HARWICH ─ Team Jackal was so close to winning their first Harwich Headhunt since its inception 13 seasons ago, but the team of tourney creators once again missed the mark as a bigger fish once again took the top prize.
For Ryan Burke, co-creator of the Headhunt with brother Sean, not winning (again) just means they'll have to keep the tournament around another year, which suits its participants just fine. This year's event saw a healthy lineup of boats take to the waters off Cape Cod in the wee hours of July 23, angling for the biggest striper and the chance to add their name to the official Headhunt trophy.
For a short while during the official weigh-in, Team Jackal – Ryan and Sean Burke, Ethan Kusmin, Dave Tria, and Ben Allen – held sway over all others with a respectable 30.9-pound fish. But then Team ReeLax'N – Peter, Kirby, and Jamie Sundquist, and Kevin Frank – showed up and showed off their catch, the tourney-winning 40.6-pound champion fish.
Coming in second was the Lindsey Gale, with Bill, Colton, and Bob Hadfield joining Rick Samuels in catching a 34.9 beauty, while Junior Angler Dylan Joy took that division's top spot with his 27.6-pound beauty.
Burke expressed appreciation for longtime sponsors Goose Hummock, the Hot Stove, Cape Cod Five, Drizly, On The Water Magazine, Sunrise Bait and Tackle, and to the Land Ho! in Harwich for hosting the after party.
“We made it to the 13th annual,” Burke said. “I couldn't do this tournament without the efforts of my brother Sean and my parents, Jean and Bill, my wife Kate, and my brother's wife Lisa. Even the kiddos chip in with giving away the prizes and helping to coordinate the shirts. It's definitely a true family affair.”