BSA Gulf Stream Open
Raising over $37,000 for the Boy Scouts of America, the BSA Gulf Stream open was held concurrently out of Wrightsville Beach Marina and Beaufort’s Town Creek Marina on May 9-12th.
Ray Hales and the Wrightsville Beach “Eye Catcher” crew pulled off a hometown win in the event, scaling six dolphin weighing a total of 88.2 lbs. to earn first place in the event.
Hales, fishing with Burrows Smith, Rob Shand, Mel Miller, and Rick Beitel aboard his 61’ Garlington, gambled on a long run over the course of their two fishing days, and the risk paid off.
“We fished around the 280 line on Friday,” Hales explained, “and found our fish out in around 120 fathoms.”
The anglers found their best action while trolling along the cool side of a temperature break amongst some scattered grass. A spread of naked, circle hook-rigged ballyhoo and larger trolling plugs with a pair of squid daisy chain teasers produced most of their action, and they attracted the attention of more than just dolphin.
“The first day we had a blue marlin come up,” Hales continued. “It hit three different lures and we tried to get a pitch bait to it, but it turned off and we never got it hooked up.”
Aside from the marlin, Hales described a decent day of dolphin fishing that led to a trio of fish (the maximum allowed each day) headed for the scales just behind the boat’s slip at Wrightsville Beach Marina.
On Saturday morning, the crew ventured even further from home, trolling in around 100 fathoms on the 350 line in the company of some of the Morehead City charter boat fleet.
“The grass line had made up really nice on Saturday,” Hales reported, “and we caught most of our fish in around 100 fathoms.”
Again, blue marlin were in the area, as several boats tallied releases, but the “Eye Catcher” crew eked out another three dolphin to haul to the scales and ensure their victory.
Despite the successful days of fishing, the crew were unsure of whether they had enough weight to top the pack.
“You never know what the other boats have got until you get back to the dock,” said Hales.
When they did arrive at the scales, their catch handily surpassed the second place boat, and Hales credited their trolling spread for earning them the win.
“The lures absolutely caught larger fish than bait,” he explained, “and I think that’s what allowed us to win the tournament.”
Scaling five dolphin for a total of 52.1 lbs., Wrightsville Beach’s “Abigail” earned second place, and another local boat, “Safari,” was on their heels, weighing in 51.2 lbs. of dolphin. The “Safari” also scaled the event’s largest single dolphin, a 24.5 lb. fish. Oriental, NC’s “Miss Judy” earned fourth with 22.7 lbs. of dolphin they weighed in at Town Creek.
More information on the Boy Scout Gulf Stream Open and a full leaderboard are available at www.bsagulfstreamopen.org.