Big Rock organizers work on plans to alter tournament

A crowd gathers on the Morehead City waterfront for the annual Big Rock Blue Marling Tournament in this stock photo from a previous year’s event. Tournament organizers plan to hold the event during its original dates this year despite the novel coronavirus pandemic. (News-Times photo)

MOREHEAD CITY — Although event organizers plan to go forward with the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament on the originally scheduled dates, the annual event will likely look different this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Big Rock Board of Directors recently announced it plans to hold the tournament Friday, June 5 through Saturday, June 13. However, organizers have identified Sunday, July 5 through Sunday, July 12 as a backup in case the normal tournament week gets postponed due to the virus.

“They’re still working through some of the logistics of what the tournament looks like, in particular tournament central on the Big Rock landing, with social distancing and all those dynamics,” Morehead City Manager Ryan Eggleston told the city council Tuesday. “But they are still planning to proceed and hoping to have at least a good turnout from the fishing side of the tournament.”

The Morehead City Council Tuesday reviewed a resolution endorsing the Big Rock tournament to be held on either the original or rescheduled date. The council, which met in person and broadcast the meeting over Zoom, considered the resolution and several others that will be included on the consent agenda for the upcoming regular meeting Tuesday, May 12.

The May 12 session is a regular voting meeting, while Tuesday’s workshop was a time for the council to learn background information and ask questions of certain items.

Morehead City Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Riggs noted Big Rock tournament organizers have plans in place to scale back gatherings in light of the coronavirus situation, for example the yearly captain’s party that kicks off events has been canceled.  He said the board of directors is working with the Swansboro Rotary Bluewater Fishing Tournament, which plans to hold an event over Memorial Day weekend, Saturday-Monday, May 23-25 on the Morehead City waterfront.

“Basically, Big Rock and Swansboro Rotary are kind of working together right now, just so they can work out the logistics,” Mr. Riggs said. “The thing is, the Swansboro Rotary tournament will be a good kind of test run for Big Rock to figure things out.”

Mr. Eggleston noted Big Rock plans to utilize technology, such as holding virtual weigh-ins, to help encourage social distancing during the tournament.

The council also reviewed resolutions endorsing the following events:

  • The Swansboro Rotary Bluewater Fishing Tournament, to be held Saturday, May 23 through Monday, 25 on the Morehead City waterfront.
  • The Inaugural Morehead City Open King Mackerel Tournament, to be held Wednesday, Oct. 14 through Saturday, Oct. 17 on the Morehead City waterfront.
  • The 10th annual North Carolina Troopers Association Offshore Inshore Saltwater Challenge, to be held Friday, Oct. 16 through Sunday, Oct. 18.
  • The Raleigh Saltwater Sportfishing Club King Mackerel Tournament to be held Friday, July 24 through Sunday, July 26.
  • The Pints for a Purpose Inc. Summer Festival, to be held Friday, July 3 on the Morehead City waterfront.

Councilman Bill Taylor noticed two of the events, the Inaugural Morehead City Open King Mackerel Tournament and the 10th Annual Troopers Association event, overlap and are both along the Morehead City waterfront. Mr. Riggs said the two events have their weigh-ins at different locations and they are not in competition with each other.

“There’s no conflict. Both of them have worked it out, talked to each other,” he said. “They’re not competing, one’s not trying to steal these boaters from that tournament, it’s basically been an agreement for everybody to work together on the tournament situation.”


Contact Elise Clouser at; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

(1) comment


I agree, the Big Rock should go as planned. Many Mom & Pop's could use the funds to generate funds. Maybe thats just what this county needs right now. A break from this dreaded Virus!!! Most people have become well educated in how to act in outside events. Lets give the people of this State what they want and deserve. An opening to vent frustrations in a controled Event. I appluade Big Rock for hearing the people's voice to take action an continue with the Event!!

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