Tournament Reports – Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge
A mix of blazing sun and oncoming rains set the scene for the third event of the Fisherman’s Post Inshore Trail, the Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge hosted on July 24-25. A downplayed registration was put on at Wild Wing Café, and a “no gather” weigh-in was held at Wrightsville Beach Marina. Ultimately, this year featured 53 boats that braved the heat to fish out keeper red drum.
This event was set up a little differently than other tournaments in the Trail Series, with the Wrightsville leaderboard winners based on a boat’s single heaviest red drum. Accompanying the main payouts were three TWTs, which included a Single Heaviest Red Drum, a Two Red Drum, and a “Trash Fish” TWT.
Coming in first place with the tournament’s top red drum was Greg Cundiff, of team “Greg Cundiff Skiff,” with a 7.20 lb. redfish. Cundiff began his tournament day fishing in the Cape Fear River. He and fishing partner Matt Watson went through 120 live mullets during a slow morning. Once the tide began to move in, he quickly had a big red right behind the boat, but then a shark swooped in and “inhaled it.”
Luckily, the ebbing tide brought in more reds, which paid off for Cundiff. His big fish also granted him first place in the Single Big Red Drum TWT and first place in the Two Red Drum TWT, as well as the Senior Angler title and the SeaTow payout.
Second place was taken by Camden Nye of team “Reel E-Z” with an upper-slot redfish weighing in at 7.19 lbs., just 0.01 lbs. shy of first place. Using a finger mullet on an 8 oz. circle hook, Nye “didn’t give it a chance to fight back” before landing the redfish in the boat. Nye also placed second in the Single Big Red Drum TWT.
Finishing in third place with a 6.78 lb. red drum was Matt Davis from team “Davis Fence.” His day of fishing started off slow as well. He was hooking up on plenty of lizardfish but no reds. Using live bait, he eventually brought in a 19” red, later upgraded to a 23-incher, and then finally caught his money fish in a “secret spot” where he “got on ‘em.”
Davis also placed third in the Single Big Red Drum TWT and third in the Two Red Drum TWT.
Many tournament anglers reported using live bait and had the best success fishing amongst the marshes and back creeks of Wrightsville Beach.
Other leaderboard finishes included Sam Daughtry weighing in the heaviest toadfish (2.41 lbs.) caught on the rocks in Masonboro to win the “Trash Fish” TWT and just under $500, Mason and Cam Braton taking co-Junior Angler honors with a 6.16 lb. red drum, and Tammi Beers and Jamie Reed earning the co-Lady Angler title with a 6.32 lb. red drum
To view a full leaderboard from this event, or to see more information on the Inshore Trail (including the next event, the Southport Inshore Challenge on August 21-22 featuring a one red drum and one flounder leaderboard), follow the Fisherman’s Post Facebook page or visit www.fishermanspost.com.