Tournament Report – Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge
Instead of sharing fish stories over the last few weeks, anglers have been resigned to comparing sizes of the storms that have recently been rolling through the area. Wind, rain, and lightning have been a constant presence over the inshore waters lately, and attendance at the 13th annual 2018 Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge suffered just a little bit because of it.
Still, 66 teams decided to take a chance anyway, and on July 28 they were rewarded with (mostly) clear skies and a great day of fishing.
Hosted out of Wild Wing Cafe and the Wrightsville Beach Marina, the WBIC gives anglers ten hours to find the biggest red drum and/or flounder in the area, and the event rewards each of those catches with a guaranteed $1000 check courtesy of Donat/Goodwin/Sledzik Real Estate Group & Landmark Sotheby’s International Realty.
The winner of the red drum division was “Simple Life,” comprised of Jason Shi, Wynne Harrington, and Matt Smith. They weighed in their redfish late in the day, but at 7.37 lbs., it was big enough to take the lead and hold onto it.
Shi said that the team had initially wanted to fish the Masonboro jetty, but their strategy quickly fell apart at about 6:15 am when a fuel pump went out. They ended up sticking close to the marina in order to play it safe, starting the day focused on flounder. Out of the nine flatties they brought over the rails, though, not one of them was over 15”.
Morale was low around noon as they switched gears and started focusing on red drum. They wouldn’t end up catching a redfish until 2:30, and at 25.5”, they knew that the fish wasn’t a winner but figured they needed to bring something to weigh in. They decided to try a few more casts and then pack it in.
Then, close to 3:00 pm, their luck changed as something big hit the “tiny little finger mullet” that they were fishing near some backwater docks. Shi remembered, “The fish made 3 or 4 exciting runs and came dangerously close to the anchor line.” There was a lot of excitement as they finally got their red in the boat, knowing they had something good.
In the flounder division, “Spotting Tails” would get their winning fish a little earlier in the day. Dave Clem, Bob Carr, and Colt Phillips, all of the Carolina Angler Fishing Club, waited until the last minute to register for the tournament due to the weather, but they were glad that they did. The team started in Carolina Beach Inlet, focusing on both flounder and redfish. After catching a few under/lower-slot reds, they fished a few more spots with no real luck. Then they decided to try “Plan C,” which involved travelling into the river.
They caught their 5.57 lb. flounder shortly after on “the biggest mullet [they] could find,” and headed to the marina to weigh it in. Carr said that they had no idea that their fish had won first place until they saw the leaderboard at the awards ceremony.
Team “Fishin’ Bill$” (Chris Swinney, Jordan Dike, and Will Monroe) also loved looking at that leaderboard, as their name appeared on it in five different places. Their 4.67 lb. flounder and 6.87 lb. red drum won them third in the flounder division and TWT, fifth in the red drum division, and first in the Aggregate division and TWT.
The Lady and Junior Angler prizes went to Wendy and Ava Moore, of “Cuttin’ Loose,” while the top senior angler was Coke Gray, of “Tiffany & Co.”
The WBIC is the third tournament in the 2018 Fisherman’s Post Inshore Tournament Trail.
For full WBIC results and Tournament Trail standings, visit www.FishermansPost.com.