Surf-casting tournament set April 28-29 in Harrington

April 14, 2018

There will be a surf-casting tournament held Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29, at the Harrington Fairgrounds during the Delmarva Outdoors Expo, and accuracy will be more important than distance. Former world surf-casting champion Harry Aiken had the idea for this contest and has acquired a good number of quality prizes for the winners.

Those familiar with the current format for surf-casting contests know distance is the key to winning so long as your sinker remains inbounds. In Harry’s contest, you must be within 5 feet of the target to score any points. If you hit the target, you get 20 points. Come within 1 foot and you get 19, all the way down to 5 feet, which is worth 15 points. Beyond 5 feet, your score is zero. There will be five targets spaced from 140 to 200 feet away.

The place where the plug hits, not where it rolls or bounces to, will be the place recorded for your score. The Delaware Bass Club has volunteered to keep track of where the plug lands.

Anglers may bring their own spinning or conventional surf outfits, or one will be provided by Harry. All contestants must use weights supplied by the contest. These will be plugs made by R.J. Fern. You will be allowed two practice casts, then one cast at each target.   

Everyone should plan to be there by 11 a.m., Saturday to qualify for the finals, which are at noon Sunday. If you can’t make it Saturday, you may try to qualify Sunday before the finals begin. In order to get in the championship round, you must have a higher score than the last-place qualifier from Saturday. The total number of contestants allowed in the final round is 20. Should the Saturday session by cancelled due to weather, the Sunday results will determine the winner.

First place will receive a PC Harry Aiken Custom Rod and matching reel. Second place gets a Tommy Farmer custom rod and matching reel. The next 11 places will receive various types of fishing equipment.

There is no fee to enter the Harry Aiken Casting Tournament. You will have to pay to gain admission to the Outdoor Expo, but once inside, simply go to the casting field and enter your name. 

Cast for a Cure

The Cast for a Cure Team Surf-Fishing Tournament will be held Saturday, April 28. This is a charity tournament with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.

You are encouraged to get a team of four anglers to participate in the contest with a cost of $50 per person. There are two Calcuttas – one for the largest scoring bluefish and one for the largest scoring rockfish. The cost for each Calcutta is $20 per team, with a winner-take-all format.

There will be a captain’s meeting Friday, April 27, at Old Inlet Bait and Tackle. All team captains must attend this meeting. The teams will draw their morning and afternoon fishing stations there, and all the tournament rules will be read.

On Saturday, teams will be at their assigned morning stations by 7:30 a.m., with lines in the water at 8 a.m. The fishing will break from 11 a.m. until noon. No lines in the water during the lunch break. The afternoon session will be from noon to 3 p.m. The awards will be presented at the Savages Ditch Pavilion at 4 p.m. 

In addition to the tournament, a raffle is being held for a custom-made surf-fishing rod. The rod was made and donated by Shaun Smith. The raffle tickets cost $5 each or five for $20 and may be bought during the tournament or at Old Inlet Bait and Tackle.

A great many folks have been affected by cancer, and this tournament can make a difference in some of their lives.

Fishing report

Last week, three 17- to 20-inch bluefish were caught from Lewes Beach on small bucktails. Another 17-inch blue came from Fenwick Island on cut bunker.  It ain’t much, but it’s a start.

The Katydid went out Monday looking to catch some tog. They came back with five, including a citation weighing 8.4 pounds.

In the upper bay, short rockfish and the occasional keeper have been caught. The pier at Woodland Beach, Augustine Beach, Green’s Beach and the Pipes all saw some action on bloodworms and cut bunker.

Freshwater fishing remains fair for pickerel, crappie, bass and perch. Live minnows are the best bait, followed by earthworms and grass shrimp. The upper reaches of the tidal rivers and creeks also produce the same variety of fish on the same baits.

When conditions are favorable, a good number of rockfish have been caught and released on the Susquehanna Flats.