Shark fishing tournament pushed back after concern from local leaders

Shark fishing tournament pushed back after concern from local leaders
Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 9:28 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Marty Wright moved to Southport to open Madkingz Tackle Shop. After hearing from some of his customers that there weren’t enough local fishing tournaments, he decided to organize one himself.

“We have shark fishermen that shop here,” Wright said. “And they wanted to have a fun little competition so we were going to host it for them.”

He organized a tournament that would allow anglers to fish for sharks anytime during the day along the beaches in Brunswick County.

The tournament was supposed to start this weekend, but after several mayors of local beach towns expressed their concerns about it being in the middle of tourist season, it’s now happening in October.

“We still have tourists here right on through October, November,” said Mayor Alan Holden of Holden Beach. “In fact, our biggest festival of the year is the last weekend of October. So yeah, we’re still concerned.”

Mayor Holden says that his town is the only one so far that has filed legal papers from stopping Wright’s tournament from happening at all.

“Who wants to be out on the beach with your kids and someone is fishing for sharks right beside you,” Mayor Holden said. “That makes no sense.”

While Wright says he understands local leaders’ concerns, he says their worries aren’t all facts.

“The shark fishermen I know don’t use chum,” he said. “They actually kayak several hundred yards off the beach. They do it at night. I don’t know of any people swimming at night. Do you?”

He agreed to move the tournament several months from tourist season but says he’s done the research, and lines will be cast regardless in October.

“I’ve done checked with the State Department of Marine Fisheries and that’s public beach, public water, and it’s legal to shark fish,” he said. “And that’s my stance on it.”

The tournament will now be held the first week of October. Wright says fishing will only be allowed to take place at night if it is from the shore.

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