Scaling a trio of speckled trout weighing 10.22 lbs., John White and his sons Jordan and Jeremy closed out their competition by over 2 lbs. to earn first place in the 2012 Ed Sewell Speckled Trout Tournament, held November 17 out of Casper’s Marina after being postponed due to Hurricane Sandy on the originally scheduled date.
“I’ve been taking these boys fishing since they were 2 or 3 years old,” White explained. “They’ve been my partners in every tournament since.”
Now fishing aboard a 24’ Sea Pro bay boat, White and his sons have been entering Crystal Coast trout tournaments for over a decade, but this marks their inaugural trip to the winner’s circle.
“We usually get some money,” White explained. “And we’ve have the first place flounder before, but this is the first time we’ve won one.”
After fishing a tournament the weekend prior and some fun fishing trips, the Whites had a good idea where they wanted to fish on the morning of the event.
“We were up a creek in Swansboro where we’ve caught some big fish before,” White said. “We got there at 6:30 and there were 4-5 boats in front of us, but we were able to fish right where we wanted to.”
Despite getting right on their spot, the anglers didn’t find immediate success.
“We sat there until 9:30 without a bite,” White continued. “And we were losing shrimp to pinfish the whole time, but I knew that place would produce fish if we were patient and had brought enough bait.”
The anglers kept casting float-rigged live shrimp to the 4-5’ deep spot despite the pinfish assault, and around 9:30 their patience paid off as the bite turned on during the falling tide.
“In 10 minutes, we caught three fish,” explained White. “Jordan was closest to the rod when the float went down each time, and he caught all three.”
Jeremy White manned the net for his brother, and by 9:45 the anglers had all three of their tournament fish in the boat, two over 3 lbs. and one pushing 4 lbs.
The anglers kept fishing the area as the morning wore on, catching more trout, puppy drum, and several flounder but no specks that topped their first three.
“We stayed there till around 2:30,” White recalled. “We really felt like we needed one more good fish, but it was rough and windy outside that creek and the water fell down from 54-56 degrees to 50-52.”
After looking unsuccessfully for a final big trout, the anglers headed for the scales and were the first team to weigh in.
“We were the first people to turn in fish and didn’t know how we were going to do,” said White. “We felt like we’d probably place but didn’t expect to win. This tournament’s had some big fish in the past, and some nice fish have come out of Queens Creek and the White Oak River lately, and we didn’t fish either of those places.”
Returning to the marina for the awards ceremony, the anglers didn’t realize they’d won until prizes started being awarded.
“They started reading off the people that placed and it started at 6 lbs.,” White said. “We didn’t know up until that point we’d won.”
Grumpy Midgett and Scott Willis earned second place in the event with an 8.10 lb. aggregate, including the 3.77 lb. fish that topped the event’s single big fish TWT. Robert Goodman and Darren Pearce rounded out the top three with 7.82 lbs. of specks.
A 2.27 lb. speckled trout earned the event’s Top Junior Angler title for Grace Barnes.