Topsail Island Fall Surf Fishing Challenge
Featuring seven divisions, four weigh stations, and 36 hours of competition along the Topsail Island beachfront, the Fisherman’s Post Topsail Island Surf Fishing Challenge was a marathon event that tested participants’ stamina as well as their surf fishing skills. The event was held out of East Coast Sports and the island’s three fishing piers October 3-5.
Ohio’s William Levier rose to the challenge and weighed the event’s largest fish, a 10.8 lb. bluefish that more than doubled his nearest competition in that category. Fishing a few miles south of Surf City Pier, Levier had already held and lost the bluefish lead with a 3.5 lb. fish he weighed in on Saturday.
Sunday morning he began fishing around 7:30 and had cast a chunk of mullet into a beachfront slough and turned to bait another rod when his attention was drawn back to the first.
“That fish bit and about pulled the rod out of the holder,” Levier explained.
After he grabbed the rod, it took the angler about 5 minutes to get the fish to the sand, and he didn’t know it was a blue at first.
“I assumed it was a drum and when I got it up on the beach I knew it would be too big,” Levier continued. “It did jump a few times and I’ve never had a drum do that.”
Jeremy Fisher captured the second place bluefish at 4.1 lbs., and Brenda Reardon’s 3.3 lb. blue was good for third.
Marcus Goodman, of Salisbury, NC, earned the bounty for the event’s heaviest flounder with a 2.2 lb. flatfish. Goodman fished the same section of beach at New River Inlet where he’d seen his neighbor land the winning flatfish in the spring Topsail Island Surf Fishing Challenge, and the move paid off.
His valuable flatfish struck a live finger mullet around 11:30 on Saturday morning as he was casting around the point at New River Inlet and he knew he’d caught something noteworthy when he landed it.
“I was really excited and went and weighed that fish in while it was still alive,” Goodman said.
A 1.9 lb. flatfish earned second place on that leaderboard for James Bryant, and Harold Watson also weighed in a 1.9 but did it 90 minutes after Bryant’s fish to finish third.
Robert Davis, of Waxhaw, NC, topped the event’s black drum leaderboard with a 2.5 lb. fish. Davis fished a section of North Topsail Beach for the event and landed his black drum soon after the event began at midnight on Friday.
A fresh shrimp fooled the drum around 12:30 Saturday morning, and Davis took the lead in the event with the first black drum weighed.
“I didn’t know if it would hold up, but my daughter kept checking the leaderboard and calling me,” Davis explained. “First place surprised me.”
Gregorio Almaguer’s 2.2 lb. black drum was good for second place, and Richard Walton earned third with a 2.1 lb. fish.
Salisbury’s Jimmy Shoaf secured first place in the whiting category with a 1.7 lb. fish he landed on Sunday morning. Shoaf was fishing around 500 yards north of Surf City Pier and hooked his valuable whiting on a bloodworm fished on the back side of a sandbar.
“I thought that had to be close to a winner compared to the fish I’d been seeing,” Shoaf explained. His hunch proved correct as the scales closed three hours later.
Chris Hager took second place whiting with a 1.4 lb. fish, and Steve Tysinger’s 1.2 lb. fish secured third place.
A 0.8 lb. pompano earned Bradley Bollinger first place on that leaderboard, with a trio of .7 lb. fish nipping at his heels. Richard Walton and Michael Davis weighed their .7 pomps first to finish second and third respectively.
The tournament also features a Red Drum Calcutta, which Gregorio Alamguer, of Richlands, NC, topped handily with a 7.0 lb. slot red drum. He’d already weighed in the second place black drum when the big red bit a live finger mullet early on Sunday morning and the fish fended off the nearest competition by nearly a pound.
Daniel Smith weighed the event’s first 6.2 lb. red drum at 2:24 AM Saturday morning to take second in the side pool, and Randy Dunn came up with an identical fish on Sunday morning to secure third.
More information on the Topsail Island Fall Surf Fishing Challenge and all Fisherman’s Post events along with a full leaderboard can be found at www.fishermanspost.com.