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UNCLE JACK'S WEBLOG
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
64th Annual Nags Head Fishing Tourney
       One of Uncle Jack's favorite Outer Banks entertainments kicks off tomorrow in Nags Head. It's the 64th running of the Nags Head Surf Fishing Club's annual tournament in which some 500 avid fishermen and women will engage in piscatorial combat for two days in search of bragging rights for the coming year.
       This year's contest will be of particular interest to Uncle Jack because it might shed some further light on the impact of Nags Head's beach replenishment program on surf fishing in the town. He noticed that in 2011, the last year of the tournament before renourishment, the winning team caught 170 fish for 337 points. In 2012, fishing from the newly replenished beach, the winning team (the Mullet Mamas) caught 38 fish for 97 points. Last year the winning team, fishing in abominable conditions, caught only 7 fish worth 93 points. Conditions look ideal for this year's tournament so it will be interesting to see if the scores rebound to anything like pre-renourishment levels.
       Way back in the 80's when Uncle Jack first moved to Nags Head to stay he wrote a column for the Outer Banks Current newspaper about his adventures as a judge for the tournament. He dragged it out of the archives for this occasion and here it is again.

                            It's Nice to be a Judge

If you ask Uncle Jack, one of the best things about living in a country like the U.S.A. is that almost everybody has a chance to be somebody when he grows up. You do not have to be born rich and you do not have to have a father who is a county commissioner or some other important person like that.
All you have to do is go to school and pay attention to the teachers and learn how to do those arithmetic problems where the trains start out from different places and also memorize the capitals of all the states and if you can do this you are sure to be a success. And if you can hang around long enough to graduate from high school there is almost no limit on how far you can go. Uncle Jack knows.
He has been thinking a lot this week about how lucky he was to be born in the U.S.A. because something happened to him this week that would never happen to an ordinary run-of-the-mill person like himself in most other countries. What happened was that Uncle Jack was picked to be a judge of the Nags Head Surf Fishing Tournament which starts on Thursday and goes until Saturday.
In case you do not know what this means he will explain that the judges are the people who drive up and down the beach for two days, picking up dead fish and measuring them so the scorers can figure out who won the tournament.
He should not have to tell you that this is a very important job and not everybody can get to be a judge. For one thing you have to be highly respected in your community and for another thing you have to own a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Uncle Jack is not sure which is more important but he can tell you that as soon as he bought his new secondhand Jeep they picked him to be a judge, no questions asked.
Anyway this is the highest honor Uncle Jack has ever had and he can hardly believe what has happened. Who can believe that an ordinary, average child of poor parents, born in the north woods of Wisconsin, thousands of miles from the nearest ocean, would one day grow up to become a judge of the oldest, largest and finest surf fishing tournament in Dare County?
If you ask Uncle Jack this is real proof that the American Way of Life is working just the way the Founding Fathers hoped it would.
Uncle Jack is not taking this honor lightly, either. He is doing his best to get ready so he will be able to do a good job of judging. For one thing he has sworn off all spiritual beverages until after the judging is finished because he knows how hard it is to measure fish accurately when your hands are shaking or when you have impaired your faculties with foreign substances such as Scotch whisky.
He knows he has to measure every fish very carefully because the outcome of the whole tournament could rest on how well he does his measuring. Also he knows he could be assaulted by some irate fisherman if he does it wrong.
Uncle Jack knows that different kinds of fish get different numbers of points so he is studying hard to learn the various kinds of fish so he does not make any mistakes that way. Yesterday he finally mastered most of the main differences between the tarpon and the flounder and he plans to keep studying right up to the time he has to start judging.
Uncle Jack does want to warn all the contestants about the new state law that says you cannot drink beer or any other spiritual beverages in a motor vehicle even when the motor vehicle is on the beach and not on a highway. He wants all the contestants to know that he is planning to keep a sharp eye out for anybody who breaks this law and he will not hesitate to report them to the police. As far as Uncle Jack is concerned beer-drinking has no place in the Nags Head Surf Fishing Tournament anyway and he knows the vast majority of the club members will back him up on that.


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This is what the anglers were up against during last year's tournament. Not shown are the massive gobs of weeds that fouled the surf from one end of Nags Head to the other.

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This giant stinkpot (as the real sailors call them) was docked in downtown Manteo last week. It's called Prestige Lady and belongs to a charter company called Prestige Yachts in Virginia.

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Uncle Jack's house on the beach road in South Nags Head is available for all of November except Thanksgiving week. A great time for a fall getaway. Google "Uncle Jack's Beach Cottage" for more info.

posted by Uncle Jack at 10:12 AM

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Except for short hiatus in Baltimore Uncle Jack has lived in Nags Head for over 45 years. He was a columnist for the Outer Banks Current and its successor, the Outer Banks Sentinel, for 20 years. A collection of his columns is available from Amazon Kindle under the title Uncle Jack's Outer Banks. He and Mrs. Uncle Jack, aka Sue, live in South Nags Head whence he observes and sometimes comments on the passing parade.
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