No blue marlin but plenty of spirit at Big Rock

big rock tillett

Omie says," You can't have that without a little of this", as he raises his hands up into the sign of a cross, Thursday afternoon at the Big Rock Blue Marlin weigh station. Omie Tillett, 85, has been blessing the fishing boats since 1998 in the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament every morning, by radio from his Wanchese home before they leave for a day of fishing. Earlier in his life he was a fishing boat builder out of Wanchese.

Chuck Beckley/Halifax Media Service
Published: Friday, June 13, 2014 at 10:27 PM.

Omie Tillett was as content as could be Friday while sitting under a tent and enjoying conversation near the Morehead City waterfront scales.

The topics varied. From his knowledge of fishing to his strong religious beliefs, the 85-year-old Tillett, who lives in Wanchese on Roanoke Island in Dare County, was enjoying the company at the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.

It didn’t matter that no blue marlin were brought to the scales on the penultimate day of the 56th annual tournament, leaving the Inspiration of Morehead City still atop the leaderboard following its 754.3-pound big blue caught Monday.

Many associated with the Big Rock were just as awed and impressed with Tillett’s words, which he hopes leaves them inspired.

“I like to talk to people,” Tillett said. “I’m a Christian and that gets people to you. I have a way of getting to people. A voice means a lot.”

It certainly does in Tillett’s case when it comes to the Big Rock, and captains and anglers alike hear his message loud and clear every morning over the radio as they prepare to sail deep into the Atlantic Ocean in hopes of catching a marlin or other fish worth some prize money.

Although known in his younger years as a fishing and boat building “pioneer,” as past Big Rock President and current board member Randy Ramsey put it, Tillett is popular now within the Big Rock community as the man who delivers the blessing to all of the vessels each day of the six-day tournament.

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