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A fishing tournament will be this weekend on a Brunswick County island with potentially hundreds of dollars in prize money.
There’s nothing unusual about that, except this tournament was organized by two 8-year-olds.
The first Tripp and Austin’s Backwater Battle is set from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 26. The captain’s meeting will be Friday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at the Holden Beach Marina.
Boundaries are from the Little River swing bridge to the Southport waterfront. No ocean fishing is allowed.
Tournament organizers Tripp Hook and Austin Aycock are third-graders.
“They’re both in the same class this year at Union Elementary School,” said Austin’s mother, Tiffany Aycock.
The boys were at recess one day, discussing how they “live to fish,” when they came up with the idea of hosting a tournament.
“As parents on both sides, we kind of just laughed at them,” Tiffany said. “That was in January. Then they came home with their folders of the list of sponsors they wanted to talk to.”
Many said yes, and the list of sponsors now includes Holden Beach Marina, ProFinder Fishing Charts, Elite Homes, Sheffield’s Seafood & Grocery, InterCoastal Net Designs, Power Marine Outfitters, New River Marina, WFT Properties, Shallotte Marine Supplies, Dr. Frederick A. Williams, Sea Tow, RBC Centura, A Grade Above realty, AllState Insurance, Ocean Isle Fishing Center, Jimmy’s Marine, The Rubicon Group and Coffey Grounds Landscapes.
“Tripp’s daddy, David Hook, is a charter-boat captain, and my husband, Brian, has fished in several tournaments,” Tiffany said. “They just got together on the rules, and it’s become a family event.”
Tripp is a native of Ocean Isle Beach, while Austin’s family moved here a year and a half ago from Marietta, Ga.
“They both ‘live for fishing’ and hope to spread their excitement about fishing to other children,” Tiffany said.
There has been no pre-registration, so all registration will take place Friday from 4–8 p.m. A complimentary dinner will be at 6 p.m. before the captain’s meeting at 7.
Prizes, based on 50 boats entered, are $750 for the largest speckled trout, $750 for the largest flounder, $500 for second place for each of those fish, $300 for third place for each fish and $200 for fourth place for each fish.
The overall trout and flounder winner, again based on 50 boats entered, will receive $1,000, second place $500 and third place $350.
Guaranteed secondary prizes include $200, plus a custom rod, for Brandon’s Mystery Weight, junior angler prizes of $500 for first, $300 for second and $200 for third for either trout or flounder, and $250 for the largest single fish caught by a lady angler.
Scales open for weigh-ins at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“I’m proud of Tripp and Austin and excited for them,” Tiffany said. “These boys are about to make their dream come true.”