$3.5M prize money at stake as massive marlin disqualified from tournament

This is no fish tale but a bitter reality. At the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in North Carolina on Sunday, a whopper of a 619-pound** blue marlin was disqualified, causing the crew of the boat Sensation to miss out on a cool $3.5 million prize. The crew had initially netted not just the tournament's first marlin to crack the 500-pound mark, but also a potential victory–until officials spotted bite marks on the fish's side and decided it had been "mutilated" before being landed.

"It's the final hour, the final day and we fought with him for six hours," Sensation captain Greg McCoy told The Washington Post. "It's a tough pill to swallow."

Tournament officials released a statement on Sunday: "It was deemed that the fish was mutilated before it was landed or boated and therefore it was disqualified."

The International Game Fish Association says a fish is ineligible to win if is suffers damage "prior to landing or boating the catch, caused by sharks, other fish, mammals, or propellers that remove or penetrate the flesh."

The coveted tournament title and its accompanying $2.77 million cash prize was instead awarded to the team aboard the Sushi, whose marlin weighed in at a still-impressive 484.5 pounds.

**that's nearly 281 kilograms for you metric system aficionados.