By: Alyssa Hong
In the Big Rock fishing tournament, in which 271 boats participated, one team caught a fish heavier than 500 lbs which gave a bonus reward of $739,500. Before disqualification, the fish would have been worth $3.5 million.
The boat Sensation caught a 619.4 lb fish. Unfortunately, the announcer said the fish was disqualified because of an injury sustained.
‘‘If a fish has a chunk taken out of it, whether it be by a boat or another fish or shark or whatever, it's not going to be fighting to its full potential. So that's the rationale behind it,’’ Jack Vitek who works for the IGFA, said in 2019.
With the 619 lb fish eliminated, the reward went to the boat Sushi, with a fish weighing 484.5 lb, winning the team over 2.7 million dollars. Unfortunately for them, they did not get the extra $739,500 prize because their fish was under the 500 lb goal.
The Sensation is still trying to get back the reward.
"We didn't see a single thing swim near the fish, ” said Ashley Bleau, the owner of the Sensation. Bleu has filed a protest against the disqualification of their fish. The crew aboard the Sensation knew that it was big enough to win the prize as soon as they saw it.
"Guys, it's really simple," Big Rock announcer Tommy Bennett had told the audience of over 1,000 people at the Big Rock Landing as McCoy’s boat neared. ‘‘If it's more than 500 pounds, Sensation is the winner.’’ But, as soon as Bennett held the marlin up on the scale, he said ‘‘It would appear that this fish has been bitten by a shark.’’ The crowd immediately started shouting. ‘‘We'll get it sorted out here in just a second,’’ the announcer added.
On Sunday morning, the Sensation's fish was formally disqualified ‘‘due to mutilation caused by a shark or other marine animal. It was deemed that the fish was mutilated before it was landed or boated and therefore it was disqualified.’’
So far, the Sensation has been unsuccessful in its attempt to get the reward back.