Tournament Report – Hatteras Grand Slam
In the 14 years that the Hatteras Grand Slam billfish tournament has been running, nobody has been able to secure the titular achievement (catching a white marlin, blue marlin, and sailfish in a single day) during the event… until now.
Capt. Chris Barnett, behind the helm of the winning boat “Predator,” led his team to catch a sailfish and white marlin early in the second (and last) day of the tournament before pausing to pay tribute to team member Eric Whitlow’s late wife Janet, who had tragically passed away in March after a six month battle with colon cancer. Whitlow laid a wreath on the water, and the team solemnly took the time to watch it float into the distance as they honored Janet’s memory.
Then it was time to catch a blue marlin for Janet.
Two hours later, as “Predator” was trolling just southeast of Diamond Shoals Tower, a big blue slammed one of their circle-hooked ballyhoo. Whitlow, seeing the reel scream, took the chair.
At one point during the 90 minute struggle, he saw a dolphin breaching in the distance. Janet had a soft spot for the magical allure of dolphins, and Whitlow saw the jump as a sign. He fought with renewed vigor, the marlin made it to the boat, and the Grand Slam was achieved.
For their victory, the tournament paid out $34,850, which was split between Whitlow and boat owner Bill Bonner. After taxes were paid and entry fees covered, Whitlow donated his take to charity.
“Predator” was undoubtedly the biggest winner of the tournament, but they weren’t the only one. “Maggie” won the Billfish and Additional Billfish division with 1,550 points. They caught 5 sails and 2 blues all in the first day, for a total of seven billfish that secured them $10,064. The Meatfish division was split between “Coverage” for their 21.1 lb. dolphin and “Chasin’ Tail” for their 52.4 lb. tuna. Both teams took home $2,890. The biggest blue marlin weighed in during the tournament, a beautiful 459.5 lb. fish, was caught by “Bankwalker.” It was worth $11,560. Stacy Allen, of “Wall Hanger,” won the Laney Howell Lady Angler award of $1,657 with 550 points for one blue and two white marlin.
The Hatteras Grand Slam tournament is held each year out of Hatteras Harbor Marina. Anyone is allowed to join, as the goal is to highlight the excellent offshore billfishing that the area has to offer. Part of the proceeds go toward the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation, the Captain Bernice Balance Hatteras Island Charitable Fund, and Toys for Tots of Hatteras Island.
For more information on the Hatteras Grand Slam, please visit www.hatterasgrandslam.com.