Spanish Mackerel & Dolphin Fishing Tourney has 43 boats, dozens of anglers winning awards – Carolinacoastonline


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MOREHEAD CITY — The 14th annual Carteret Community College Spanish Mackerel & Dolphin Fishing Tournament wrapped up last weekend with 14 boats and dozens of anglers winning awards.The gamefish competition saw 43 boats enter – just shy of the record of 50 – despite unfavorable offshore conditions.“We got a lot of boats from out of town this year,” tournament co-chair John Humphries said. “Even one of our sponsors was from Tarboro. It was kind of a different year. We feel like this tournament’s exposure is spreading. We were pretty pleased with our turnout.”

Ali-Kat, captained by Jason Temple, was the hot boat of the weekend, winning three divisions and placing third in another over the two-day tournament. The boat placed first in the Spanish Mackerel Overall, Dolphin and Wahoo categories, and placed third in the King Mackerel Division.“Those guys crushed it,” Humphries said. “They went out both days, but they were in a hot spot, evidently.”Offshore conditions were on the rough side, but holding the tournament over two days instead of one helped anglers choose the better option between Saturday, July 10 and Sunday, July 11. Tournament organizers are looking into a potential week-long format for future competitions to further reduce the impact of weather.“We’re constantly looking at ways to make this a better tournament and a more family-friendly tournament,” Humphries said. “If you make it a week, you effectively eliminate the weather factor. We want to make it so that whether it’s your first fish or your 100th, you have a chance.”Humphries points to the tournament’s accessibility as one of its biggest perks. Unlike many area competitions that require expensive equipment and an offshore-capable boat, this one’s Spanish Mackerel and King Mackerel divisions can be won from the beach or the pier with a standard fishing pole. That allows anglers with virtually no experience a real shot at winning or, at the very least, having some fun.“Seeing those people who have never fished before give it a chance and love it, that’s what it’s all about,” Humphries said. “That’s what we love to see. Fishing is just a cool thing to do. Its therapeutic, but it’s cheaper than a session in the psychiatrist’s chair.”Ali-Kat won the Spanish Mackerel Overall Division, followed by Sandy Bottom in second place and H2OLu in third.The Spanish Mackerel Juniors Division went to Peyton Wooten of H2OLu, captained by Bryan Wooten. Johnfoster Nelson of Sandy Bottom placed second and Morgan Majors of Whaler third.Jenny Wilson of The Fishing W’s captured the Spanish Mackerel Lady Division, followed by Brooke Wilson of The Fishing W’s in second place and Barbara Morse of C Hawk 23 in third.Sandy Bottom, captained by Wayne Lee, won the Spanish Mackerel Artificial Overall Division, followed by Whaler in second and The Fishing W’s in third.In the Spanish Artificial Lure Kids Division, Campbell Wordsworth of The Fishing W’s won, while Regan Cain of C Hawk 23 placed second.Majors of Whaler, captained by Jay Majors, won the Spanish Artificial Lure Juniors Division. Wilson of The Fishing W’s finished in second and Jack Liebengood of Tatter-Tales in third.JMO with angler Eli Bragg and Capt. Matt Jackson won the Bluefish Dategory. Peyton Wooten of H20Lu placed second and Hanna Lowdermilk of Line Cutter third.

The Dolphin Division went to Ali-Kit, followed by Kia Ora.In the King Mackerel Division, Accounting and Beyond NC won with Capt. Stephen Tolliver at the wheel. Sea Farah placed second and Ali-Kat third.Ali-Kat was the only boat to produce a wahoo.Money raised by the tournament goes to the Carteret Community College Foundation, which benefits the college with funds for new buildings, such as the recently opened Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center, grounds improvements, student scholarships and marine programs like Boat Manufacturing and Aquaculture Technology.“Any place where the college needs money, the foundation is there to help,” Humphries said.This year, the major sponsor for the tournament is Crystal Coast Heating & Air.Family legacyHumphries was on the water for the tournament last weekend with his 15-year-old son, Finn, aboard their boat Kia Ora. The father-son pairing is a prime example of how family-friendly a tournament like this one is.“I’ve learned a lot of what I know from my dad and from friends in the charter business,” Finn said. “That’s the great things about fishing, you can learn from anyone and everyone.”The 15-year-old has been fishing since he was 3 or 4 years old, working all the time to develop his skills and grow his knowledge of the sport.“There is a real progression when you’re young and learning to fish,” he said. “You start out bottom fishing, and then you get older and you do some Spanish fishing. You find your niche in the trolling species, and then you move up to bigger fish as you keep learning.”Like his dad, Finn pointed out the accessibility of a tournament like this one, whether long or short on experience.“With Spanish mackerel, it’s faster fishing for a smaller species,” he said. “It’s more fun fishing and more family-friendly versus a larger billfish tournament where there’s high entry fees and huge boats. It’s an anybody’s tournament rather than something more exclusive.”Finn was on the first day of fishing for the second-place dolphin catch. The boat didn’t go out the second day because of worsening conditions, but the one day of fishing proved enough to make a podium.“It was not exactly the best conditions. It was kind of rough,” Finn said. “Our original plan was to head out towards the area of the rise, but we decided to stick further in and head toward northwest places and work our way out. We found a really good temperature break and fished it.”

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