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 Fish Post

Tournament Report – Southport Inshore Challenge

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The Southport Inshore Challenge has typically been a popular flatfish tournament held every year in August, but this year’s shortened flounder season forced Fisherman’s Post to change the event to a red drum leaderboard. Area boats this year searched for the two heaviest red drum in the slot (18-27”) to bring to the scales at Southport Marina.

Southport Marina is not yet fully opened, as they are still rebuilding after damage incurred during Hurricane Isaias, but the venue was open enough to host the Friday Registration and Captains Party/Meeting, as well as Saturday’s Weigh-In and Awards.

The top finishing boat in this year’s event was also the first boat to weigh in. Ben Miller, Rob Horne, and Marshall Henderson, all of Team No Idea, had a plan Friday night, but changed that plan on Saturday morning.

“We were going to start out at the bay because of the tide and we found fish there on Friday,” Miller noted, “but Saturday morning we changed our mind and decided to follow the similar path we’ve used in previous years for this event.”

The trio put in at Carolina Beach, ran south of Snow’s Cut, but then when the tide was almost high, they hit a spot towards the waterway. Once there, it was as simple as finding the blue water and then they found their fish.

They were fishing both mullet and pogies, and most of their fish came between 8:00-9:30. Team No Idea landed several red drum, plenty in the 24-25” range, as well as six or so over-slot fish, with the biggest going 38”. In the midst of the bite came their two heaviest slot fish of the day, the 7.22 lb. and 6.58 lb. redfish that would ultimately give them a winning two-fish aggregate weight of 13.80 lbs.

Ben Miller (right), Marshall Henderson (left), and Rob Horne (not pictured), of Team No Idea, took the top spot in the 2021 Southport Inshore Challenge with a two red drum aggregate weight of 13.80 lbs. Their fish came from live mullet and pogies.

“I’ve fished these tournaments long enough,” Miller continued. “I knew we had a good weight, and then saw some boats getting close, so we moved on.”

They hit a couple of spots on the way to Southport, and then another spot at Southport, but they were at Southport Marina when the scales opened at 1:00.

Team Flounder Fix, made up of Ray Dixon and Gary Price, took second place in the event with an aggregate weight of 13.35 lbs.

Dixon and Price caught over 30 redfish on tournament day. That morning Price predicted they would catch their best fish around 1:00, and his prediction was only off by about two minutes.

Price had a spot that typically produced quality upper-slot fish on the low tide, which was at 1:00 on that Saturday. The team caught about 20 fish prior to 1:00, and then just after 1:00 they landed their two biggest at 6.50 and 6.85 lbs. Then they hooked another 10 or so redfish after.

Gary Price and Ray Dixon (not pictured), of Team Flounder Fix, finished in second place in the 2021 Southport Inshore Challenge with two red drum totalling 13.35 lbs. Both of their fish came from a creek mouth while using live mullet on Carolina rigs.

All of their fish came on mullet minnows hooked to Carolina rigs, and the team targeted creeks and creek mouths.

“We had a bunch of 25-inchers, with some close to 6-pounds,” Dixon recounted. “We didn’t catch any over-slot.”

Flounder Fix’s approach on tournament day was to target grass beds with shallow water over oyster rocks on the high tide, and then at mid-tide find a deep hole near a creek mouth. The mid- to low-tide strategy worked.

For a more complete leaderboard, you can visit www.FishermansPost.com.

The next Fisherman’s Post inshore event is the Carolina Beach Inshore Challenge to be held September 10-11 out of Inlet Watch Marina. This year’s event has a leaderboard based on a boat’s heaviest single flounder. There are a handful of TWTs, including a $250 High Roller TWT and a $50 Single Big Red Drum TWT.

More information on the Carolina Beach Inshore Challenge can also be found at www.FishermansPost.com.