In a tournament chock full of veteran Murrells Inlet flounder fishermen, a youngster landed the biggest doormat.
Joe Scheu, an 18-year-old senior at Carolina Forest High School, was that angler, bringing in a tournament-best 4.45-pound flounder last Saturday to win the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers 15th annual Flounder Tournament held within the boundaries of the inlet.
Joe Scheu’s flounder, which measured 21 1/2 inches, earned the grand prize of $1,500. Camille Scott with a 3.75-pounder finished second followed by Kevin Prosser (3.65), Ashley McLamb (3.55) and Mark Crenshaw (3.15) to round out the top five.
Scheu’s fish topped quite a field – the largest in the considerable history of the tournament – with 269 anglers competing.
Scheu and his dad, Hank Scheu, were fishing with one of those very knowledgeable inlet flounder fishermen – Murrells Inlet native Albert Stutts.
“He knows all the holes,” Hank Scheu said of Stutts. “He put us on the spot.”
Stutts had his eye on a spot in an area called Charlie Cut, but it was occupied early Saturday morning when fishing began.
Around midday, the spot came open and the trio began casting mud minnows on 1/2-ounce jig heads, with a slow retrieve.
Around 1 p.m., the big bite happened for Joe Scheu, who does most of his fishing for bass in local lakes and ponds in the Carolina Forest area.
“I casted between two oyster beds, with an opening in the middle,” said Scheu. “I was working it real slow and my line got loose. I reeled it in and it got looser (so) it was swimming toward me when I got it on. I thought it was going to be something small.
“By the time I got it to the boat it started to fight. Then we saw it at the surface and saw how big it was. We yelled ‘get the net,’ and my dad scooped it up. As soon as we pulled it up, my dad knew right away that was going to win (the tournament).”
The trio had a super day of fishing overall, catching 15 flounder with six keepers including the winning fish. They also landed an 18-inch black drum.
As for Joe Scheu, who plans to attend Coastal Carolina University and study Marine Biology after graduating from Carolina Forest High School, he was thrilled to catch the biggest flounder among so many anglers.
“It’s amazing – my first tournament, 18 years old and I won it,” said Scheu. “I couldn’t believe it, nobody could believe it. I’m really excited about it. It was a good experience and it was fun.”
Other top finishers were Ken Jacobs (2.85) in sixth place followed by Nick Contino (2.75, 20 inches), George Smart (2.75, 19 inches) and Jimmy Johnson (2.75, 18.26 inches).
Myra Leach was the top angler in the Youth Division with a 2.55-pound flounder. Eathan Schmaus was second with a 2.2-pounder followed by Ben Pardue with a 1.75-pounder.
A total of 87 flounder were weighed in during the tournament.
Georgetown is a hopping town this weekend with a couple tournaments on opposite ends of the saltwater fishing spectrum underway.
The 8th annual Georgetown Meatfish Slam out of Georgetown Landing Marina, targeting dolphin, wahoo and tuna, features fishing on Friday and Saturday with boats able to fish one of the two days.
Seven boats chose to fish Friday with 31 boats set to fish on Saturday. For more information, contact the marina at 843-546-1776.
After the Meatfish Slam, Georgetown Landing Marina will get geared up to host the 49th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament May 25-28. The tournament is the second leg of the 2016 South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series.
Across town, at the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex on the Sampit River, a pair of tournaments targeting red drum are being staged.
The IFA Redfish Tour Presented by Cabela's, a boat event, features fishing on Saturday with the weigh-in Saturday afternoon at the Campbell Complex.
The IFA kayak event – the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing – begins with registration at 6 p.m. on Saturday with the captain’s meeting to follow at the Campbell Complex.
The kayak anglers will launch Sunday from the location of their choice with the weigh-in scheduled for Surf the Earth, located at 47 Da Gullah Way in Pawley's Island. The kayak weigh-in is based on photo evidence, with all fish released immediately after being caught.
The IFA Redfish Tour consists of five divisions in the southeast from South Carolina to Texas. The Atlantic Division features two tournaments, both scheduled for Georgetown. The second event is set for Sept. 24-25, also at the Campbell Complex.
For more information, visit www.IFATours.com.
Far Out Shootout
Ocean Isle Fishing Center in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., is hosting the upcoming Far Out Shootout, a tuna, wahoo and dolphin rodeo, scheduled for May 7-15.
Boats competing in the tournament can fish one of eight days, May 7-14, with an awards breakfast set for May 15.
Gregg Holshouser: firstname.lastname@example.org