Sunday, August 7, 2016

Annual Unicorn Tournament

Since the end of the Oriental Rotary Club's annual tarpon tournament, local anglers who missed the competition started their own.   Last year Capt. Mitchell Blake caught one and he continues to be the reining champion because none of the 11 boats participating in this year's event caught a tarpon.   Capt. Greg Voliva, favored to win the event, did see one, but failed to get a bite.   Yes, I also participated and through my one day of practice and one day of competition, we did not see a fish.   We did catch two old drum,  one of them 5 miles up the river from Oriental and one of them 15 miles down the river.   Good sign that they are here.

For over a decade tarpon numbers in the Pamlico Sound have declined and no one knows why.  Herd plenty of theories, maybe you can suggest some more:

The inlets have closed.
Global warming, they are passing us by and going to the Chesepeake (where there is menhaden purse seining)
Since the ban of menhaden purse seining in NC waterrs, there is more bait in the ocean and they are staying there, not coming into the Pamlico Sound.
They can't find their way through all the pound nets.
There is less shrimp trawling and they depend on the bycatch.
There is more shrimp trawling and they are eating all the bycatch.
There are plenty of tarpon there, only they don't roll anymore.
All the tarpon fishermen who knew how to catch them are too old to fish for them anymore.

All this said, I am looking forward to next year's unicorn tournament.  Thank you Gene for putting this together for us.   One of the best days I ever had tarpon fishing, I never caught a fish.