Anglers throughout Hatteras Island and
the Outer Banks are invited to join a free October fishing tournament
that not only offers some enticing prizes, but also helps to collect
imperative data on coastal North Carolina spot and croaker catches.
The event, which is sponsored by Outer
Banks Catch, is called the “Every Man’s Spot & Croaker
Fishing Tournament,” and it is a data-raiser tournament to collect
data on spot and croaker.
There’s no fee to enter, and
fishermen can fish anytime during the month of October for spot or
croaker – and as often as they’d like – For a chance at winning
an array of goodies. Prizes will be awarded for the heaviest and
longest of each species, as well as the most caught of each by an
individual fisherman, so anglers are encouraged to enter often.
“[Participants] can fish anywhere in
North Carolina, any day of the week during the month of October,”
says Outer Banks Catch executive director Sandy Semans Ross. “There
are a lot of people who would like to join in a fishing tournament,
but they aren’t free on that particular day, or there’s an entry
fee that they cannot afford. So anyone can join in this fishing
tournament, and have a chance to win.”
The donated prizes by area businesses
include gift certificates to local restaurants, tackle and fishing
related prizes, two weekend getaways, a day trip on a charter boat,
and much more.
And all of the information from the
tournament, specifically weights and lengths, will be shared with the
NC Division of Marine Fisheries.
The event stems a petition filed in
early 2017 with the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission which
calls for severely limiting shrimp trawling, and also calls for an
increase in recreational size limits for spot and croaker. If
approved, the new limits would be eight inches for spot and 10 inches
for Atlantic croaker.
“The shrimp petition filed in
February severely curtails shrimping, but right in the middle of the
petition was a request to change the size limit of spot and croaker,”
says Ross. “We talked to some tackle shop owners, and they said
that these changes might hurt us because some people catch smaller
spot and croaker than [the proposed sizes.]”
“So at Outer Banks Catch, we decided
to find out exactly what they are catching.”
As a result, the tournament
accomplishes two goals. It shares real information with the Division
of Marine Fisheries that goes well beyond the traditional phone
surveys and fishermen checks, and it also gets the word out about the
potential impacts of the Shrimp Petition, which may not receive final
approval until May 2018 at the earliest.
Entry forms for fishermen, and posters
for businesses to display, can be downloaded from both the Outer
Banks Catch Facebook page as well as the Spot
and Croaker Tournament Facebook page. Entry forms are also
available in tackle shops and piers where Bowed Lures are sold.
To enter, fishermen must bring their
catches to participating weight stations, which on Hatteras Island
includes Rodanthe Pier and Hatteras Jack’s in the tri-villages, and
Red Drum Tackle in Buxton. Photos of the completed entry form and a
photo of the fisherman or fisherwoman holding the fish will then be
sent to Outer Banks Catch, and pictures of anglers and their catches
will be shared on Facebook, but sizes will be kept secret until the
first week of November when prizes will be announced.
A different entry form must be
submitted for each catch entered.
The state record
for croaker is five pounds caught in 1981 near Oregon Inlet by Daniel
Graber. The length, calculated from a conversion chart supplied by NC
Division of Marine Fisheries, is an estimated 23 inches. The state
record for spot also was caught in Dare County. Hubert Basnight
caught a 1 lb. 13 ounce spot, with an estimated length of 15 inches,
The tournament officially started on
October 1 and will continue until October 31.
“We want to encourage everyone to
participate,” says Ross, “and October is a great month for spot
and croaker fishing.”
For more information about Outer Banks
Catch and the Every Man’s Spot & Croaker Fishing Tournament,
visit the OB Catch website at www.outerbankscatch.com.
Entry Form May Also Be Downloaded Here