Joe Gittinger of Cape Charles, competing in the Special Angler Open Division of the Special Angler Foundation Catch-and-Release Tournament, has secured 1st Place. Up until Friday, August 7th, Gittinger, fishing for the Town Of Cape Charles Pier Team, had been stuck at four species, a puffer, sea robin, pinfish, and black sea bass. Other anglers, seeing his progress fishing the Cape Charles Pier, stormed the town last Friday (Special and Junior Anglers alike) in an attempt to neutralize his advance. The Cape Charles Pier provides deep channel fishing and a fishing license that covers all anglers fishing on the pier.
In the heated fishing duel that developed on the pier, Travis Smith, of White Stone, the 2015 Special Angler National Champion, quickly picked up three species of his own, a black sea bass, a pinfish, and a very rare gag grouper, a species not well known to Virginia waters, but dominant in Florida. With the pressure building, Gittinger hurled a “Hail Mary”, and made a dash to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Pier, with Smith in hot pursuit. Gittinger quickly scored on a sea mullet, bringing his count to five species. Smith then answered with a sea robin catch. Gittinger then fired back with a sliver perch catch, securing his first place standing.
Throughout this week, Gittinger has continued to bring in several other catches, including pigfish, and several tasty bluefish. His catches have caught the eye of the Cape Charles chapter of Fish Dispatch, in which he has become a sponsored angler, providing catch reports to their fish report dispatch system.
Gittinger heads to the Northern Neck this coming week to defend his Special Angler Division title in the Dream Fields Spanish Mackerel Tournament. Since the inception of the Special Angler Division in 2013, Gittinger has either won the division out right, or tied for 1st place. He will be fishing this year for the pride of the Eastern Shore aboard the Jimmick Jr. III captained by Jim Diebler.
All the results of the ongoing catch-and-release tournament sponsored by the Special Angler Foundation can be found on their live leaderboard: http://content.fishdispatch.com/Leaderboards/SpecialAnglerVMRCLeaderboard.html
The rules for competition can be found at the Special Angler website. Cash prizes are available to Virginia Jr. and Jr. Special Anglers, while the Special Angler Open Division is available to all Special Anglers from all states nationwide for national ranking points.
“promoting the inclusion of the special needs community in public fishing tournaments”
The details of our award program that is nationwide and includes all Junior Anglers and Special Anglers can be found here: http://www.specialangler.org/vmrc-junior-angler-awards-program.html
We created this particular tournament at the beginning of 2014 and extended it to all Junior Anglers and Special Anglers in any state. Since our mission is to promote the inclusion of the special needs community in public tournaments, extending our prize money to all Junior Anglers (vice just Special Anglers), enabled this tournament to fit within our mission (i.e., public and accessible to all).
We still have all of the $300 in prize money on the table for 2015 for all Jr. and Jr. Special Anglers that complete the VMRC Jr. Angler Awards program.
Fish Dispatch has provided us a live leaderboard capability that shows our current results: http://content.fishdispatch.com/Leaderboards/SpecialAnglerVMRCLeaderboard.html