Tournament Reports – Carolina Beach Inshore Challenge
The waters around Carolina Beach were popping mid-September, with inshore anglers competing in the 2019 Fisherman’s Post Carolina Beach Inshore Challenge on September 14. With the flounder fishery closed for the season, the leaderboard was modified to be based on an aggregate weight of each team’s heaviest two red drum.
Presumably due to the flounder closure modifying the format, only 38 boats participated in this year’s Challenge, compared to an average of more than double that in years past. The low turnout could also be related to Hurricane Dorian. Though the storm caused no major property damage to the area, it still disrupted people’s lives enough that deciding to participate in an event such as a fishing tournament becomes a harder decision to make.
Nonetheless, plenty of quality redfish were brought to the scales at Inlet Watch Marina.
Sam Daughtry and his brother Mark Daughtry, of Team Parker, took home first place again this year. As repeat champions this season and winners of last year’s CBIC, they started the day off well by reeling in a 6 lb. redfish early on.
Sticking near the Scott’s Hill area, they fished around a few different bays over the course of the day. The bite picked up around 10:30 a.m., with lots of under-slots chewing, and by 1:30 p.m. the team had caught 15 slot red drum, including what would be their two largest of the day.
Their two big fish weighed in at 6.95 and 7.12 lbs. and together made up their winning aggregate total of 14.07 lbs.
After catching a couple over-slot fish on their trusted bait of choice, live mullet, they decided to stop fishing a little early to comfortably make the run to weigh-in down in Carolina Beach.
Ray Dixon and his partner Gary Price, of Team Flounder Fix, wedged their way into second place with an aggregate two-redfish weight of 13.85 lbs. (a mere 0.05 lbs. more than the third place team). Fishing the Cape Fear River up into the Wilmington area, the team found that smaller fish were biting plentifully but the larger ones remained elusive.
Using live shrimp on a popping cork, they reeled in an estimated one hundred under-slot reds throughout the day. The only two fish that were within the slot limits, luckily for Flounder Fix, were the two fish that won them the second place title. Flounder Fix weighed in a 6.20 lb. red and a tournament single-fish best at 7.65 lb. red drum.
Dixon’s advice for anglers new to the tournament setting is, “Find someone to fish with that you can’t fish without. Learning each other’s tactics, habits, and how to work together is priceless.”
Team Dirty Bubble scored third place with an aggregate redfish weight of 13.80 lbs. (7.12 lbs. and 6.68 lbs.). Comprised of two couples—Thomas Beers and his wife Tammi, and their friends Jamie and Alex Reed—the team had never fished a tournament before.
“We usually just fish for fun. I wouldn’t call us real serious fishermen,” T. Beers says.
The team had a rough start to their day while attempting to catch bait in the morning, as the wind skirting across the surface of the water made it hard to see any schools of mullet. After netting enough baitfish for the day, they moved on to fish in the Intercoastal Waterway around 7:30 a.m. where they caught a bunch of under-slot reds and stingrays on their cut finger mullet.
Anchoring in different pockets of deeper water within the ICW, they managed to land five red drum that were in-slot, including their two prizewinners. Beers says, “I guess we got lucky. So many days of fishing, you don’t get anything.”
This was the last of five of the Fisherman’s Post Inshore Challenge events this year. For information on next year’s Inshore Challenge events, as well as a complete leaderboard for the 2019 CBIC, please visit www.FishermansPost.com.