SANDESTIN — It Just Takes Time?

It turns out an hour and a half was long enough for angler Nick Pratt, who reeled in a 114-inch blue marlin aboard It Just Takes Time just after the sun rose Saturday on the second day of the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic.

By 7 p.m., as Sandestin’s Baytowne Marina was brimming with onlookers ready to catch a glimpse of the tournament’s first blue marlin to be brought in, the early benchmark was set.

574.8 pounds, the scales read.

Cue the audible gasp of the standing room-only crowd. Cue the cellphones snapping pictures furiously.

“We had an excellent hit first thing in the morning,” Pratt said. “We were all ready to go.”

Pratt had caught a blue marlin last year in the Biloxi, Mississippi, showcase, just one of the five competitive billfish tournaments in the Gulf of Mexico. This one was bigger.

And it could potentially come with it a large cash prize. Six figures large.

At worst, if it finishes first it’ll bring in $330,000. If no other blue marlin are caught for Sunday's weigh-ins — set to begin at 2 p.m. with boats having to pass the Marler Bridge in Destin by 4 p.m. to be eligible — it’ll clear about $596,000.

“That’d be glorious,” said Pratt, who was up most of the night before navigating rough seas after a delayed start to the showcase.

Right as he woke up, the marlin took the bait.

“It wasn’t too bad,” Pratt said of the fight. "It was an excellent experience. That’s the best feeling in the world to bring in a blue marlin knowing it’s big enough to kill.”

It Just Takes Time was one of 80 boats that left Friday morning after the delayed start to the ECBC, which has a projected prize money purse of $1,862,375. Within an hour of setting the benchmark, Pratt and Co. were back out on the water looking to pad their tournament résumé.

His catch is short of last year’s winning catch, which was 699.2 pounds and reeled in by Can’t Deny It. Two years ago, it was a 553-pound blue marlin brought in by Don’t Blink.

Rise Up snagged an 838.2-pound blue marlin three years ago, and the year before that it was an ECBC-record 899.6-pound blue marlin reeled in by Cotton Patch.