.9 Blue Marlin is disqualified due to mutilation caused by a shark or other marine animal,” the tourney officials wrote in a statement Sunday. “It was deemed that the fish was mutilated before it was landed or boated and therefore it was disqualified.”
The decision came after “careful deliberation and discussions” with tournament officials and experts.
Sensation’s captain, Greg McCoy, told the Washington Post his crew believed they were winners after battling to hook the huge marlin for hours.
“It’s the final hour, the final day and we fought with him for six hours,” McCoy told the newspaper. “It’s a tough pill to swallow.”
He said he was shocked when the mutilation rule came up.
A livestream of the event shows the crowd going wild as the crew proudly revealed their humongous catch of the day.
But the mood quickly dampened.
“It would appear that this fish has been bitten by a shark,” the announcer said over a loudspeaker.
Sensation would have won about $3.5 million in prize money.
The crew would have earned $2.77 million for coming in first place and another $739,500 for the first catch of the year that is more than 500 pounds, the Washington Post reported.
The tournament, in its statement, said the decision to disqualify Sensation’s catch was consistent with past rulings and in line with the International Game Fish Association rulebook.
A crew named Sushi ended up winning the tournament, in its 65th year, by landing a 484.5-pound blue marlin, tournament officials said.
Tournament officials noted 271 boats competed in this year’s competition.
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