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, in 1979.
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