There are only two pier dogfish tournaments run in North Carolina, which means that both of them are filled to the brim with the best dogfish anglers from all over the state and are guaranteed to provide fierce competition. While the tournaments are held at two different piers at different points in the winter, the goal is the same: both offer first, second, and third place prizes for the biggest dogfish caught.
The first dogfish tournament is held at Johnnie Mercer’s Pier on Wrightsville Beach, which in 2018 took place on January 20. Tournament Coordinator Al Baird said that everything “went pretty well,” adding that “the sun was out and it was a fairly nice day for January.”
The weather helped raise the spirits of the 122 anglers that took to the pier, each of them vying to catch the biggest dogfish and spiny dogfish of the day. Jacob Thompson would go on to win the tournament with the three biggest fish in sudden death overtime, a victory that was hard fought and well deserved due to a scarce appearance of fish in the Wrightsville Beach water.
For the third year in a row, the Seaview Pier in North Topsail Beach hosted the second dogfish tournament of the season, which took place on February 24. Fishing club Team Mack Attack runs the tournament, which “gives anglers something to do in the offseason.”
It’s certainly successful at doing so, as over 100 anglers showed up to find the biggest dogfish in the cold ocean around the pier. The temperature wasn’t too bad above the water, but despite the nice day, the fish were hard to come by—less than 10% of anglers pulled in a catch.
As tournament anglers know, though, one catch is all that you need, and Austin Dishman certainly got his with an 8.8 lb. fish that secured the first place spot and a $550 check.
With the dogfish tournament season coming to a close, anglers will now have to wait until next year for another chance at some winter prize money.