No blue marlin but plenty of spirit at Big Rock

Published: Friday, June 13, 2014 at 10:27 PM.

When he was 22, he helped lead the move of a small new charter fleet from Nag’s Head to a new location that became the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center.

“It is now one of the premiere charter fishing fleets in the world,” Ramsey said. “They have some of the best tuna fishing and white marlin fishing in the world.”

Tillett’s contributions go beyond just that, Ramsey said, noting he was an innovator in fishing.

“He started running boats and as he grew up, he started trying to find better methods and better ways of doing things, and he did,” Ramsey said. “Omie was one of those guys who constantly evolved. Not only was he instrumental in charter fishing and a pioneer in offshore sport fishing in North Carolina, he also helped pioneer what is now Oregon Inlet Fishing Center.

“And if that wasn’t enough to do, … a guy named Warren O’Neal and Omie built what was the predecessor to what is today the modern North Carolina sport fishing boat, which has spawned some of the finest custom boat builders in the world.”

Ramsey said Tillett opened his own company called Sportsman Boatworks, named after Tillett’s boat, Sportsman. Tillett said he built eight boats, with his final one hitting the water in 1961.

Each of them, Ramsey added, was ahead of its time.

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