Tournament Report – CCCF Spanish Mackerel Tournament
The 10th annual CCCF Spanish Mackerel & Dolphin Fishing Tournament, based out of Beaufort and Morehead City, continued their yearly tradition of hosting a popular nearshore fishing tournament to provide tens of thousands of dollars to the Carteret Community College.
In this year’s event, the boat that took home the overall biggest spanish mackerel and the $1,000 top prize was “New Dads on the Block.” The team consisted of John Gann, Jesse Hahm, and Robbie Bittner.
Gann stated that the day, that ended with a big win, was not free of mishaps, including a late start to the day, weather issues, and difficulty finding bait. Another limiting factor was Gann was out of the state before the tournament and could not pre-fish any of his target areas.
“We had scoped out some spots for bait the day before and marked locations that were full of the size of menhaden we wanted,” said Gann. “On tournament day we could not find them. We spent some time searching, but every school we came across consisted of menhaden that were too large for our liking. Eventually we had to deal with the larger menhaden out of necessity, and we then made our way offshore.”
Gann explained that the original plan was to fish the east side of the shoals. However, the weather was too rough for the team and their 20’ boat, so they had to enact a plan B.
The backup plan was to troll around structure they thought (from previous experiences) would be holding fish. Going with this intuition, the team pushed out to AR-315, which had a couple of boats already fishing the area.
“New Dads on the Block” were trolling their larger-than-optimal live menhaden on downsized king mackerel stinger rigs. After a few drag pulls that the group felt were mackerel (but slipped the hook), as well as a few shark hookups, the team finally managed to boat a couple of spanish. The first few fish, though, were nothing extraordinary.
“By this time there were 6-7 boats fishing around us,” explained Gann, “the fishing had slowed, and the water had become full of sharks, so we made the decision to move.”
They chose to move to AR-320, a location where they did not see another vessel for the rest of the day. Gann recalled that they saw some skying fish and had a couple of good bites in the first 30 minutes of being there, but nothing really stuck. Then around 9:30 am they had a good run and managed to land a large spanish.
“We fished at that location until 1:00 pm but never caught any more spanish, just sharks,” added Gann. “The weather started to turn, so we headed in. We were tired and beat up by the rough seas and the wind.”
Their tiring day paid off, though, with a spanish mackerel weighing in at 5.575 lbs., squeezing past the second place team, “Tide One On,” that weighed in a 5.480 lb. fish.
Every year the CCCF Spanish and Dolphin Fishing Tournament provides thousands of unrestricted funds to the Carteret Community College, bringing anglers and families together and providing resources to help further the education of students.
For more information on the event, please visit www.carteretsmt.com.