The 11th annual Dogfish Tournament at Johnny Mercer’s Pier in Wrightsville Beach took place January 30. Always the weekend after the NFC championships and before the Super bowl, the turn out on this year’s cold day was once again strong in numbers. With 127 anglers and 177 rods in the water, over 54 fish were weighed in.
The tournament ran from 1:00-8:00 pm, though anglers showed up late the night before, and lines were in the water long before the first fish was caught.
Dave Hannah, of Wilmington, was the big winner with a 10 lb. 13 oz. spiny dogfish, securing a check for $442.50 and a season pass to Johnny Mercer’s Pier. Bill David finished second at 9.13 lbs., and Albert Marino was third with a 9 lb. dogfish.
“I caught the winning shark on cut mullet,” said winner Hannah. “I fish with a 7/0 circle hook and 80 lb. mono leader.” Hannah pre-fished in the weeks before the tournament with friends, and thought he was close to a 9-pounder when he landed the shark on tournament day. When his shark weighed in at over 10, Hannah got excited. “I knew I might have a chance to win,” said Hannah, “since we’d only caught one bigger than 10 lbs. the weeks before.”
In total, 54 fish were weighed, with a combined weight of 343 lbs. of the small sharks, along with a hardy number of pufferfish.
The winners of the tournament were also gifted with custom fishing rods by Will Price and Jacob Thompson, and a custom knife from Jeremy Fulton.
The tournament was originally designed to get the regulars of Johnny Mercer’s together over the winter, and the event grew from there. Participants started showing up from all over, and now it has become a favorite winter event for area coastal anglers. For more information on the annual event, visit the North Carolina Fishing Pier Society’s website at www.ncfps.com.