Tournament Report – Hatteras Island Surf Fishing Challenge
In the 2nd annual Fisherman’s Post Hatteras Island Surf Fishing Challenge, anglers selecting to fish this year did so between two hurricanes that were lying off the coast. Amidst high seas and the heavy shore break, surf casters competed to weigh in the heaviest bluefish, pompano, founder, sea mullet, and slot red drum.
The largest bluefish that hit the beach was caught by Richard Hienrich. The blue fell for a chunk of mullet in the surf near Hatteras Village.
Heinrich entered the tournament planning to fish the area near Hatteras Village, an area he has fished in the past, but he also knew that he would more than likely need to move around in order to find fish in the not-so-ideal weather.
“I had to experiment to keep bait on the bottom, and then the challenge was finding fish to take that bait,” explained Heinrich. “I use a custom double drop rig and prefer using sputnik style weights. At one point I was using up to 10 oz. to keep the bait on the bottom.”
Heinrich’s hard work paid off with a 1.6 lb. bluefish that won the first place prize money. Second place was won by Stephen M. Perlot with a 1.4 lb. fish, and third went to Anthony Thomas with a 1.0 lb. blue.
The pompano division champion was Danny Fletcher with a 0.4 lb. pompano. Second went to Ashley Bahen with a 0.3 lb. pompano, and third was awarded to Gale Johnson with a 0.3 lb. fish (weighed in later than Bahen’s).
The flounder division, as well as Lady Angler title, went to Ashley Bahen, a member of the Queen Mackerels Fishing Team, with a 1.9 lb. flounder.
Though the tournament started at midnight, Bahen chose to start early Saturday morning when the water would be calmer. Bahen not only caught the largest and only flounder, but she also was the only angler that weighed in a fish in all four categories, plus red drum.
“I was fishing near ramp 40, and I had two rods out: one for fishing in the wash using small pieces of mullet and sand flea scented Fishbites, and one for casting farther out using primarily chunks of mullet on larger hooks,” said Bahen. “I casted out the smaller rod with small Fishbites and was preparing to launch the other when the little rod went off.”
The fish on the end of the smaller rod was the 1.9 lb. flounder that took the honors (and prize money) in the flounder division.
First place sea mullet went to Danny Fletcher with a 0.8 lb. mullet. Second place was awarded to Stephen Perlot with a 0.6 lb. fish, and third was won by Ashley Bahen with a 0.5 lb. mullet.
This year’s Slot Red Drum TWT was won by Richard Foust. Foust was using standard double drop rigs paired with a 6 or 7 oz. weight for the entirety of the tournament.
“I had him out of the surf pretty quickly,” remembered Foust about his winning red drum, “but he managed to give up a good fight in the shallows. At times half of his body was out of the water, but he kept swimming hard, not wanting to give up.”
Foust got the hard fighting drum in, and the official weight was 6.2 lbs.
The second place red drum was a 5.2 lb. fish caught by Richard Heinrich, and third place went to Richard Osborne with a 4.4 lb. red drum.
Proceeds from the sale of all tournament fish, kindly purchased by Harbor House Seafood, go to Hatteras island Meals, a non-profit serving anyone on Hatteras Island who is unable for whatever reason to prepare nutritious meals for themselves.
For a full leaderboard and more information on the Hatteras Island Surf Fishing Challenge (and other Fisherman’s Post surf fishing events), visit www.fishermanspost.com.