Tournament Reports – Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge
The Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge, the third out of five red drum/flounder events hosted by Fisherman’s Post, brought area inshore anglers together to compete on Saturday, July 27, for the single heaviest flounder and the single heaviest red drum. A total of 74 boats competed, weighing in 31 flounder (20 weighed in alive) and 29 red drum (24 weighed in alive) at Wrightsville Beach Marina before heading over to Wild Wing Cafe for the awards dinner and ceremony.
The Flounder Division enjoyed a strong bite on Saturday, with tournament anglers ultimately needing to weigh in a citation flounder to make the leaderboard (8th place weighed 5.05 lbs.). The top flounder team was Killin Time, comprised of teammates Bryan Milliken and Kyle Peters, who weighed in an 8.50 lb. fish.
Killin Time caught live mullet early on Saturday morning, and then headed to some docks they had been pre-fishing for red drum. The red drum they had been on all week weren’t chewing on tournament morning, so they made the quick decision to pick up, move, and start targeting flounder.
Milliken and Peters arrived at Snow’s Cut and quickly found several 18-20” fish. The flounder bite was steady, but they weren’t finding a tournament-class fish, so they decided to move to the other side of Snow’s Cut.
“We switched sides, were bumping along, and there he was,” explained Milliken. They picked up their big fish using the trolling motor to control their drift down the bank at about two hours from dead low tide. The winning flatfish hit a Carolina-rigged live mullet. Milliken was the angler, and Peters handled the net.
Killin Time has been fishing the Inshore Challenge events for about five years now, and while they have numerous top three finishes, this was their first win.
Second place in the Flounder Division went to Team McKee and teammates Troy Philip and Chris Hanson. The duo landed several nice flounder, including the 7.98 lb. flounder that ended up in second place.
The top boat in the Red Drum Division was Nashfish, made up of Scott Gould, George Brinson, Nash Gould (age 12), and Fisher Brinson (age 10). Fishing the tournament was Fisher’s idea, as he was looking through a copy of Fisherman’s Post about a month ago and suggested to his father that they fish the event.
The Brinsons teamed up with the Goulds, and on tournament morning they headed to the Southport area where they started the day catching modest flounder on Gulp soft plastics. Around midday they moved locations and targeted red drum by soaking live bait. Their winning 7.28 lb. red drum came off of a live mullet during low tide.
Prior to fishing, Scott and George weren’t feeling overly confident, so they told their two boys that they could keep any tournament winnings. Team Nashfish walked away with just over $2000 in total prize money after taking first place on the leaderboard, first place in the Red Drum TWT, and first place for Junior Angler.
The Marsh Fiddler Team came in second place in the Red Drum Division with a 7.21 lb. red drum. Teammates Scott Teeters, Scott Weaver, and Aiden Frye (age 6) found the heavy redfish in the Shallotte River area.
The trio started the day in Davis Canal, where they found a couple of flounder and over-slot reds on live mullet, but it was small mud minnows that produced over 15 red drum, including their heaviest, late in the day near Shallotte. The team estimated that they hooked the near-27” redfish with about 10 minutes of fishing time left before they had to make the run to Wrightsville.
In addition to Red Drum second place, Marsh Fiddler also was the top Aggregate boat, weighing in a 5.70 lb. flounder (6th place in the Flounder Division) for a combined weight of 12.91 lbs.
Barry Fowler was the event’s top Senior Angler with his 6.06 lb. red drum, and Rachel Dimauro won the Lady Angler title with a 6.60 lb. flounder.
The next Inshore Challenge event is the Southport Inshore Challenge to be held August 23-24 out of Southport Marina.
A complete leaderboard for the Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge, as well as more information on all Fisherman’s Post events, can be found at www.FishermansPost.com.