It was a gray, choppy day for the captains of Rock the Bay Inshore Fishing Tournament and Festival, a first-year event benefited the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch (WWAR).
The two-day festival started with a captain’s dinner on Thursday, Nov. 11 and ended with the official tournament and weigh-in on Nov. 13 at the Gulfport Municipal Marina.
Raymond Triston brought home first place with a 3.64-pound black drum. Sheepshead and redfish also gave their time for the cause.
“Our goal is to bring everyone together and have a great time,” said Treasure Island & Madeira Beach (TIMB) Chamber of Commerce President Barry Rubin. “It’s the first year, and as long as we’re respecting our waterways and supporting Wounded Warriors, then it’s a success.”
The fishy fun was sponsored by the Treasure Island & Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Gulfport Merchants Chamber of Commerce (GMC) and the Gulfport Municipal Marina.
“I have to say, thank you to everyone who came out today,” GMC President Barbara Banno said. “Thank you for spending money with the vendors, and just having fun.”
While the charity event had big goals, a smaller-than-some-tournaments turnout meant that captains could score multiple wins.
A 12-year-old captain, Brantly McFarlin, topped the leader board more than once.
Most of the snook, redfish and sheepshead caught were thrown back in after weighing, including one of the larger wins caught by angler Andrew Stewart.
“It was cold out there,” Stewart said. “Choppy, and rainy, it was a tough day.”
Regardless, the charity event went swimmingly and has the possibility of returning in an upcoming year.