This week Team Matador Charters/ Virginia Beach Contender fished the rockfish shootout. It is a great big ole tournament and this year it was set in two divisions, eeling and trolling. We opted to do the open (eeling) division. My mates Mike (Kapoc from Blue Dragon charters) and Ben (capt. Ben from Above Average Sportfishing) worked their butts off for this tournament. The fishing was good the first day and we managed a couple bites on eels. We missed a bite just minutes into the tournament and slowly picked at nice fish one at a time for the next couple hours. With about twenty minutes left in the day, we caught a 42 pound fish. Our three fish weight on thursday was 105.8, which was good enough for second place behind Max King who had 115.5 pounds.
On day two, Friday, we started the day on the eels with a double. One fish was a nice 41 pound fish and the second fish was a wee little 21 pounder. We stuck it out eeling for the rest of the day eeling and did not have a pull after the two bites at 9 am. It was the calmer day of the tournament, but the water was nasty and did not make for good eeling conditions. It was the slowest day we have had eeling all year and the twenty one pound fish was the smallest fish I think I have ever caught on eels. Very frustrating. After friday, we were in third place, bumped down by team Mod Squad with a weight that almost beat my Virginia Beach Contender Teammate Max with a weight of 115.05 pounds.
Day three started off ok. We started off in the channel away from the eeling fleet. We caught a couple doggies and two upper twenty pound class fish real quick on eels , but after the tide change couldnt get any more bites. We continued eeling without a pull until about 1130 when I saw some birds in legal waters on the radar to the north of me. We shot up north to find a fleet, the coast guard, working birds, and some bites. We managed a couple more average trolling fish on the troll real quick before the bite shut down. We ran in and weighed a catch of 70.7 pounds on saturday. A grady white in our division came in with a nice 121 pound catch that included a 48 pound fish and won our division. This knocked us into our final position at fourth place.
The party was great and I can not stress how great of a job that Mike Standing did with this tournament. I know there was some talk about some cheating in the trolling division, but I guess anytime there is 200 boats in a tournament somebody is not gonna be happy. I spoke with Mike last night and he is looking for some sort of GPS tracking where the tournament directors can keep track of every tournament boat while they fish to help keep it honest. With over $200,000 on the line, I think that is a great idea. I dont know about the trolling division because I was not in it, but all I can say is that I am very sure that the open division was clean as a whistle. I saw most of the fish on the leaderboard in my division as they were caught and I would like to thank Mike standing for this tournament. It was first class, we had a great time, and look forward to next year. I would also like to thank my sponsor VIRGINIA BEACH CONTENDER and David Ackeridge and congratulations to Max and all the other winners.