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High Expectations Wins 2017 Edisto Shark Tourney

Jeff Dennis is a
Lowcountry native.
Read his blog at
LowcountryOutdoors.com

The annual shark tournament at Edisto Beach is transforming into something bigger than just a fishing adventure. The 2017 contest marks the eighth year that Edisto Water Sports has hosted the weigh-in at their docks located at 3731 Docksite Road. It’s becoming clear that this annual event energizes neighboring businesses and the local economy too. At the end of the day, it was longtime participant High Expectations and Captain Chris Cook that won the first place prize with a huge Tiger Shark that weighed a whopping 956-pounds.
Captain Chris Cook is from Lexington, S.C. and High Expectations is a 25-foot Sea Pro boat. He has fished the tournament consecutively for many years and has taken second place before. “This was just our year to win it because you don’t find a 956-pound shark very often,” said Cook. “In fact, this shark is the biggest one ever caught on the boat by 454-pounds! We had a piece of fish tied onto a 12-ought hook when the shark bite came around 12:40, and then my crew fought the shark for one hour and forty-five minutes before we got it to the boat.”
“We had hooked up and lost a large shark just about 20-minutes before, so the bite turned on for us a little after noon,” said Cook. “We got a late start after we were halfway to the fishing grounds before realizing a shortage of motor oil onboard, so we had to run back into the dock for oil and then went fishing. The weather was good so we could run in and out pretty easy, and after that things just went our way.”
With 35 entries in the Shark Tourney, crews like High Expectations that come from out of town, stay for a week and rent a beach house too. The dock at Edisto Water Sports was jam packed with onlookers on Saturday, June 10, during the entire weigh-in from 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM, and T-shirt sales were brisk. The Coffee Shop was selling festive blue margaritas dubbed ‘shark attack cocktails’ and the line to buy local shrimp at Edisto Seafood was nearly out the door. Residents from Wyndham rode bikes over to join in the festivities- and golf carts brought, even more, folks from all over Edisto Beach.

Reel Expectations had to overcome another large shark that had been weighed in right at 3:30 by Captain Jeremy Parsons and the Bullfrog. The 666-pound Tiger Shark reeled in by Barry Fontaine put them in a familiar position. “We have finished in second place at the shark tourney a number of times, so I knew we could be knocked out of the top spot before the scales closed,” said Fontaine. “I hooked up the shark at 11:30 when he came in close on top of the water to investigate our chum bag, and so I used a pitch bait rigged with a bonita as bait.”Reel Expectations had to overcome another large shark that had been weighed in right at 3:30 by Captain Jeremy Parsons and the Bullfrog. The 666-pound Tiger Shark reeled in by Barry Fontaine put them in a familiar position. “We have finished in second place at the shark tourney a number of times, so I knew we could be knocked out of the top spot before the scales closed,” said Fontaine. “I hooked up the shark at 11:30 when he came in close on top of the water to investigate our chum bag, and so I used a pitch bait rigged with a bonita as bait.”“The heavy tackle rod and 80W Penn International reel held up fine, and the 12-ought Owner hook stayed in place,” said Fontaine. “We were fishing in 60-feet of water at the Edisto Triangle.” The Bullfrog is a 21-foot Triton boat and the crew includes Steven Stroman, James Smythe, and Ryan Fisk. The Bullfrog was sponsored by Edisto Seafood, and the Tiger Shark was immediately cleaned on their dock, and Barry Fontaine even took the time to fry some of the shark meat and shared it with others at the weigh-in.Another important aspect of the 2017 shark tourney is the presence of law enforcement and scientific researchers. SCDNR game wardens check on boat registrations and a federal officer checked on permits required for keeping certain species such as sharks. The University of North Florida sent Professor Jim Gelsleichter and graduate student Chelsea Shields to take blood samples from any harvested sharks, targeting Tiger Sharks and Bull Sharks. They also conduct ultrasound studies on sharks as part of their Coastal Biology Research program.A third place prize went to Team Organized Chaos and Captain Will Carter for a 507-pound Tiger Shark they brought in. The weigh-in drew a large flotilla of spectator boats, and a drone could be seen flying high overhead to make a digital record of the day. Next up for saltwater fishing enthusiasts is the Jim Bost Memorial offshore tourney at the Marina at Edisto held June 17.  The captain’s meeting on Friday night at 6:30 includes food and live music, kicking off what will be a weekend full of activities on the docks including the weigh-in from 5 to 7 on Saturday.
Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (305 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com