Storms churn up Spanish mackerel surge

Capt. Lee Haynie's team of Tennessee Whiskey display their catch. From left are Tim Skelton, Kevin Evans, Richard Williams and Tony Ashburn.

Following a morning thunderstorm and downpour, fishermen on board 42 boats dropped their lines at 7 a.m—on schedule—last Saturday in the ninth annual Dream Fields Spanish Mackerel Fishing Tournament.

The rain eventually gave way to a sun-filled afternoon and fishermen began weighing in their catches around 1:30 p.m.

“The Spanish mackerel caught were not extremely numerous or large but there was a nice 4 and 1/2-pound fish weighed in to help the winning team bring home the top prize,” said tournament co-director Mia Loser.

Capt. Sam Fisher of Heathsville with team Right Hook took home the top prize, weighing in four fish for an aggregate weight of 9.47 pounds.

Ron Edwards of Burgess and crew aboard Square Footage had an aggregate weight of 7.82 pounds for second place and John O’Shaughnessy of White Stone with team Kingfish was third with an aggregate weight of 7.56 pounds.

The boat numbers were a little lower than usual because of the threat of storms, according to co-director Mike Loser. “However, our spirits remained high and the event was enjoyed by all.”

Junior angler Carter Wood of Quinton, aboard Idle Time, hauled in a 1.82-pound fish to win the top prize in that category. Nate George of Kilmarnock, fishing with team Docks of the Bay, caught a 1.51-pound fish for second place in the junior division and Cason Rogers of Heathsville aboard Midnight Sun won third with a 1.47-pound fish.

Hannah Mitchell of Heathsville, fishing aboard the Midnight Sun, landed a 1.78-pound Spanish mackerel for first place in the ladies category. Second place went to Jessica Rogers of Heathsville, also aboard Midnight Sun. She caught a 1.60-pound fish. Brandy Edwards of Burgess, fishing with team Square Footage, landed a 1.43-pound fish for third place.

The awards dinner following the tournament was held this year at Dream Fields ballpark in Kilmarnock.

“It was a grand time under a huge tent and the fishermen and sponsors enjoyed the celebration and fellowship,” said former tournament director Kathy Pittman. “What a great community event that benefits the youth of Lancaster County Little League.”

Plans are already in progress for next year’s tournament, August 18, 2018.