Inspiration celebrates Big Rock victory

winning celebration

Cole Wagner, mate aboard the Inspiration, pumps his fist after hearing on the radio that the boat had officially won the Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament on Saturday in Atlantic Beach.

John Sudbrink/Halifax Media Service
Published: Monday, June 16, 2014 at 08:57 AM.

After Inspiration brought a mammoth 754.3-pound blue marlin to the scales on the opening day of the 56th Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament and all but left its competitors fishing for second place the rest of the week, captain and owner Casey Wagner and his crew had few anxious moments until the final day Saturday.

About 18 minutes before lines were required to be out of the water at 2 p.m., Tidal Volume radioed in. It had hooked a fish.

While one of the smallest boats in the field of 120 at 28 feet, 8 inches – Inspiration, by comparison, is 55 feet - Tidal Volume battled the fish in the middle of the ocean while back at the Coral Bay Club in Atlantic Beach the Inspiration’s crew and captain, along with friends and family, waited anxiously, their celebration on hold and the Cook’s California Champagne (medium dry) still chilling.

Finally, at 2:39 p.m. word came via the radio. Tidal Volume had released a blue marlin.

Back on shore, Wagner and company, who had been closely monitoring the radio, let out a yell of celebration and relief, arms pumping the air, with hugs, smiles and champagne all around.

“I still don’t know if it’s soaked in,” Wagner said. “It’s amazing. It’s something I’ve been doing for 40 years, and we’ve been trying to win this tournament. To finally get here and win it with all these good friends and my son (Cole) as the mate on the boat, it’s amazing.”

And a bit nerve-racking following a relatively stress-free week after bringing to weigh station the third-largest winning blue marlin ever – only Summertime Blues’ 831-pounder in 2000 and Chaser’s 759-pounder in 1993 were bigger.

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