Inshore waters attract fishing competitors 

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Fishermen will set off on their hunt during the early-morning hours Saturday, July 19 in the eighth annual Wrightsville Inshore Challenge out of the Wrightsville Beach Marina. The one-day fishing tournament is run by Fisherman’s Post.

The top eight places will earn prize money within two categories, flounder and red drum, said Max Gaspeny, tournament co-director and editor of Fisherman’s Post.

“I like seeing all of the people,” he said. “We have a tremendous number of regulars who have been fishing this tournament for years.”

Although the tournament is in its eighth year, it is only its third year as a part of the Fisherman’s Post’s five tournament series inshore tournament trail, Gaspeny said. The other events in the series are at Southport, Ocean Isle, Topsail Island and Carolina Beach.

The top 10 cumulative boat scores at the end of the series receive prize money, Gaspeny said. However, plenty of people choose to participate in only the Wrightsville event.

Up to 90 boats have participated in the past, with the average in recent years being 60 to 75, Gaspeny said. He expects a similar number of participants this year.

Anyone may participate, and boats may carry as many people onboard fishing as is legal, fishing from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weigh-in will take place from 1-4 p.m. at the Wrightsville Beach Marina.

All participants receive a raffle ticket for a custom fishing rod, and additional prizes will be given, such as a gift card for the Sea Tow member with the heaviest fish, Gaspeny said. After the weigh-in, an awards ceremony and party will be held for all of the anglers at Wild Wing Café.

Gaspeny, who has been fishing since he was about 6 years old, encourages anyone interested to participate. Signup is extended until the day before the tournament.

“I like fishing because it is an ever-changing problem-solving exercise,” Gaspeny said. “I also like eating fish and learning about anything in the marine environment.”

The entry fee per boat is $150, and registration will be held at Wild Wing Café in Wilmington the Friday evening before the tournament.

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