Almost 800 fishermen will descend on Hatteras Island beaches for the annual Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament, which will be on Wednesday, Nov. 2, through Friday, Nov.4. The tournament is considered one of the largest surf fishing tournaments in the world.
Celebrating its 59th year, the tournament draws fishermen from throughout the mid-Atlantic region. There are 120 teams of six members each plus approximately 60 to 70 judges.
Also, several events are open to the public.
The tournament will kick off with a long-distance casting seminar by competitive distance casting champion Tommy Farmer, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Ramp 34. The seminar is free and open to the public.
The 120 male, female, and mixed teams of six anglers each will compete during morning and afternoon sessions on Thursday and Friday. Each angler is allowed to have only one line at a time in the water and judges rove the beaches to score their catch. The fish that are scored must measure at least 11 inches or be the North Carolina Marine Fisheries (NCMF) minimum length for the species.
Catch-and-release is practiced during the tournament. Judges are stationed within sight of all entrants and are immediately available to score hooked fish. Six roving judges, in addition to Chief Judge Ray Schaaf and Assistant Chief Judge Steve Knowles, will be available in case a large citation fish would be caught or if there would be a blitz.
Last year’s tournament had the largest number of scorable fish in the past eight years. A total of 3,509 fish that totaled 8,372 points were caught by the competing teams.
Tidewater Anglers Club of Virginia Beach was the top team of 2015, with the SCABS (Surfcasters and Bull Shooters), also of Virginia Beach, second, and the Elizabeth City Surf Fishing Team, third. The top women’s team was the Outcasters team of Nags Head.
Thursday evening, Nov. 3, the Anglers Club will throw open its doors to the public for its annual Tackle Show. The show will feature manufacturers’ representatives presenting their latest fishing tackle and accessories, plus displays by local sponsors.
The tournament is authorized by a special use permit issued by the National Park Service. No fishing stations are located at Cape Point or Hatteras Inlet, which allows other fishermen access to these popular spots.