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Tournament Report – Topsail Spring Surf and Pier Fishing Challenge

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Fisherman’s Post’s first tournament of the year, the Topsail Island Spring Surf & Pier Fishing Challenge, kicked off this past weekend, May 5-7, along the entire stretch of Topsail Island. Surf anglers took on surf anglers and pier anglers battled pier anglers in four fish categories, with an optional red drum TWT offered for both surf and pier divisions.

Friday got the event off to windy start, with anglers taking to the beaches and piers for 36 hours of fishing starting at midnight with hopes of bringing in leaderboard fish.

Bobby Coker, of Kenly, brought the winning black drum over the rails at Jolly Roger Pier to clinch the win for the pier black drum division. Weighing in at 5.7 lbs., the fish was caught on live shrimp on a bottom rig, and as soon as he landed the fish, he ran it straight to the scale on Saturday morning. “It was still flopping,” Coker said with a laugh. “I wasn’t sure it would be a winning fish. I thought it would take at least an 8 lb. fish to win.” The fish was also enough to win Coker the $50 prize for the senior division. Following close behind him was Tim Chavez, of North Topsail Beach, with a 3 lb. bluefish.

Robert Lee, of Benson, landed a 6 lb. bluefish Saturday evening off Surf City Pier. “I had a good idea that it might be a winning fish, but you never know how the leaderboard changes.” The bluefish also helped secure the Pier Cup another season for Surf City Pier, where it will again remain until the next Topsail tournament. Brad Woodyard, of Winston-Salem, took second place with a 0.9 bluefish.

The pier sea mullet division was won by Delmo Lanier, of Wallace, with a 1.2 lb. fish from Jolly Roger Pier’s plaks. Following close behind him was his brother, Glenn Lanier, with a 1.1 lb. fish.

The winners in the 2017 Topsail Spring Surf & Pier Fishing Challenge pose with their checks and plaques following the event’s Awards Dinner and Ceremony.

Phaeng Sittiphanh, of Morganton, caught the winning flounder at the 11th hour, landing a 1.5 lb. flounder off Seaview Pier fifteen minutes before the scales closed. Running in to the ruler and scale, the 16” fish was enough for him to take first place. Runner up went to Gregorio Vazquez, of Richlands, whose 1.1 lb. flatfish gave him second place.

The surf division had its share of impressive fish, with Sara E. Winslow, of Hertford, landing an 11.4 lb. chopper blue. The fish, which was caught on the south end at dead low tide on cut pinfish, was the clear winner in the surf bluefish division. “I figured it was in the money, considering the size,” she said with a laugh about the fish. The 11.4 lb. fish also gave her the win in the lady angler division. Second place went to Charles Hawley, with another impressive bluefish at 10.7 lbs.

Todd Neubauer, of Mint Hill, took the surf black drum division with a 4.1 lb. black drum caught on shrimp. “We fished hard all weekend and took advantage of the breaks in the weather. I wasn’t sure if it was a winner, since last year all the fish were over 5 lbs., but I knew the fish was a decent size,” said Neubauer. Robert Davis, of Waxhaw, took the second place spot in the division with a 3.7 lb. fish.

The surf sea mullet division was won by William Levier, of Surf City, with a 1.5 lb. fish, and second place went to Trent Hall, of Wilmington, with a 1.3 lb. fish.

The surf red drum TWT was won by William Clardy, of Hampstead, with a 6.9 lb. fish. “I knew it was a good fish, but it was barely lip hooked,” said Clardy of fighting the fish. The fish fell for cut mullet on the south end. Richard Foust, of Climax, took second in the TWT with a 6.4 lb. fish.

The junior angler category was won by William Green III, of Conway, who regained his title this year with a 0.5 lb. sea mullet.

For a full leaderboard and more information on the Topsail Spring Surf & Pier Fishing Challenge and all Fisherman’s Post’s events, visit