November 10, 2014

Weather and fish cooperated in 57th annual
Anglers Club tournament...WITH SLIDE SHOW


The Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament bills itself as the largest in the world, and with 120 six-person teams, it would be hard to deny the claim.

Club President Larry Hardham does point out that assertion has never been confirmed by Guinness World Records, and after hearing the Guinness criteria for counting all the teams and all the anglers, the thought comes that the two-day tournament would be over before the counting could be done.

For a number of years the tournament had 100 teams but when the Anglers Club learned the largest surf competition in the world, according to Guinness, was in Norway with 697 participants, that tipped the scales to adding more teams.

“We used that as a reason to increase to 120 teams,” Hardham says.

The tournament was down a team this year. One team had a last-minute emergency, and there wasn’t time for a team on the waiting list to get to Hatteras.

The annual tournament— this was the 57th competition—is a two-day affair almost always scheduled the Thursday and Friday before the first full weekend of November. There is an exception based on when Halloween falls, but that doesn’t happen very often.

The fishing was good this year; not record-setting like it was nine or ten years ago, but certainly better than it has been for the past two or three years. With a calm ocean and mild temperatures, Thursday was the better day, but teams were finding fish on Friday as well.

Although there were not as many fish reeled in on Friday, there was still some good action. The largest fish of the tournament, a 37-1/4-inch red drum, was landed that morning by Phil Fitzpatrick with the Ocean City (N.J.) Beach Buggy Association, south of the Point.

The weather was just about perfect both days—Thursday was mild and mostly cloudy, but the front held off coming through until late at night and early morning, so Friday was a cool autumn day with a good breeze from the north and not a cloud in the sky.

It hasn’t always been like that. When Hurricane Irene came through in 2011 and severed Highway 12 on Pea Island, the Anglers Club still held the tournament. Ninety-seven teams still managed to make it to Hatteras for the event that year.

“They’re doing it because they love it,” is Larry’s explanation.

Putting the tournament on is a huge undertaking. In addition to the 714 anglers and 119 teams, there are judges and support staff at the Anglers Club. There are also gift certificates and winning prize packages for the top teams and individual performances. And there was the special trip to Hampton Roads to get the Girl Scout candy order the Club placed in all the welcome gift baskets.

In addition to the two-day tournament, the Angler’s Club also sponsors the Bob Bernard Open Individual Tournament, a one-day open tournament on Saturday.

The competition was really tight this year, with any one of the top five team finishers within striking distance of taking first place with one good catch.

TEAM WINNERS—57th Annual Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament
  • First Place: South Jersey Surfcasters -- 94 fish for 326 points.
  • Second Place: Ridge Anglers -- 58 fish for 322 points.
  • Third Place: Merchantville Fishing Club --  61 fish for 302 points.
  • Top Women's Team: Hatteras Island's Rod Runners -- 62 fish for 228 points.

TEAM SESSION WINNERS (Four Sessions, Morning and Afternoon on Thursday and Friday)
  • First session.  South Jersey Surf Casters. 299 Points.
  • Second session. Bait Wasters. 243 Points.
  • Third session.   One More Cast. 179 Points.
  • Fourth session. Slammin’ Sammy’s Hurricanes. 94 Points.

  • Largest Red Drum – Female-- Amy Goodman. Rod Runners. 27 inches.   
  • Largest Red Drum – Male -- Phil Fitzpatrick. OCBBA New Jersey. 37 1/4 inches.
  • Largest Bluefish – Female-- Kelly Haggard. Nags Head Surf Fishing Club. 15 3/4 inches.
  • Largest Bluefish – Male -- Toddy Hayman. Kelly's Stiff Rods.  17 inches.
  • Largest Fish – Female  -- Sheri Duchame. Finz 'n' Grinz. 17-inch black drum.
  • Largest Fish – Male -- Gary Morris.  Eastern Shore Landcasters. 26 3/4-inch black drum.

2014 Bob Bernard Individual Tournament Results
  • Junior Division. James Jones.    1pound, 2 ounce bluefish.
  • Adult Division. Annah Petty. 1 pound, 4 ounce bluefish
  • Ross Seyfert. 2 pound, 4 ounce flounder.
  • William Regula. pound gray trout.
  • Heidi Geiger. 1 pound, 3 ounce blow toad..
  • Bill Hall. 7 pound, 4 ounce red drum.
  • Wayne Gless. 1 pound, 7 ounce sea mullet.


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