Tournament Reports – Kayak Grand Slam Tournament
This year’s Kayak Grand Slam Tournament, hosted by Pogie’s Fishing Center in Swansboro, NC, took place on October 19. The purpose of the contest is to draw out anglers who enjoy fishing from the comfort and simplicity of a kayak to fish the inshore waters of eastern NC.
There were four ways for contestants to win money: by catching the longest redfish, trout (gray and speckled), or flounder, with each worth a $1000 payout, or by catching one of each of the three species and having the longest combined total fish length, known as winning the Grand Slam, worth a $2500 payout.
In past years, the Pogie’s Grand Slam Tournament has had an established turnout of enthusiastic anglers ready to test their inshore fishing skills, and this year 32 kayakers launched from Pogie’s at 7:00 a.m. sharp on Saturday morning.
No weigh stations were needed, as anglers simply photographed their catches with timestamps and turned them in at the end of the day when returning to the docks. This tournament was strictly catch-photo-release—no fish were kept.
The weather remained calm for most of the day on Saturday, despite a lousy forecast, leaving anglers mostly dry when they finally returned to the Pogie’s docks by 4:00 p.m.
Coming in first place with a combined three fish total length of 56.70” (25.00” redfish, 17.70” speckled trout, and 14.00” flounder) was Neal Ward.
In second place with an aggregate three fish length of 52.00” (24.00” redfish, 16.75” speckled trout, and 11.25” flounder) was Timothy Taramelli. After launching from Pogie’s, Taramelli headed towards the mouth of Queen’s Creek where he hooked what turned out to be his winning 16.75” trout on a Mardi Gras 17MR MirrOlure.
The air was cool and dry and the wind wasn’t yet acting up, which helped Taramelli catch several 13-17” red drum pups by mid-morning, as well as his 24” redfish winner on cut bait. At one point during the day, Taramelli tried for flounder with a 4-inch natural color Vudu shrimp under a cork, but he caught nothing with it.
Finally, after a bit of frustration and switching to a Gulp shrimp, he had what he thought was another trout on the line, but when he reeled it up, it turned out to be his prize winning flounder, giving him a second place Grand Slam finish. Taramelli said, “Had I looked for some bigger trout or reds, it may have been different, but that’s the way it goes. The chances at a huge payout are there for a very little entry fee of $50.00. All you had to do was fish it.”
In third place with a combined three-fish total length of 51.50” (21.00” speckled trout, 15.50” redfish, and 15.00” flounder) was Christopher Noffke, from Hubert, NC.
Pogie’s Fishing Center is a one-stop-shop in Swansboro, NC, that focuses on the outdoor lifestyle for the coastal angler, and they are already planning next year’s event. For a more complete leaderboard, as well as ongoing updates on other kayak fishing events, visit www.pogiesfishing.com or www.tourneyx.com/app/tourney/pogies-grand-slam.