A colossal catch
Published 9:23 pm Friday, June 26, 2015
It was the second year for the Normal Man’s Offshore Fishing Tournament, and it was another prime opportunity for Parker Blair of Suffolk, now 9 years old, to add to his impressive list of accomplishments as a fisherman.
Like last year, he won the tournament’s Top Junior Angler award, and this year, he added to it the Largest Dolphin award, for catching a 31-pounder, and the Most Billfish Released, for contributing to the boat’s total.
After last year’s tournament, he conveyed the following future goal: “I want marlin trophies and stuff.”
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He took a big step in the right direction this year by catching his first marlin — a 250-pound blue marlin.
“It took about 45 minutes to get it in, and it almost snapped the line,” he said. “I think it was like 350-pound test.”
Since last year’s tourney, it had been the goal of Parker and longtime family friend Garrett Holden for Parker to catch a blue marlin.
The first hint that the goal was achieved came with the marlin’s pull.
“It almost took all the line out of the reel,” Parker said, and Holden sounded the alarm. “Right when the line started going, he went, ‘Blue marlin! Blue marlin!’”
With the the marlin on his line, Parker thought, “Mine, it’s all mine.”
As far as reeling it in, he admitted he needed lot of help on that one.
“I would reel, then my friend would reel, then my dad would reel,” Parker said, but his dad, Richard Blair, noted that his son stayed in the chair the whole time.
Holden said it looked like Parker was getting tired.
“We gave him some words of encouragement and he did it, he knocked it out,” Holden said. “People go their whole lives, and they don’t ever see a blue marlin.”
In a way, it is fitting that Parker has not only seen one but caught one, all before his 10th birthday.
“He caught his first fish like a month before he turned two,” said his mother, Elizabeth Blair.
He has been going offshore fishing for at least three years now.
For the recent tournament, Parker, his father, Holden and a group fished out of Wanchese, N.C. on June 6 and 20. Across those two days, Parker caught five fish, including the blue marlin.
He caught the largest dolphin of fisherman of all ages.
“I’m proud of him,” Elizabeth Blair said of Parker after his second year of accolades. “He’s a shy kid, and so this is something that brings him out of his shell. He’s an old soul, and we joke on him that he’s 40, and he just gets on the boat with those guys and falls right into place with them.”
She added, “He’s one of the guys, and he loves it, and it’s something he can do with Richard, so it’s perfect.”
Now that he has achieved the goal of catching a marlin, Parker noted his next goal is to catch more of them.
He plans to participate in the third annual Normal Man’s Offshore Fishing Tournament next year, but is looking forward to more fishing opportunities with his dad this year.
“We’re getting our new boat, and we might go offshore with that, but not in tournaments or anything,” he said.