Tournament Report – Southport Inshore Challenge
This year’s Fisherman’s Post Southport Inshore Challenge culminated after a long, windy day of fishing, and it was Team “Sundance Skiff” winning first place with their two-flounder aggregate of 9.79 lbs. The four person team, from Chadbourn, NC, consisted of Jeff Taylor, Isaac Taylor, Deanna Taylor, and Tim Parnell.
With Hurricane Irma (scheduled to make landfall in Florida that day) affecting weather up the east coast, Team Sundance Skiff had to make some important weather-based decisions.
“We got a late start,” explained Taylor. “The wind was blowing, the bait was scattered, and it was hard to see the schools from the surface with the turbidity of the water.”
Eventually the team was able to manage a good amount of finger mullet, and they headed to their first location.
“We’ve fished this area many times before and have noted which locations to fish specifically when the wind is blowing hard from the northeast,” noted Taylor. “This location also contains the structure Tim and I like to target, which are docks and pilings.”
Once hunkered down, they started to rig up and soak baits.
Taylor added, “This time of year the mullet are bigger, so we like to fish them on #4 wide gap hooks paired with a 3/4-1 oz. egg sinker and a simple 12 to 18-inch leader.”
After not catching a flounder all morning, eventually Taylor felt something substantial. He waited to set the hook, noting that when fishing with larger-sized mullet, he lets the flounder sit and chew on the bait awhile.
That strategy apparently paid off, with the team landing a 5.37 lb. flounder and then a 4.42 lb. flounder shortly after, with both fish coming off the same piece of structure.
“We had a great time at the event,” stated Taylor. “It was very family friendly, and we enjoyed being a part of it. We knew the fishing was going to be tough, but we made the most of it and everyone had a great time.”
Second place was awarded to Team “Off Limits,” made up of Davis Julian, Will Warner, Austin Swett, and Jordan Wilkes.
Just like Team Sundance Skiff, Off Limits had a rough time finding bait, and that put them off to a late start for the day.
“Once we found the bait we wanted, we had two plans,” explained Julian. “Plan A was to go offshore and drop baits to nearshore structure, but once we rode out of the inlet and saw just how rough it was in person, we made the decision to enact plan B.”
Plan B was to head down the waterway towards Shallotte to get away from the rough conditions. “We chose to beat it out in the creeks after seeing how bad it was offshore,” Julian stated.
The team managed to land 15 flounder while hiding from the wind in the creeks around Shallotte. They noted that the majority of their fish were caught right as the tide began to fall around mid-day. Two of those flatfish were the 4.05 lb. and 2.09 lb. fish that made up their 6.14 lb. second place aggregate.
Third place was secured by Team “Davis Fence” with a 5.81 lb. two-flounder aggregate, and the Single Big Red Drum TWT was awarded to Team “Top Knotch” with a 6.51 lb. redfish.
More information on the Southport Inshore Challenge (including a complete leaderboard for the tournament) and standings in the Anglers Marine / Ranger Boats Inshore Trail (including the upcoming Carolina Beach Inshore Challenge on October 13-14) can be found at www.fishermanspost.com.