Sarah Gagliardo

Tournament Report – March 23, 2017

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Anglers hit the water January 14, 2017, for the 2017 Cape Fear River Watch StriperFest, and Bill Murray and Mike Nevin, guided by Capt. Jeff Wolfe, were two of the more successful anglers. Bringing home the awards for Aggregate Team, Largest Striped Bass, and Senior Angler, the team had a productive day of striper fishing on the Cape Fear River.

Nevin, fishing StriperFest with Capt. Wolfe, of Seahawk Inshore Fishing Charters, for the second time in three years, said the team got out early in the morning and tried a number of areas.

“We didn’t have a lot of luck initially. The railroad bridge was down, limiting our area of fishing. It was high tide when we hit the water, and our luck began to change as the tide fell,” explained Nevin.

“We really did have to wait for the tide to turn to produce the fish,” agreed Wolfe. “We stayed down in the Cape Fear instead of running up into the northeast part of the river like a bunch of the other guys. Once we hit one creek mouth and caught some fish, we kept our concentration on similar areas.”

Using a combination of trolling Rapalas and 4” swim shad, the team netted a total of 7 fish during the day.

“The big fish that I caught was around 2:00 pm. It was well into the falling tide, and it was about the fifth fish we caught that day,” said Nevin. “Once we got up the Cape Fear River and hit one of the creeks that drained out from the rice fields, he just inhaled it. I casted out, he hit it hard, and I knew he was a good sized fish.”

The 31.5” striper was enough to win Nevin the Senior Angler as well as Largest Striped Bass awards, and combined with another fish, it got the team to 53” to win the Aggregate Team spot as well.

“I am as stoked as I could be with how we did, especially as I don’t fish up the northeast as much,” said Wolfe.

Mike Nevin with the largest fish caught during the 2017 Cape Fear StriperFest. The fish measured in at 31.5” and fell for a 4” swim shad. Nevin was fishing with Capt. Jeff Wolfe of Seahawk Inshore Fishing Charters.

The StriperFest 2017 Team Champions, with 7 striped bass tagged and released, were Ted Poucher and Leo Spencer, guided by Capt. Rennie Clark of Tournament Trail Charters.

“We started slow, and we were pretty blind. I had been targeting redfish up to tournament time, so it took a while to find the fish,” said Clark.

“We found some small fish schooling, but we couldn’t get a bite. We finally stuck the first striper, and it was around 23 inches, landed just before Leo stuck another on a Category 5 tiger bait attached to a Striper Eye jighead.”

Clark added that once they had a little confidence going, the tide turned and they decided to hit his “A” spots. The next three fish were landed right at 2:00 pm, and the very next spot yielded two more fish to end the day.

Ted Poucher with one of seven stripers caught while fishing with teammate Leo Spencer and Capt. Rennie Clark of Tournament Trail Charters. The team won the 2017 StriperFest Team Champions award.

“It was a good trip, and the guys were some of the best people I’ve had on the boat,” said Clark. “They were positive, living life and happy. Really first class human beings.”

For more information on StriperFest, including full results, visit the Cape Fear River Watch website at www.capefearriverwatch.org.