Capt. Eddy Haneman Sailfish Tournament this weekend honors a Wrightsville Beach legend

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For the 18th straight year, anglers from across the area will come to Wrightsville Beach this weekend to remember a legendary local fisherman and boater while raising thousands for charitable organizations.

The Capt.Eddy Haneman Sailfish Tournament, which starts with registration tonight, Thursday, July 27 at Bridge Tender Marina at 6 p.m., is expected to draw as many as 50 boats. Since its inception, the tournament has raised $125,000 for Lower Cape Fear Hospice and even more for various local children’s charities, said organizer Kit Taylor.

With its 25 mile offshore boundary limit, Taylor said the tournament helps promote inshore fishing.

“It lets the small boats that can’t do offshore participate in the tournament,” said Taylor.

The sailfish release tournament will track winners by the number of catches. There will also be prizes for the largest dolphin fish caught and weighed, and an under-16 tournament that will mount catches for young anglers, Taylor said.

Boats will fish in the inshore areas on Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The awards ceremony will be Sunday at noon at Bridge Tender Marina, which will include a fundraising raffle and auction.

Taylor said the tournament also serves to recognize the legacy of Capt.Eddy Haneman, who operated a charter fishing boat service in Wrightsville Beach for nearly 50 years. After moving here in 1946, Haneman bought an old Coast Guard reserve boat he renamed the Martha Ellen and launched his fishing charter business, one of only three in the area at the time, Taylor said.

He piloted the Martha Ellen until it sank from debris in 1977, moving on to captain other boats. He died in 1994 at the age of 74. Taylor, who started the tournament along with Tripp Brice and Jimmy Vass, said it was a way to honor a legendary angler.

“He was instrumental in bringing modern fishing techniques here,” Taylor said. “He would make his own rods. They’re very rare, but there will be one at the fundraiser.”

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