Valhalla Flounder Open Results - The Fisherman

Valhalla Flounder Open Results

VALHALLA-FLOUNDER-OPEN
George Gaudlap (second from left) and his Raging Raymond crew took most of the award money from the Valhalla Flounder Open on May 20, 2023. Photo by John DeBona.

Prior to hosting this past weekend’s 4th annual Raging Raymond Fluke Tournament in Little Egg Harbor, the Raging Raymond tournament team took top honors in the 1st annual Valhalla Flounder Open out of Viking Yachting Center in New Gretna.

Despite a rainy, dismal day on Saturday, May 20, 53 boats competed in the Valhalla Open with 117 fluke brought to the weigh-in, both “slots” and overs.  At the end of the tournament day, Capt. George Gaudlap and his Raging Raymond crew took first place overall with a two-fish total of 8.12 pounds. In second was Joe Danauros and his InDeep crew (7.13 pounds) followed by team Philaay II captained by Phil Natale (6.96 pounds).  Raging Raymond (4.63 pounds) narrowly edged out Freedom Boat Club tournament entry Awesome Sauce (4.62 pounds) for biggest fish of the contest.

A unique aspect of Valhalla Flounder Open was incorporating the New Jersey slot fish  into the Calcutta prizes, with Raging Raymond also winning the Big Bag Calcutta which awarded cash to the team getting the largest New Jersey bag (one fish 18 inches or over, and two fish from 17 to 17.99 inches.)  In the charity Calcutta division, five finalists also walked away with great tournament prizes for the heaviest 17 to 17.99-inch slot fish, with Robert Brown’s Pretty Ter team getting a large bucket of prizes including a SIMRAD unit for a 2.26-pound slot.  Gerry McGeary’s Contender nabbed second place (2.20 pounds) followed by Philaay II (2.19 pounds).  A huge applause met with Phil Natale’s prize acceptance when he turned over the giant basket of S&S Bucktails to the top-prize winning youth in the tournament, Jason Rawa from the Kathleen.

Also earning slot fluke prizes were InDeep and Mark Fenton’s Reel Ambitious.  With many fluke tournaments in 2022 experiencing a slight downtick in participation – undoubtedly due to the incorporation of the slot summer flounder – seeing 53 boats compete in miserable weather conditions is a good indication that big “slot” prizes brought folks in to the fold.

Formerly known as the RFA Bass River Classic, the Valhalla Flounder Open was hosted by Valhalla Yacht Sales and Valhalla Boats, and was based out of Breeze’s Bar and Grill on the Bass River.  Tournament officials say to expect another May contest in 2024.

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