Fish Post

Tournament Report – Hatteras Island Surf Fishing Challenge

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Fall is here, and with it has come the first Fisherman’s Post surf fishing tournament of the season. The Hatteras Island Surf Fishing Challenge was a two-day event that took place from September 27-29, and despite the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, the 59 anglers that came to have a good time (plus win cash money and catch fish) did just that.

The HISFC gave every angler 36 hours to find the biggest bluefish, flounder, pompano, and sea mullet swimming in the suds from Rodanthe to Hatteras Inlet. For anglers wanting an extra challenge, a Slot Red Drum TWT was offered.

Darr Barshis, who lives in Hatteras nine months out of the year, had already produced a leaderboard fish by the time the first update went live on Saturday morning. “I caught the whiting just before sunrise on Saturday,” he said, referring to the third place, 1.2 lb. sea mullet that he fooled with a piece of cut shrimp.

It was Barshis’ first time fishing the HISFC, which he decided to enter due to the freedom of the tournament’s format and the fact that it doesn’t restrict anglers to a certain part of the beach. The decision paid off, because in addition to placing third in the sea mullet division, he also won the flounder division with a 1.6 lb. buzzer beater that was landed just two hours before the tournament ended.

“It was the 19th flounder of the morning,” he recalls, “but the only keeper.” With his favorite artificial bait in hand (after growing weary of small fish stealing his cut bait the day before), he had walked out just above Ramp 55 on Sunday morning with the intention of either catching a puppy drum or flounder. “I committed myself to one rod and one spot,” he said, and that commitment made him the 2018 HISFC flounder champion.

Charles Durrer, the 2018 bluefish champion, had a different strategy. “If I fish a hole for a couple of hours and nothing happens, I’m gone,” he explained. Like Barshis, Durrer placed first in one division and third in another, thanks to his 3 lb. bluefish and 0.4 lb. pompano.

The winners of the 2018 Hatteras Island Surf Fishing Challenge pose after the Hatteras Jack/Century Rods Awards Dinner at the Camp Hatteras Conference Center in Rodanthe.

Even though he fished Hatteras, Frisco, and Rodanthe (all the way up to Ramp 27) over the course of the tournament and caught around 40 fish total, both of his leaderboard fish were hooked at ramps 43 (the blue) and 44 (the pompano). The bluefish was the only one in the particular hole he was fishing, and it fell for a piece of cut bait.

The second place bluefish, which weighed 2.4 lbs., was caught by Randy Marks, and the third place money went to Dale Traxler for his 2.2 lb. blue.

In the flounder division, Jason Smith and Ryan Tarman both caught a flattie weighing 1.4 lbs., but Smith weighed his in first and therefore took the second place prize.

Linda Mauck, from Fredericksburg, VA, was the sea mullet champion thanks to the 1.4 lb. sea mullet that she got to the scales before Willie Stewart, who took second for his 1.4 lb. fish.

Stuart Davis was the 2018 pompano champion thanks to his 0.9 lb. fish, and C.A. Duke’s 0.7 lb. pompano earned him second place.

For the third year in a row, no slot red drum were caught during the HISFC.

The tournament’s main beneficiary is Hatteras Island Meals, who receives all of the money generated from selling the fish weighed in during the entire tournament.

For more information about the Hatteras Island Surf Fishing Challenge, and to see full tournament results, visit