Hatteras Offshore Open kicks off billfish series

Published 12:15 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2023

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The 2023 Hatteras Village Offshore Open attracted 43 boats with anglers who hooked and released 75 blue marlins, 12 white marlins and two spearfish. Eight marlins were brought to the docks.

Tournament competitors navigated a clear Hatteras Inlet channel for three days of fishing, May 11, 12 and 13. All boats took a lay day May 10.

On the last day, Fin Planner and Weldor’s Ark competed for first place with point totals leaping back and forth and tied at the end. The tie was broken. Fin Planner released two minutes earlier than Weldor’s Ark and won Level I and II.

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Fin Planner, which docks at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, is captained by Chris Gornell. Anglers aboard Fin Planner released seven blue marlins and one white marlin over the three days of fishing.

Mark Fortier, of Raleigh, is Fin Planner’s owner. Two mates worked the tournament: Chris Storrs and Vance Fortier. Fishing aboard Fin Planner were Dean Howard, Ran Johnston Jr., Ran Johnston III, Spencer Hodges and Sara Hanna Fortier.

For this 29th Hatteras village tournament, Fin Planner was awarded $36,195.83.

Weldor’s Ark, captained by Dale Britt, of Greenville, finished second and received $36,394.16.

In 2022, Weldor’s Ark won the North Carolina Billfish Series and the Top Private Boat award. Fin Planner finished in second place in last year’s Billfish Series and claimed Top Charter Boat title.

Top tournament money in the amount of $121,550 was presented to the Bullwinkle, captained by Daniel Spencer and owned by Paul Spencer. Mate was “Cuz” Fulgham. Anglers aboard were Kenny Bruce and Chris Mowery.

Bullwinkle boated two blue marlins, both the largest blue weighing 581.7 pounds and second largest blue at 546 pounds.

Third place in Levels I and II went to Blue Bill, captained by Mike King, of Wilmington. The prize for third place was $10,285.

Daily winners in the wahoo and dolphin categories were:

Ali Kat Too, Level V Daily Wahoo, Jason C. Temple, captain, Stella. Prize: $2,904.17.

Magic Moment, Level V Daily Dolphin, Pete Rae, captain, Four Oakes. Prize: $2,904.17.

Christine Marie, Daily Wahoo, second place Level III Wahoo, Brian Behe, captain, Potomac, Md. Prize $6,389.17.

Wasabi, Daily Dolphin Level V, second place Level III Dolphin, Corbett L. Johnson, Atlantic Beach. Prize: $6,389.17.

Stream Weaver, Daily Wahoo Level V, first place Level III Wahoo, Timmy Kidwell, captain, Wilmington. Prize $8,131.67.

Johnie Floyd, Daily Dolphin Level V, first place Level III Dolphin, Jake Ramsey, captain, Jacksonville. Prize: $8,131.67.

The Hatteras Village Offshore Open is the opening event of the North Carolina Billfish Series.

Proceeds from the tournament support the Hatteras Village Civic Association scholarships for college-bound village residents. Additionally, proceeds support charitable causes in the community.

The awards presentation was held Saturday evening, May 13, 2023 at the Hatteras Village Civic Center. The dinner was catered by Kelly’s OBX Catering.