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Tournament Reports – Jacksonville Speckled Trout Tournament

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On November 2, 2019, 38 teams hit the water from Swansboro, Jacksonville, and Sneads Ferry to fish out big speckled trout in the 18th annual Jacksonville Speckled Trout Tournament. At the end of a day where wind and sprinkling rain set the scene for an eerie day on the water, anglers returned to the weigh station at Swansboro to determine an aggregate weight of their four heaviest fish.

Jacob Knopp and Sarah Knopp, from Swansboro, with two of the four-fish aggregate they weighed in en route to winning the 18th annual Jacksonville Speckled Trout Tournament. Their four fish totaled 17.91 lbs.

Placing first and claiming the $1500 prize was Jacob Knopp and his team from Swansboro with their four-fish weight of 17.91 lbs. They also took first place in the Big Fish pot, earning them another $850, bringing their winnings total to $2,350 for a day of trout fishing.

The team sat through a slow bite for the entirety of the allotted fishing time, pulling in a fish only every two or so hours with their bobber rigs. When their largest catch found Knopp’s hook, he thought it was a stingray by the way it fought. It flipped about for several minutes, running and then doubling back, before Knopp pulled the 6.12 lb. speck out of the water, securing the win for his team.

Second place and the $1000 payout went to Ronnie Crittenden and Jesse Watson, who have fished the tournament many times before, for their aggregate four-fish weight of 13.86 lbs.

“It was a great trout day, couldn’t ask for better fishing weather,” said Crittenden. The duo fished a hole in Southwest Creek off the New River, where several other top tournament anglers found success as well. All the boats in the general vicinity were catching similar-sized 3-4 pounders, but Crittenden and Watson reeled in a couple larger fish to boost them into second place.

Coming in third place and taking home the $800 payout was Jake Gainey and his team from Swansboro, for their aggregate fish weight of 13.79 lbs. His team started out the day catching smaller fish and getting hammered by the weather.

“We made a gamble to head to the marsh,” explained Gainey, as the team headed to the flats where the water was clearer and the wind was less prominent. This proved to be a more fruitful spot, as the team started pulling in bigger fish and at a faster rate. Using MirrOlures, they caught plenty of trout, enough to secure the third place title.

Second place for the Big Fish pot and a $510 payout went to Buddy Gainey for a 5.1 lb. trout. This year’s Lady Angler was Lynn Gainey who won $100 for her 3.1 lb. fish, and the Junior Angler award and a $100 payout went to a young Darren Gainey for his 3.3 lb. trout.

For more information on this event and others in the series, follow the Eastern Carolina Winter Trout Series page on Facebook.