The Carolina Beach Inshore Challenge, the final event in a series of five inshore fishing competitions, was held on Saturday, September 12, out of Inlet Watch Marina. There were 56 boats that entered to battle it out for the single heaviest red drum and the single heaviest flounder. Rough weather throughout the day and throughout the region, including northern winds and intermittent heavy rain, kept anglers aware of their surroundings throughout the competition.
The first place flounder winner, Wayne Newkirk of team “Lunar Low,” said the windy weather affected his day of fishing by not allowing him to get off the coast at all. Instead, he had to resort to staying tight to the shore around Carolina Beach. Newkirk hooked his 6.36 lb. flounder in the early morning on a falling tide, earning him $1,345 in prize money.
The second place flounder finisher, team “Killin’ Time,” also had some run-ins due to weather. “It was just a miserable day out there,” voiced Kyle Peters, who has fished all of the events this year with his teammate Bryan Milliken.
The duo had trouble finding bait in the morning, but once the tide started to flow out, the bait (and fish) came out with it. They got on a school of bait, the fish started biting, and they quickly pulled in three flounder over 5 lbs. By late morning, they were fishing some rocks near Snow’s Cut.
“We were just waiting for that big one to hit,” says Peters. At dead low tide, the live finger mullet on Peters’ hook was taken by the 6.14 lb. doormat that won the team second place and an $899 payout.
The top placing redfish was brought in by team “Hewes Blues,” who braved the rain for a good bite. “I got rained on all morning and it was tough, but the fish were biting so that helped,” said solo angler Chris Swann. Fishing up in the Cape Fear River, Swann caught an abundance of bait easily and spent the morning pulling in red after red, both over-slot and in-slot.
“The 30-36 inchers were the ones biting today,” he recounted. The fish that won him his first place victory was hooked on an oyster bed beside a ledge up the river.
“Once I found that one that looked like the winner and was in-slot, I was just ready to be back and get dry,” Swann said, as he was the second boat to weigh in that afternoon. His efforts paid off, and he walked away with first place prize money.
Team “Frayed Knot” took home second place in the red drum category. Curt Powell fished with live mullet around Carolina Beach and fought the tides. No fish were caught on the falling or rising tide.
“Luckily that hour in the middle was all I needed,” says Powell. It wasn’t long after the tide hit dead low that his lines started to pop off. He managed to pull in eight over-slot drum and his 6.3 lb. winning fish before the waters rose again. “Days like that are real tough to find any fish,” Powell added. “Just overall a hard day to fish, but it worked out.”
The $1,311 check in his pocket provided proof of his success.
This tournament also named two Lady Anglers, Tammie Beers and Jamie Reed, for their team’s 5.04 lb. red drum. The Junior Angler title was scored by Seth Denning, for his team’s 4.82 lb. drum, and the Senior Angler award and payout went to Barry Fowler for his team’s 4.34 lb. redfish.
For more information on this event or to stay up to date with upcoming Fisherman’s Post events (such as the three fall surf fishing tournaments), follow them on Facebook or visit www.fishermanspost.com.