Paradise Marina’s Bay Flounder Tourney draws hundreds
Last weekend was the Paradise Marina's second annual Bay Flounder Tournament. Two-hundred and seventy-four anglers fished for first place worth $5000. Anglers showed up at the marina to sign in at seven in the morning. Five dollars of every entry fee was donated to the Boys and Girls Club in Oak Orchard. The tournament raised $1365! That should help the boys and girls club with some of their needs. The tournament boundaries were the Rehoboth and Indian River Bays and no one was allowed beyond the Charles W. Cullen bridge.
The scales opened at four in the afternoon. All lines had to be out of the water by five and the scales closed at six that evening. The first flounder weighed in were in the two pound range and in no time we had a full board and the ladies were dominating the tournament. As more boats came in a lot of fish were brought to the scales. When a fish scored and took a place on the board the crowd would go nuts and cheer. It is always fun to be at the weigh-ins for a tournament. The Flounder Pounder Open in August will be even more exciting. This bay tournament was a warm-up for that event.
Nathan Mitchel came to the table with a cooler on his shoulders. I kept thinking he must have a lot of fish in there or some really big ones.
Each angler can only enter one fish, so he had to choose the fish he wanted to enter. When he emptied the cooler on the table this beast of a flounder was pulled out last. It measured twenty five inches and topped the scales at six pounds two ounces. The crowd went nuts, this was the biggest flounder so far and the day wasn't over yet.
The next group to the table had a few nice flounder and one respectable-sized weakfish for what we see these days. At that point all I wanted to know was where did you get the weakfiish, good to see that size fish is in the inland bays.
There was fifteen minutes until the scales would close, Jerry Petrucci put his flounder on the table. It measured twenty-two and-a-half inches and weighed in at four pounds and five ounces. Jerry went nuts he knew he just nailed second place.
Next up was his buddy Luke Horney, his fish measured out at twenty one and three quarters of an inch, topping the scales at three pounds eight ounces. He had to beat three pounds four ounces, a number all anglers were trying to hit for two hours.
The whole crew went nuts, all anglers were in and the scales would close in five minutes. We had our winners. There was an awards ceremony with some really big checks - not just in money but size and some beautiful trophies. The check and trophy for Nathan Mitchell was so big I couldn't get the whole thing in the frame of a picture.
Great day at the second annual Paradise Marina Bay Flounder Tournament. Up next the 2017 Flounder Pounder Open in August with a top prize of $100,000 at Paradise Marina.
What's hot now
The hot catches right now are triggerfish, spadefish, and sheepshead. The triggers are all over the place. Small hooks and clam for bait is the best bet. You have to fish for them during the day, and the action is best just before slack high tide at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier; there has been consistent action there.
The reef and wreck fishing offshore has produced boatloads of triggerfish. Many anglers agree no one has seen the action for triggers like this in our area ever before.
Surf fishing is hot for kingfish and sand perch. Otherwise it is small sharks, big sharks, dogfish, skates, and rays. Stick to top and bottom rigs for the better chance of fish and not scavengers.
Diamond State Custom Tackle rigs are the best and available at most bait shops. Their small hooks are perfect for triggerfish too. Offshore the yellowfin and now bluefin tuna bite is picking up and the chunk or the troll is working well.