Offshore division of Poco Bueno canceled
July 17, 2014 at 2:17 a.m.
Updated July 18, 2014 at 2:18 a.m.
Blue marlin along the Texas Gulf Coast can rest easier this weekend, but trout and redfish should watch their bites.
The offshore division of the 45th annual Poco Bueno Fishing Tournament was canceled Thursday because of inclement weather, said Walter Fondren, the tournament coordinator whose father started the event.
The inshore division of the tournament is going on as planned. Teams begin fishing at 6:15 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Weigh-ins are from 4 to 5 p.m. Friday and from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
For the first time, the entire offshore tournament was canceled after the fishermen had already arrived with their boats, Fondren said.
"We canceled it in advance because of the hurricane in 1969," he said. "And we've canceled one of the two tournament days because of weather but never both."
The 117 offshore teams that registered for the tournament had dwindled to 94 because of the weather and other factors, Fondren said.
"We are happy about it ourselves - we knew last week the weather was going to be bad," said Scott Simmons, 39, of Port Aransas, who has fished in the tournament since 1993. "We care more about the safety of our fishermen and didn't want the boat to take the beating."
Winds reached 23 knots Thursday and were expected to reach 15 to 20 knots Friday and Saturday, according to a National Weather Service forecaster. The chance for showers and thunderstorms was predicted to drop from 30 percent Friday to 20 percent Saturday, and 4- to 6-foot seas were expected throughout the weekend.
A small craft advisory, which extends 60 nautical miles, was in effect south of Matagorda Bay. In the bay, small crafts were advised to use caution, according to the National Weather Service.
"We had everything set up and ready to go," said Zackri Zoeller, 27, of Rockport, who has fished in the tournament since he was 16. "We burned fuel for nothing."
The biggest letdown is the missed opportunity to win, said Lance Scheid, 29, of Houston.
"We are all married with kids and look forward to this weekend of fishing," Scheid said. "It is a vacation for us."
Other fishing tournaments are scheduled every weekend for the remainder of the summer, which makes rescheduling Poco Bueno impossible, Fondren said.
"I can't control the weather and better safe than sorry," Fondren said. "I don't want to see anyone hurt - or their boats hurt. We'll be here next year."