MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) — The Keli Wagner Lady Angler Tournament is expected to bring hundreds to Big Rock Landing in Morehead City on Saturday and Sunday. Tournament officials say it is “one of the largest ladies-only events in the world.” 

According to the KWLA website, “The KWLA tournament is named in honor of the late wife of Big Rock board member, Casey Wagner, who lost her battle with cancer in 2008. Keli was enthusiastic about the success of this tournament, and she played a vital role in having the proceeds donated to the cancer clinic.” 

This year’s event was supposed to be held only on Saturday. However, due to the weather, plans have changed. Participants are now allowed to choose between Saturday or Sunday to compete. There are a few different categories including the heaviest tuna and the heaviest dolphin. More than 35 boats will be out in the water. It is the 25th year of the event.  

Big Rock Landing (Courtney Cortright, WNCT photo)

Competitor Laura Moseley said she is ready to catch the big one. She has been competing in the tournament for about 10 years. Each year the event grows with more and more women getting involved.  

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“They’ve always have been. They just really have not gotten the attention that these men’s tournaments get. It’s been really awesome to see the lady angler tournament just grow over the past few years,” Moseley said.

Just like Moseley, other competitors have their eye on the prize – reeling in a big fish this year. According to the KWLA website last year, “the one-day billfish release tournament set the stage in 2021 with a field of 132 boats and a record purse of $189,125!”   

An event will kick off the festivities at Big Rock Landing at 6 p.m. on Friday.  It comes with a costume contest, live music, food and more.  

You can stay up to date with event details and more on Facebook. For more information about the tournament head here.