Billy Thorpe

Tournament – Rob Tennille Masonboro Inlet Sportfishing Tournament

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In 1988, local Wrightsville Beach angler Rob Tennille started a small fishing tournament that he called The Bearded Clam Classic. Over the years, the name of the tournament changed, as did the people running it, but the event remains a small, “almost invitational” affair that allows friends and family to get together on the last weekend of April and start the offshore season with a little healthy competition.

The tournament took on a whole new meaning when Tennille passed away in 2012. Now called the Rob Tennille Masonboro Inlet Sportfishing Tournament, it serves as a memorial and lives on in honor of its founder. Bobby Brown, who has been running the tournament for three years, says, “We’ll pretty much do it as long as we can.”

The two-day tournament is held out of Wrightsville Beach Marina, and in 2018 it now consists of six categories: billfish release, biggest tuna, biggest dolphin, biggest wahoo, largest aggregate of the three species, and junior angler.

Team “Dock Fees” won the biggest tuna category with a 28.7 lb. fish. The rest of the categories (aside from billfish release and junior angler) were taken by “Horse” and its captain, Les Edwards. “Horse” had a dolphin weighing in at 19.47 lbs., a wahoo going 48.85 lbs., and a 21.38 lb. tuna that brought their winning total aggregate to 89.7 lbs.

There were no billfish caught, and the inaugural junior angler award went to Michael Black with his 40 lb. aggregate.

“He’s a good kid,” Brown said of Black. “He’s grown up fishing, and he is in love with it.” Brown went on to say that the junior angler award was inspired by Black’s passion for fishing.

In addition to the junior angler award, this was also the first year that the Honorable Rob Tennille Award was given out. The award and a trophy, made by Hanes Hoffman, was given to Bob Tennille, the tournament founder’s father, who fishes the competition every year. The traditional Championship Belt, which is held for a year by the winner of the tournament, went to Les Edwards and “Horse.”