Before he received his calling to the pulpit, pastor David Mammay of Southport was one of the premiere inshore-nearshore guides around Southport, and it appears that he hasn't lost his touch, as evidenced by a 13.02-pound flounder he caught on June 14 in the Cape Fear River.

Fishing from a 16-foot john boat, Mammay caught a 5-pound flounder, but it paled in comparison to the huge flounder he pulled into his boat. Measured 28 1/2 inches long and 24 inches in girth by Capt. Jimmy Price at Wildlife Bait and Tackle, the flounder sets a high early mark for other fishermen to shoot at in the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ annual Tournament and Citation Program. 

"I was up the (Cape Fear) river a ways, in an area that had lots of pods of peanut pogies (menhaden) moving through," Mammay said. "The tide was falling, and it was about an hour before low tide, so the tide was slowing, and I felt good about my chances to catch some flounder.”

Mammay didn’t have long to fish, and his father — his usual fishing companion — couldn’t go that morning. He didn’t have time to catch live bait, so he was fishing a 1-ounce bucktail with a 3-inch Gulp shrimp in new penny as a trailer. He was bouncing it along the bottom in about 3 feet of water when the fish hit with a solid thump. When the flounder felt the sting of the hook, it took off and ran hard. From the speed and length of the run, Mammay was sure it was a big flounder, but he didn't have any idea of exactly how big. 

"This flounder fought hard," Mammay said. "It took me seven or eight minutes to get it back to the boat. Once it got close, it raised its head out of the water and shook it with its mouth open trying to throw the jig. I could tell it was a big flounder but didn't realize how big it was. That realization began to sink in when I tried to hold the rod with one hand and net it with the other.

"I had it in the net twice, but it got out before I could lift it in," Mammay said. "I'm sure glad I got it on the third try. The flounder had inhaled the bucktail, and by then, the 14 pound Silver Thread line had wrapped around one of its teeth and broken. When I set the net on the deck of the boat, I realized the bucktail wasn't connected any more."

While this came close to being another story about the big one that got away, it didn't. Mammay said the bucktail, which he ordered from Cabela’s, was white, with some silver flash, and a strong hook made for largemouth bass and stripers. He touched the point up with a stone to make it razor sharp.

Price said Mammay's flounder was the first one he’s weighed that surpassed the 10-pound mark this year.