A top-notch start

Published 6:00 pm Saturday, June 21, 2014

Eight-year-old Parker Blair of Suffolk caught 10 fish in the recent Normal Man's Offshore Fishing Tournament to earn the event's Top Junior Angler award. He also helped power his group to win Top Boat, as it caught 28 fish.

Eight-year-old Parker Blair reels in a tuna fish while fishing out of Wanchese, N.C. during the recent Normal Man’s Offshore Fishing Tournament. He caught six tuna fish that day.

Parker Blair of Suffolk developed a favorite pastime of fishing at an early age and recently hit the ground running on the competitive level in his first fishing tournament.

He brought in the most fish of any other young fishermen competing in the Normal Man’s Offshore Fishing Tournament to win the Top Junior Angler award.

And he is only 8 years old.

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“It feels good,” he said of already having his first fishing honor.

The first-time tournament, hosted by Mark Brinkley, allowed nine boats, with about four to five people per boat, to go out two times over the course of a week.

Parker and his father, Richard Blair, went with a group out of Hatteras in North Carolina on June 8. On that trip, Parker caught four mahi-mahi.

Father and son again went with a group on June 12 and fished out of Wanchese, N.C. This time, Parker caught six tuna fish, including a 42-pounder.

“He had a really good day, so for him to have caught a (42)-pound tuna, that’s a pretty big deal for a kid his age, there’s no doubt,” Brinkley said. “That’s what really pushed him ahead of the other junior anglers.”

Taking into account the 10 fish he caught total, Brinkley said, “He smoked everybody else by a pretty big lead.”

“It was great,” Richard Blair said of his son’s accomplishment. “I was glad to see it.”

He knew Parker’s prior experience played a big role in his success.

“It wasn’t his first time out,” Richard Blair said. “He’s had plenty of experience over the years.”

Elizabeth Blair, Parker’s mother, confirmed that fishing has provided bonding time for father and son. She said Parker’s “been fishing since he was 2, and he went offshore the first time when he was 5.”

He does not struggle with seasickness, and he does not let anything get in the way of his time with a rod in his hands.

His mother said he expressed interest in playing football at one point.

“Well, that’s practice Monday through Friday and a Saturday game,” she reported saying. “He’s like, ‘Nope!’ I said, ‘You don’t want to do it?’ He said, ‘Nope, that messes up my fishing time.’

Parker affirmed his commitment to being an angler when recalling his dad’s question when he goes out to fish.

“He always says, ‘Do you want to go?’” Parker said. “And I say, ‘You know the answer.’”

He outlined a future goal he would like to achieve to follow up his inaugural fishing tournament performance.

“I want Marlin trophies and stuff,” he said.