Hatteras Fever II wins Big Rock

Published: Monday, June 17, 2013 at 08:42 AM.

MOREHEAD CITY — Hatteras Fever II captain Buddy Hooper didn’t think he had a winner, and he was happily wrong.

As it turned out, the 465.3-pound blue marlin that the Buxton-based boat brought to the weigh station earlier this week was a winner, claiming the 55th Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament on Saturday and $474,050 in prize money.

Not, however, without a challenge.

With 99 of the tournament’s 100 boats fishing the final day, 30 blue marlin were tallied as officially caught and released because they failed to meet the tournament qualifying standards of 400 pounds or 110 inches.

So how does it feel to win one of the most prestigious tournaments on the East Coast?

“You’re kind of exhausted,” the deeply tanned Hooper said as he stood inside the Carteret County Civic Center before the awards banquet. “Yeah, you’re just, ‘Wooo, thank goodness.’ But you just feel lucky.”

Not that the 64-year-old was feeling that way when angler Taylor Miller and crew brought the big blue to the boat Wednesday after a brief fight that included about 10 minutes alongside the 54-foot Ricky Scarborough.

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