How this father-son duo managed back-to-back flounder tournament victories
By Gregg Holshouser
May 03, 2019 05:07 PM
Murrells Inlet resident Peter Gerace and his son, Cullen, have one heck of a flounder spot on the north end of the inlet, and for two straight years it has produced the winning flounder in the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers Association Flounder Tournament.
A year ago, then-9-year-old Cullen Gerace was the angler on a 4.1-pound flounder that was the largest weighed in for the tournament.
The Geraces returned to the same spot last Saturday for the 18th annual tournament, and this time Peter Gerace was the angler on a 21-inch, 3.90-pound flounder that topped all flounder weighed in by the 214 anglers competing in the tournament.
Ed Librick finished second with a 3.40-pounder, followed by Coleman Bess in third place with a 2.55-pounder. Tate Mincey claimed the Youth Division with a 1.75-pound flounder. Andrew Turner was second with a 1.55-pounder.
“I love it,” said Peter Gerace of the back-to-back wins. “We had plenty of years where didn’t place and several years in the top 10. Our plan last year worked so we figured we’d go to the same spot.”
The Geraces headed out at the 6 a.m. lines-in time and made their way to the spot, an area not heavily fished even with flounder fishermen scouring over the little inlet.
“It was the same area, same hole as last year,” said Gerace. “It’s a small creek and at some point fish go through this creek — they’ve got to be there at some time in the tide. We only had a few boats come by.”
The duo had live mud minnows available but had the most success working a Z-Man Shadz root beer/gold soft plastic grub on a 1/4-ounce jig head.
“Cullen had a grand slam by 9:30 a.m., a 16-inch flounder, 18-inch trout and an over-slot red,” said Peter Gerace. “He caught them all on the grub. We threw a couple Carolina rigs out, a few jig heads with mud minnows and they didn’t get snipped. We threw the grub out there and it got crushed.”
About 11 a.m., Peter Gerace hooked up with the tournament winner in surprise fashion.
“My fish ate literally right behind the motor,” said Gerace. “I was about to take (the lure) out of the water and it came up three feet off the bottom, grabbed it and went straight back down. I pulled him back up and Cullen scooped him into the net and threw him in the boat. It was literally like 4-5 seconds before the fish was in the net.
“Cullen said ‘You just won,’ just like I said to him last year.”
As a bonus, Cullen Gerace won first place for weighing in the largest bluefish, which weighed just over 2 pounds.
“The bluefish ate his grub when he was skipping it across the top of the water, reeling it in,” said Peter Gerace. “He blew up on it.”
Peter Gerace noted he won $1,500 for the largest flounder while Cullen Gerace won $465 for the largest bluefish.
“We love that tournament, love supporting the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers,” said Peter Gerace. “We’re looking forward to another tournament next year. Hopefully we can do it again.”
IFA Redfish Tour
The tour’s first event in the Atlantic Division was held last weekend out of Georgetown’s Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex, and was the stage for a rare feat by a Florida duo.
Fishing partners Danny Sheldon of Newberry, Fla., and Kyle Craven of Mcclenny, Fla., weighed in a two-fish limit of red drum totaling 8.57 pounds to win the tournament and claim their second straight win on the IFA tour.
On April 13, Sheldon and Craven won the most recent IFA Redfish Tour event at New Smyrna Beach, Fla., in a tournament in the Florida East Division.
Early-morning engine trouble kept the duo relatively close to the launch site at the Sampit River, but they threw Berkley Gulp Shrimp to place two redfish on the upper end of South Carolina’s 15-23 inch slot limit in the live well.
“There are so many different variables and so many good anglers that you have to have a lot of things go your way just to win one,” said Sheldon. “To win two events back-to-back is surreal. We both have a lot of experience and we both love it and work hard, so it’s real rewarding to have this happen and we are grateful for it.”
The team has won two Ranger RB190 boats, powered by 90-horsepower, four-stroke Mercury outboards for the pair of wins, accumulating more than $58,000 in winnings.
Stan Allen of Tybee, Ga., and hometown angler Geoffrey Payne of Andrews finished second with a two-fish, 7.80-pound aggregate.
Both tournaments in the tour’s Atlantic Division are being held in Georgetown, with the second one set for July 20, also out of the Campbell Marine Complex.
Dave Jaskiewcz of Wando continued to dominate the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour with a win in that division.
Jaskiewcz, who has six wins on the tour and three Divisional Angler of the Year titles, caught a 23-inch spotted seatrout and a 29.5-pound redfish to win at Georgetown.
S.C. Wahoo Series
Team Reelist, led by Capt. Trea Everett of St. Helena Island, claimed first place in the 2019 S.C. Wahoo Series.
Teams were allowed three fishing days and to weigh in one wahoo per day from Feb. 8 through April 27 in the state-wide event that featured three weigh-in locations — Hilton Head Harbour Marina, Toler’s Cove Marina in Mt. Pleasant and Georgetown Landing Marina.
Each team’s two heaviest wahoo were combined for a two-fish aggregate to determine the winner.
The Reelist crew boated wahoo weighing 84.8 and 72.3 pounds for their winning aggregate of 157.1 pounds. Hay Fever out of Walterboro finished second with a 155.2-pound aggregate.
The Conway crew of Lost Bills, led by Capt. Bill McKealge, was third, with wahoo weighing 76.8 and 65.6 pounds for a 142.4-pound aggregate. Nervous Water of Ridgeland was fourth with a 141.1-pound aggregate.
The Georgetown crew of Tailwalker Marine and Capt. Stuart Ballard claimed fifth place with wahoo weighing 83.6 and 52.1 pounds, good for a 135.7-pound aggregate.
S.C. Governor’s Cup
The South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series is about to get rolling with the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament, set for May 8-11.
Next up on the docket of five tournaments is the granddaddy, the 52nd annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament May 22-25 out of Georgetown Landing Marina.
The Student Angler League Tournament Trail is helping stage a pair of fishing events for area student anglers.
The first event, John Landers Youth Day, will be held May 11 at 2nd Ave. Pier in Myrtle Beach and will feature pier fishing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The second event, the 3rd Annual Christopher Morris Fishing Seminar, will be held May 18 and feature pond fishing at Lakewood Campground located at 5901 South Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information, visit SALTTFishing.com or call 843-902-4274.