Bald Head Island Rodeo
Scaling 169.60 lbs. of wahoo and dolphin, Capt. John Munroe and the “Office II” fishing team earned first place and $10,000 in the 21st Annual Bald Head Island Fishing Rodeo, held May 30-June 3 out of Bald Head Marina.
Also aboard the Munroe’s 33’ L&H for the tournament were Austin Marxe, John King, Sam Koonce, Eric Davis, and Daryl, Cindy, and Chase Early.
The crew struck out on Thursday morning, the first day of the event, for a temperature break inshore of the Same Ol’ Hole that they’d found on a satellite surface temperature shot.
“We found that break and there was a lot of weed out there,” Munroe said. “We found a pretty good school of fish and hooked three of the ones we weighed in one pass.”
Skirted ballyhoo fooled the crew’s dolphin, with pink/white proving to be the hot color of the day. Their Day 1 catch included the 24.9 lb. dolphin that earned Cindy Early the event’s Top Lady Angler honors.
Back at the scales, four of their dolphin met the tournament’s 15 lb. minimum, good for a total of 94 lbs. and the lead after the opening day of competition.
“We went back to the same area on Friday,” Munroe explained, “but I don’t think the fish were as hungry as they were the day before.”
Despite the slower bite, Chase Early did land a 20.6 lb. wahoo that bit a squid daisy chain on a monofilament leader.
“We got lucky on that one,” Munroe said.
After continuing to fish the area for the remainder of the morning, the crew got a call of a better bite to the north around noon and decided to make a run.
“We got a tip from the ‘Abigail’ about a better bite about 20 miles up the break,” Munroe explained, “so we ran up there.”
Though the fishing wasn’t red hot, the late change of venue paid off, and the “Office II” anglers did land two more dolphin in the mid-20’s that anchored their winning aggregate weight.
With a day left in the captain’s choice, fish two-out-of-three day tournament, Munroe and his anglers had to sit at the dock on Saturday and hope no other teams eclipsed their poundage total.
“We were a little nervous,” Munroe recalled. “There were a lot of boats fishing, and one boat came in with a 66 lb. wahoo, so that was tough to watch.”
Though they came close, none of the other boats were able to match the “Office II” catch, and the anglers held onto the top spot in the event until they took the stage at the awards ceremony.
Capt. Carrol Thomas and the crew of the “Reel Quick” were right on the winners’ heels, scaling 162 lbs. of qualifying fish to earned second place. They also took home the billfish release prize for a pair of sailfish releases. Joe Seegers and the “Hooked Up” hauled 140.40 lbs. of fish to take third.
The Bald Head Fishing Rodeo is serves as a fundraiser for the Old Baldy Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving Old Baldy, the island’s historic lighthouse.