Indeed, the Port Mansfield Fishing Tournament was back in top form.
About 285 anglers signed up and made their way to the Willacy County coast this weekend for the 38th annual event, which was deemed a success by tournament officials.
“We had a lot of people calling us asking when they could come down,” said Terry Neal with the Port Mansfield Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event. “We had some wind (Friday) but (Saturday) was a much better day.
“Everybody caught a lot of fish and everybody’s happy this year.”
The tournament had been in somewhat of a slump the past couple of years because of bad weather.
After Hurricane Dolly wiped out the 2008 event, the threat of tropical weather canceled offshore fishing last year and the anglers stayed away.
But with Mother Nature’s cooperation, the fishing that’s made Port Mansfield famous was on full display this time around.
“It’s been an outstanding tournament,”Air max shoes longtime PMFT weighmaster and local outdoor expert Richard Moore said. “The bay fishing was very good and offshore fishing was very good. We’ve had a lot of red snapper, good trout and a big story was that people were catching flounder again.”
There was plenty of buzz Saturday at the Port Mansfield Chamber Pavilion, and among the highlights was a beautiful dorado caught by Ryan Pemelton of McAllen.
Aboard the Trouble Maker, Pemelton caught the dorado, often referred to as a dolphin, earlier Saturday morning.
“It put up a pretty good fight and made about 3 or 4 big jumps,” Pemelton said, adding that the struggle lasted about 10 to 15 minutes.
Some unofficial leaders Saturday included Marsh Steussy, who held the top two spots in men’s bay trout division. He reeled in an 8-pound, 2-ounce trout as well as a 7-pound, 3-ounce catch.
In the men’s bay redfish category, Mario Garcia led with an 8-pound, 4-ounce red. Dallas Munroe’s 7-pound, 9-ounce catch was in second.
There were plenty of flounder brought in, and Ernesto Hinojosa led with a 5-pound, 3-ounce flounder. He led by a hair over David Rowland (5-pounds, 2-ounces).
Over on the women’s side, Rhonda Kennedy (6-pound, 4-ounce) and Hillary Gillin (6-pound, 1-ounce) held the top two spots in the bay trout category.
In bay redfish, Tabitha Vasquez led (8 pounds, 2 ounces) and Sue Nelson (8 pounds) was in second.
Donna Rowland (4 pounds, 4 ounces) was the frontrunner in the flounder category with Stacy MacMillen (3 pounds, 10 ounces) in second.
The junior division brought in some great fish as well.
In the trout category, Zach Oelsen’s 6-pound, 2-ounce catch was in first and Hayden Williams (5 pounds, 11 ounces) was in second.
The roles were reversed in the redfish group. Williams led there with his 7-pound, 11-ounce haul, while Oelsen was in second with a 7-pound, 8-ounce red.
Gordo Garza had the top two spots in flounder (4 pounds, 15 ounces and 3 pounds, 6 ounces).
Offshore totals were still being filled in, but early results listed Chris Quin with a 300-point white marlin and Perry Newby reeling in a 300 point sailfish.
Buddy Gale (20 pounds, 1 ounce) led in blackfin tuna while Murray Meggison had his 14-pound, 1-ounce wahoo in first.
It wasn’t all adults as Neal said 75 kids tried their luck in the piggy perch division.