It was a real “rags-to-riches” story for the Tidewater Anglers Club of Virginia Beach, the team that took home the winning trophy in last week’s 58th annual Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament.
Last Friday morning, Nov. 6, going into the second and final day of fishing in the tournament, the team ranked near the bottom of the 120 teams. Its six members had caught just two fish, which scored them just four points, in the first two sessions of fishing on Thursday.
However, in Friday’s first session, the anglers managed to land seven red drum, which scored 586 points and put them at the top of the leader board when the tournament ended.
With nine fish and 590 points, the Tidewater Anglers Club took first place in the tournament.
Second place went to the Surf Casters and Bull Shooters (SCABs) Team with 145 fish and 263 points, and third place was won by the Elizabeth City Surf Fishing Team with 26 fish and 252 points.
The top women’s team was the Outcasters of Nags Head with 29 fish and 118 points.
The 49 1/2-inch red drum caught by Bud Shoemaker of the Dorean Anglers of Washington, N.C., was both the largest fish and largest red drum of the tournament.
Casey Copeland of the Surfside Anglers of Kitty Hawk won the prize for the largest bluefish caught by a male with a 17 3/4- inch fish. Sam Catalano of the RH Custom Rods team won the largest fish other than a red drum or bluefish category with a 18-inch flounder.
In the women’s division, Jean Flanigan of the Outcasters team won for the largest red drum caught by a female with a 38-inch fish. In the largest bluefish category, Nancy Gianotti of the Island Girls team of Buxton won with a 14 1/2-inch fish. Kimmie Thieman won in the largest fish other than a red drum or bluefish category with a 15 1/2-inch sea mullet.
The weather gods smiled on this year’s Anglers Club tournament — it was warm, sunny, and humid on both fishing days.
The 720 anglers from 120 teams caught 3,509 fish this year for a total of 8,372 points.
“Good weather and good fishing don’t always go hand in hand,” Anglers Club president Larry Hardham said after two good days of fishing in the tournament.
The winners picked up their trophies and prizes at “Brag Night” on Friday, Nov. 6.
The Bob Bernard Individual Tournament took place on Saturday morning. The winners were:
Ashley Bahen of Nags Head with a 6-pound, 8-ounce red drum.
Brandon Elinich of Bensalem, Pa., with a 1-pound, 15-ounce gray trout.
Will Brooks of Southern Shores with a 1-pound, 6-ounce bluefish.
Andy Stephenson of Willow Springs, N.C., with a 13-ounce sea mullet
Hazel Basnight of Manteo with a 12-ounce croaker.
For more information on The Cape Hatteras Anglers Club, membership, and its tournament, go to the website at www.capehatterasanglersclub.org.