Tournament Reports – 14th Annual Johnnie Mercer’s Pier Dogfish Tournament
The 14th annual Johnnie Mercer’s Pier Dogfish Tournament was held this year on January 26. The event gives pier anglers a chance to enjoy some healthy competition and win prizes during the pier’s off-season, when there’s typically not a lot going on.
Al Baird, the event’s director, says that the winter tournament is designed to “get people out over the water when they normally wouldn’t want to do it.” Baird is also the founder of the North Carolina Pier Fishing Society, which was created in 2003 to promote fishing on North Carolina piers.
The 2019 Dogfish Tournament saw 121 anglers (just one less than last year) pay for 231 badges. Anglers as young as nine took to the pier under the January sun and cast their lines out with hopes of finding the biggest dogfish in the waters around Johnnie Mercer’s. Over the course of the seven hour event, nineteen spiny dogfish would be reeled in, totaling 116.5 lbs. Though the tournament started at 1:00 pm, most of the catches were made after dark.
The anglers with the top three biggest fish walked away with a season pass to the pier as a reward for their fishing prowess. Nathan Chang came in first place with his 9.0 lb. fish, while Joel Love took a very close second with his 8.7 lb. catch. Grayson Lanier rounded out the top three with an 8.6 lb. dogfish.
North Carolina is typically the home to two dogfish tournaments every winter, but last year’s Hurricane Florence put a damper on that for 2019. Seaview Pier, which has hosted the Team Mack Attack Dogfish Tournament since 2016, sustained heavy damage from the hurricane and was closed to fishing over the winter.
“The end of Seaview Pier has not been repaired yet,” says Team Mack Attack. “We hope to have [the tournament] next winter, when it is.”
More information on the 2019 Johnnie Mercer’s event can be found at www.johnniemercersfishingpier.com.