Presented by the Eastern Shore of Virginia Anglers Club, the 2019 Onancock Bay Challenge will take place this year on Saturday, October 12. Now in its twenty-ninth year, the popular event emphasizes families and youths angling for the diverse fish species available on the Eastern Shore. It is broadly supported by Eastern Shore businesses, with proceeds going to fund scholarships for Accomac and Northampton County youths to attend environmental education/adventure/discovery camps at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station.
Over $6,500 worth of prizes will be presented to registered participants in awards and drawings at the weigh-in, where there will also be musical entertainment by Thelma and Erika Peterson, plus light snacks supplied by Janet’s Cafe.
Youths 15 and under are eligible to fish for free in the Onancock Bay Challenge, while there is only a $25 entry fee for others. Adult plaques, youth trophies, and gift certificates, which are sponsored by Sea Hawk Sports Center, Seaworthy Marine, and K&E Marine, will be awarded for the largest and second-largest entries in eight categories: spot, bluefish, flounder, gray trout, speckled trout, sand mullet, striped bass (from 20 to 36 inches long), and red drum (18 to 26 inches long).
Other sponsored awards include:Best adult-caught fish – $600 cash award sponsored by Mason-Davis Realtors.Best Angler’s Club member fish – $600 cash award sponsored by East Coast Fiberglass & Finish, Inc..Best youth angler-caught fish – $600 cash award, sponsored by Blarney Stone Pub
All participants will be entered into drawings for dozens of valuable fishing-related prizes, leading up to the Grand Prize drawing worth more than $300.
Anglers must register prior to the event, and all people fishing from the same boat must be registered for the event. Fishing is with rod and reel or hand line only, and begins at 6:30 A.M. Anglers have to present their fish to be weighed in at the Onancock Wharf by 5:30 P.M., and are encouraged to release anything that they will not eat or enter in the event. Oct. 13 is the bad-weather day.
New this year are performance fishing shirts featuring Mark Susinno’s original artwork of striped bass. These shirts will be available at the weigh-in site. Bay Challenge rules and registration forms are available at Sea Hawk Sports Center, Seaworthy Marine, K&E Marine, and the Onancock Town Office. For more information, call 757-709-8697, or visit the Events page at www.esanglersclub.org.