Tournament Report – Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge
The 2017 Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge attracted 69 boats targeting big flounder and heavy slot red drum, and at the close of the scales, the split leaderboard was topped by impressive fish on both sides.
A monster 10.01 lb. flounder, weighed in by Justin Perry of Team Howsyourmomenem, took home first place in the flounder division. The red drum division was won by a stout 7.30 lb. redfish brought in by Scott Teeters of Team Marsh Fiddler.
Team Marsh Fiddler spent their time on the water moving around, fishing areas from the Shallotte River all the way up to Wrightsville Beach in search of feeding fish. The team was worried about the salinity of the water, as the amount of rain the waterway had been receiving the week before the event could really affect the quality of fishing.
“After finding bait, we fished a lot of different areas, but the fishing was sporadic. We went three and a half hours at one point without even a bite. The plan was to keep moving until we found fish. Eventually we made our way near the Shallotte River, targeting creeks we had fished in the past,” recalled Teeters.
Their dedication and perseverance paid off when they got hooked into what felt like a good redfish. “He was about 5 foot into a grass bed, but when they know they are hooked, eventually they will come out. When we got the red near the boat, I thought he was an over-slot, but he measured within the limits.”
After landing the 26” fish, they had a long way back to the Wrightsville Beach scales, and the storm followed them all the way back.
Team Howsyourmomenem had a less hectic day, but they still braved rough waters and weather to catch their winning fish.
Perry, fishing with Brad Herbert, chose to fish near the Mosonboro jetties, explaining the team’s thought process was that with all the rain the area had been receiving, the water near the inlet would be holding fish escaping the lower levels of salinity elsewhere.
The team bounced along the wall picking up a few flounder and drum, including a 3.49 lb. redfish that would bring the team the Aggregate prize as well.
“There were other boats fishing the walls. Some were most likely from the tournament, but I thought the majority of people would not stay out here like we were,” continued Perry. “The rain helped push the bait out, and I one hundred percent knew the fish would follow the bait.”
Perry’s logic paid off. With Herbert fishing on the front and Justin fishing near the back helping move the motor along, they got a heavy thump.
“’There he is,’ I said to Brad. I waited for the second thump and set the hook. He ran a bit parallel to the boat, almost like a puppy drum. Then he came straight up to the boat, got about two feet under, and shot straight down. After that it was like reeling in dead weight,” remembered Perry.
That heavy thump ended up being the 10.01 lb. flounder that won the event for Team Howsyourmomenem.
“You never expect to catch a fish like that, and when you do, it’s definitely something to write home about. To add that it was during a tournament makes me very fortunate and thankful.”
More information on the Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge, including a full leaderboard for the event (as well as information on the ongoing Anglers Marine/Ranger Inshore Tournament Trail and the upcoming Southport Inshore Challenge on Sept. 8-9) can be found at www.fishermanspost.com.