Despite significant challenges from a shoaled-up channel in Hatteras Inlet and rough seas, 30 boats signed on to compete in the 18th annual Hatteras Village Offshore Open, the first event in the Governor’s Cup billfish events.
The winners took home $94,265 in prize money.
The event ran from Wednesday, May 16, through Saturday, May 19. Because of the shoaling in Rollinson Channel, for this year only boats could fish out of other ports, and three chose to fish out of Morehead City.
The big winner was Galot 3, which took home $42,245 in prize money for the largest blue marlin caught in the tournament and first place in several levels in the billfish division. The angler who boated the 515-pound fish was Ray Snead, and the captain was Porky He rring. It was caught on the tournament’s second day.
Second place in the billfish division went to Waste Knot II, which boated a 461-pound blue marlin, and third place went to Wired Up with a 429-pound fish.
In the daily blue marlin release category, three boats split the $11,475 in prize money. They were Hammertime, Builder’s Choice, and Swordfish.
The first blue marlin was released by Hammertime at 9:05 a.m. on the tournament’s first day.
There were no winners in the meatfish division for tuna or wahoo. Trust Fun took first place in that division for the largest dolphin at 26 pounds, and Release placed second with a 24.1-pound fish.
Organizers for the tournament, a fundraiser for village non-profit organizations, were sweating the tournament with less than a week to go for registration.
Shoaling in Rollinson Channel, a continuing problem since Hurricane Irene last August, had shut down ferry traffic and made many boat captains uneasy about coming to Hatteras for the tournament.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ dredge, Merritt, arrived on Saturday, May 12, to start clearing the channel, and the final count of 30 boats was just six fewer than last year.
Next a low-pressure system over the area caused heavy seas throughout the tournament, though 28 boats fished on Wednesday, the first day, and all 30 fished on Thursday. Only five boats fished on Friday – the rest took a lay day – and most of the boats fished the last day on Saturday.
For more information on the tournament, go to the tournament website, http://hatterasonmymind.com/HVCA/HVOO/