Wahoo! Fishing tournament gives back to community

Published 4:37 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A fishing tournament that began as a “redneck fishing tournament” now gives back to the community that supports it.

This past weekend’s third-annual Reel Nauti fishing tournament in waters off Ocracoke was more than just catching fish — tuna, wahoo and dolphin — and bragging rights for the top anglers. It was about raising money to help those in need in eastern North Carolina.

And it’s no wonder that Glenn Wetherington, co-owner of the Down on Main Street restaurant in downtown Washington, oversees the tournament. Wetherington is an avid angler. His restaurants walls are covered with replicas of fish.

Wetherington is serious when it comes to fishing and the Reel Nauti tournament.

“The tournament started a few years ago. Just some local guys in the area wanted to go down there a do a little betting and drinking beer and having a big time. From that, it’s done through two other individuals. I took it over three years ago,” Wetherington said. “Since I took it over, I’ve kind of pushed the issue of trying to get as many local sponsors involved as possible to try to help their businesses and try to help somebody in the community at the same time. Part of the proceeds is going to help someone in the community.”

In 2011, Jonathan “Big Head” Newman received proceeds from the tournament. Newman had been hospitalized with an ailment, Wetherington said. Last year, Ricky Radcliff was the beneficiary of tournament proceeds.

“Right now, I don’t want to say who we are helping out because they don’t know about it yet,” Wetherington said.

“It’s all about having fun and at the same time being able to help somebody out,” he said.

Turnout for the past three tournaments has been good, Wetherington said.

“The first year, I think, we had 26 boats. The second year we had 29. This year, we had 24,” he said Wednesday morning. “Anyone who wants to fish can come fish.”

The top angler in this year’s dolphin category was Bruce Tripp, who landed a 34.5-pound dolphin. Ricky Radcliff was the top angler in the wahoo and tuna categories, landing an 18.8-pound wahoo and a 24.9-pound tuna.

The three-day tournament — Thursday, Friday and Saturday — is held either the third weekend or fourth weekend in May, usually. It targets anglers in eastern North Carolina.

“It’s an adrenalin rush,” said Wetherington

Wetherington praised Ken Comfort and Edie Findley for helping him organize and coordinate the tournament.

Anyone interested in signing up for the 2014 tournament or seeking more information about the tournament should call Glenn Wetherington at Down on Main Street, 252-940-1988.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike