Tournament Report – Inshore Trail Championship
Not a lot of anglers can say they’ve won a fishing tournament, and even fewer can say they’ve won two. But how many can say they’ve won two, back-to-back, in two days?
Brothers Sam and Mark Daughtry, of Team Parker, certainly can. After winning the red drum division and placing third in the flounder division at the Fisherman’s Post Carolina Beach Inshore Challenge on October 13, Team Parker turned around and took first in the red drum division and second in the flounder division at the Trail Championship on October 14, the very next day.
Team Parker was one of sixteen Inshore Tournament Trail teams that qualified for the Championship, which was held out of Inlet Watch Marina near Carolina Beach. The one-day, invite-only Championship was the final event in the Inshore Tournament Trail, which was comprised of five tournaments (Ocean Isle, Topsail, Wrightsville Beach, Southport, and Carolina Beach).
Speaking of their Sunday win, Sam remarked that Team Parker’s strategy was no different than it had been the previous day. They knew fall fishing was good off the beach, and after catching trophy fish in a couple of different spots on Saturday, they also knew exactly where to look on Sunday. Unfortunately, the conditions weren’t as cooperative on their second trip out.
They anchored up on the same nearshore ledge that had held their third place CBIC flounder, but this time they were bracing against an onslaught of 4-5’ swells. Luckily, their fish came quick. “We got fortunate,” Sam admits, adding that they caught five slot reds and five flounder total. “If the fish are biting at a spot, you fish it.” By 11:00, they had a leading flounder and the biggest slot red of the tournament in their boat.
And while Parker was able to hold onto that red drum top spot all day, their flounder dreams would be dashed at the last second by Ricky Evans and Sea Squirrel, whose buzzer-beater flatfish beat Parker’s by 0.08 of a pound.
“We caught that fish with 30 minutes left in the tournament,” Evans recalls. Sea Squirrel, whose team also includes Scott Blevins and Bradley Rickard, had lost two big fish earlier in the day under the Wrightsville Beach Bridge, but they weren’t going to give up hope until they had something big to bring to the scales. Their first place fish fell for a live mullet.
“I thank God for a great day of fishing,” Evans said, “and I dedicate this win to ‘Cool Daddy’.” He chuckled and added, “Everyone will know who that is.”
In the red drum division, Loose Screws took second with a 5.40 lb. red, and Pork Chop rounded out the top three with a 4.94 lb. fish.
Muddy Snatch and their 2.23 lb. flatfish took third place in the flounder division.
The Fisherman’s Post Inshore Tournament Trail will return in its same format in 2019. Both the flounder and the red drum division will be limited to the first 50 boats, and registration will open the first week of 2019.