Tournament Report – Ocean Isle Inshore
This past weekend marked the 5th annual Ocean Isle Inshore Challenge, the first of five inshore events that comprise the 2017 Angler’s Marine/Ranger Inshore Tournament Trail. This year the event attracted 52 boats in search of the winning single big red drum and single big flounder.
Jim Strickland and his two sons, Jimmy and Robert, came out on top of the flounder leaderboard with the biggest fish of the day, landing an 8.36 lb. flatfish.
The “Three Stricklands” fishing team caught menhaden Saturday morning by blind casting into the dark, and then they started wetting lines in the Southport area.
“We moved around Southport and didn’t do well in the morning. We caught one or two fish by noon but no keepers,” said Jim.
The team then headed south, passing under the Oak Island Bridge and fishing docks on the back of Oak Island. It was the second Oak Island dock they fished that produced the big 8.36 lb. flattie.
“My son said he had a bite, and he waited around 30 seconds before he set the hook,” noted Jim. Jimmy was using a homemade rig and a live menhaden on the incoming tide, and as the big fish drew near the boat, he watched his dad net the fish.
Fortunately and unfortunately, the fish was big enough to take the win, but too big to fit in the bait tank, leaving the team unable to keep the fish alive for the live weigh-in bonus.
Team Lee’s Equipment, made up of Chris Lee and Wayne Crisco, took second place on the flounder leaderboard with a 5.94 lb. fish, and Sam Canady came in third place with a 4.72 lb. flattie.
Brandon Sauls and his partner Clay Morphis, of “Bone Crusher,” started the day out with three different types of baits: live pogies, shrimp, and mud minnows.
“We moved all around that day, hitting almost every dock from Ocean Isle to Sunset Beach,” Morphis said while laughing about their search. The team fished many docks that they had caught fish on in the past, but the action on tournament day was slow. Then they moved off the beach to the Jim Caudle to flounder fish for an hour. There they only managed to catch a few smaller flounder.
The team went back to the Shallotte River, and soon after they finally began to catch drum by targeting oyster beds. The team caught a 22” fish and then a 26.75” fish on consecutive casts. The 26.75” fish weighed in at 6.74 lbs., enough for the top spot on the leaderboard.
Will Callihan and Team Scales took second with a 6.62 lb. redfish, and Travis Overman, of Bazen Custom Rods, took third place with a 6.47 lb. red.
For a full leaderboard on the Ocean Isle Inshore Challenge, as well as the current standings of the 2017 Inshore Trail, please visit www.FishermansPost.com.
The next Trail event will be the Topsail Inshore Challenge on July 14-15.