Tournament Reports – Spanish Mackerel Open
On June 13-14, early morning tropical storm-like conditions met anglers fishing the 2020 Fisherman’s Post Spanish Mackerel Open. With seas 3-5’ out of the inlet and winds gusting up to 30 mph on the water, many boaters had difficulty finding the fish with not being able to go too far out. A total of 47 boats fished the tournament, with 31 declaring to fish on Saturday and 16 on Sunday. Fishing time started at 6:30 am each day, and anglers had to weigh in their catches at Motts Channel Seafood between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.
In order to remain Covid-compliant, several modifications had to be made to ensure this tournament could take place. Friday night Captain’s Meeting and Sunday’s Awards Ceremony following the tournament were both held virtually via Facebook Live and Zoom to avoid social grouping. Most registration was carried out online, although there was a chance to register in person on Friday at Intracoastal Angler.
Coming in first place in the tournament was team “Jokers Wild” with a three-fish aggregate weight of 8.33 lbs. Capt. Doug Monroe and both winning Lady Anglers, April Monroe and Ryann Barefoot, scored the largest fish caught in the tournament, a brilliantly-colored, healthy 4.51 lb. spanish mackerel. Rhett Barefoot, also onboard, helped with the boat and line handling.
The team powered through the weather on Sunday and fished between the Liberty Ship and five miles out where they reported rough seas with up to 6’ waves. Their rigs of choice included Clarkspoons behind #2 planers, which proved bountiful as they got hooked up on their big fish late in the morning. The ladies worked to reel in the fish to the planer, and then Monroe finished off by hand reeling.
“It was burning up my hands with every pull,” he says. The team walked away with the first place title.
Placing second was team “Copacetic/Sea Tow” with an aggregate fish weight of 3.43 lbs., with their single big fish weighing in at 1.2 lbs. They also took home the Three-Spanish TWT title. Facing an awful forecast on Saturday, they were surprised with decent weather as they headed south alongside a few other tournament angler boats. Their luck ran out quickly; as soon as they dropped their lines in the water, the wind and rain picked up.
Before long, their Junior Angler (ages 0-8) Deaton Guill and Teen Angler Deacon Griggs had had enough, and the team returned to shore to drop them off. Not wanting to give in just yet, the remaining adults headed back out to keep trying for bigger fish. Staying mostly inshore near the jetty, they found a good bite within the last hour before heading to the weigh station. Their big fish was reeled in on a Clarkspoon and put up a hard fight.
The team thanks the crew at Sea Tow for their support.
Scoring the third place title was Capt. Craig Wilson and Team Chaos with a 2.94 lb. three-fish total weight. Fishing with lines in the water at 6:30 am sharp out of Topsail Beach on Saturday, the rough weather didn’t catch up to them until later on in the morning when the seas heightened to 4-6’.
With five lines out at a time, they hooked up right away with what seemed like a huge spanish, but soon lost it when another boat interfered. They then narrowed the spread down to only three lines, and that’s when they caught their big fish, a decent 1.08 pounder which put them into third place.
Overall, the tournament was prosperous for anglers as well as First Fruit Ministries in Wilmington, NC, a ministry and local food bank that accepted all of the weighed-in spanish mackerel. For more information on this tournament and future tournaments, check out www.fishermanspost.com or follow the Fisherman’s Post Facebook page.