Fisherman Loses $900,000 Marlin Because of a $5 Fishing License

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Losing $900,000 and a record blue marlin because of a $5 mistake could make anyone want to hang up their hat.

Via Deadspin:

A tournament fisherman caught an 883-pound blue marlin off North Carolina that would have won him a $912,000 first prize, but one of the crew members on his boat didn’t have a fishing license. So….disqualified. Oops.

Image: Deadspin
Image: Deadspin

Andy Thomossan thought he had set a new record at the Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament, when his monster catch was easily the largest one pulled out of the water during the week-long event. But during a standard post-contest lie detector test organizers discovered that one of the “for-hire mates” on his boat did not have a North Carolina fishing license. The tournament rules require everyone on the crew to have one, even the chum wranglers whose only responsibilities include baiting hooks and keeping the beer cold. Carolina residents can purchase a 10-day license for $5.

Thomossan said he first got wind something might be wrong at Saturday night’s awards banquet, and Sunday morning the tournament sent out a news release that said the board of directors was withholding presentation of the prize money until “an alleged rules violation by the top team has been totally researched.”


Thomossan did not appreciate the irony.

 “It hurts,” said angler Andy Thomossan. “No record. No money. No fish. No nothing. Yep, it’s a nice ending to the story, isn’t it?”

“We didn’t do anything wrong. But one of our people did. He failed to get a fishing license, but we didn’t know it. He told us he had it. He didn’t. So you take a man for his word, you know? I can’t do anything.”

Fishing without a license in North Carolina carries a $35 fine and $125 in court costs, plus about a million bucks to anyone you happen to screw out of a record jackpot. This scofflaw also might end up fishing with Fredo, if you catch my drift.

This story originally ran in 2010 and has recently gone viral again because of Reddit – the legal proceedings took several years following this event. We’ll have a follow-up story very soon. In the meantime, make sure to know your local rules AND buy a fishing license!

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