Washington youth win Barta Billfish Tournament

Published 12:15 am Monday, July 24, 2017

Give a kid a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a kid to fish, and he’ll win the Barta Boys and Girls Club Billfish Tournament.

Thursday and Friday, a group of Washington children fished in the tournament aboard the General, a boat captained by Wade Fickling, Mayor Mac Hodges’ son-in-law.

Galen Niederhauser, who accompanied the kids along with Steven Lee and Michael Lee, said that the event was a great time for the kids.

For 12-year-old Davis Lee and 7-year-old Cate Calloway Lee, this was especially true, because they caught the biggest fish of the weekend.

Their 61.7-pound wahoo won the pair the junior angler grand slam division, according to the tournament’s website.

Niederhauser said at first the kids were stunned when they reeled in the prize fish.

“Wahoo is a scary looking fish,” he said. “It looks like a big barracuda.”

Fourteen-year-olds Macon and Miller Lee, 11-year-old Maddox Lee and 9-year-old Gabe Niederhauser rounded out the group of young anglers.

Thursday, the boat left out of Morehead and saw a 300-pound marlin, but couldn’t get it to bite. The group did, however, catch dolphin, skipjack and blackfin tuna, said Niederhauser.

“None of the adults reeled anything in,” he said. “It was all the kids.”

Catching the 62-pound wahoo, which was the biggest fish and only wahoo of the tournament, was a team effort.

“Cate Calloway reeled it in 20 yards and then Davis got in the chair and Davis reeled it in the rest of the way,” said Niederhauser.

The size of the fish drew a large crowd on the Beaufort waterfront for the weigh-in, he said.

While this was Niederhauser’s first year accompanying kids in the tournament, Steven Lee has been in prior years and The General has participated frequently.

The tournament is a charity event put on by Tred Barta, a record-setting fisherman and former host of his own hunting and fishing TV show.

According to the website, the tournament has raised $874,000 for the Boys & Girls Club.