2017-07-13 / Front Page

Roundup is family affair

Dan Parker
News editor


The Zahn family of Port Aransas has fished together in the Deep Sea Roundup for many years. In this photo, shot about 14 years ago, they showed redfish, trout and flounder after a day of fishing in the Roundup. Linda and Charlie Zahn are second and third from left. The rest, from left, are their granddaughter, Brittney; daughter, Kimberly; son, Trey; and grandson, Matthew. 
Courtesy photo The Zahn family of Port Aransas has fished together in the Deep Sea Roundup for many years. In this photo, shot about 14 years ago, they showed redfish, trout and flounder after a day of fishing in the Roundup. Linda and Charlie Zahn are second and third from left. The rest, from left, are their granddaughter, Brittney; daughter, Kimberly; son, Trey; and grandson, Matthew. Courtesy photo For many folks, the Deep Sea Roundup long has been all about family.

Over the years, relatives have made it a tradition to go fishing together and renew bonds at the annual Port Aransas fishing tournament, which just wrapped up its 82nd edition on Sunday, July 9.

Some Port Aransas families have been fishing together in the tournament for decades. They’ve laid claim to many trophies over the years.

But the real reward has lain simply in spending time together, they say.

Following are just a few of the Port Aransas families who long have fished together in the tournament.


Georgia and Duncan Neblett have worked as volunteers at the Deep Sea Roundup and the tournament’s Piggy Perch Contest for many years. They are pictured here during the Piggy Perch Contest at Dennis Dreyer Municipal Harbor on Friday, July 7. 
Staff photo by Dan Parker Georgia and Duncan Neblett have worked as volunteers at the Deep Sea Roundup and the tournament’s Piggy Perch Contest for many years. They are pictured here during the Piggy Perch Contest at Dennis Dreyer Municipal Harbor on Friday, July 7. Staff photo by Dan Parker The Zahns

Charlie and Linda Zahn and their family have entered the Deep Sea Roundup together for more than 40 years.

Their son, Trey, and daughter, Kim, competed and won in junior divisions. Kim’s children, Brittney and Matthew, have won, too. Last year, Trey’s now-6-year-old daughter, Kate, caught the most fish in the five-and-under division of the Piggy Perch Contest, a children’s competition that is part of the Deep Sea Roundup every year.

Despite past wins, Charlie Zahn said he and his family aren’t “seriously tournament fishing.” They enter together just to have a good time, and if they win something, so be it, he said.


Three generations of the Furlow family fished the 78th Deep Sea Roundup aboard the Ambush in 2013. From left were Bruce Furlow; his wife, 1982 Roundup Champion Barbara Furlow, who died in 2016; their son, Tom Furlow of San Antonio, and his children, Holly and Mason. The Furlows long have fished the Deep Sea Roundup together. 
South Jetty file photo Three generations of the Furlow family fished the 78th Deep Sea Roundup aboard the Ambush in 2013. From left were Bruce Furlow; his wife, 1982 Roundup Champion Barbara Furlow, who died in 2016; their son, Tom Furlow of San Antonio, and his children, Holly and Mason. The Furlows long have fished the Deep Sea Roundup together. South Jetty file photo “What’s great is the camaraderie that exists when you have your family members all together in one place, especially as they get older. It’s always a special time. We share stories and talk, and someone catches a fish, and we’re all supportive,” Zahn said.

“I’m the luckiest guy in the world because both of my children are over 40 years old, and they still like to hunt and fish with their dad,” he said.


Mac Owens stands with his sisters, Kendall, center, and Kellie, of Port Aransas, during the Deep Sea Roundup in 2013. Kendall caught the pictured shark that helped her take Runner-up junior Offshore Champion that year. Mac was the Offshore Champion that year. The family always fishes the Roundup together. Their mother, Beth, said the wins aren’t what counts, but the time they spend together as a family. 
South Jetty file photo Mac Owens stands with his sisters, Kendall, center, and Kellie, of Port Aransas, during the Deep Sea Roundup in 2013. Kendall caught the pictured shark that helped her take Runner-up junior Offshore Champion that year. Mac was the Offshore Champion that year. The family always fishes the Roundup together. Their mother, Beth, said the wins aren’t what counts, but the time they spend together as a family. South Jetty file photo The Nebletts

Duncan Neblett Jr. and his wife, Georgia, have been working as volunteers in the Roundup for about 40 years.

Georgia started off as one of the judges at weighin. She also helped collect registration money.

Over the years, she also has taken on responsibilities that include ordering trophies, decorating the stage where awards are presented and running the Piggy Perch Contest.

Duncan helps at the Piggy Perch Contest, too. At the rest of the Roundup, he has acted as dock master, getting boats lined up along the dock as they arrive from fishing, and getting judges to the boats. He also helps weigh the larger fish, the ones that have to be hoisted up with a rope.

Georgia explains their devotion to the tournament like this:

“Certainly, we love where we live, and fishing is such a part of our culture in Port Aransas,” she said. “Seeing people participate in the Piggy Perch Contest, then grow up and bring their children and grandchildren back – it’s great to be part of that culture. And we like to fish.”

One of the Nebletts’ sons, David, was a mate on a boat when it was the tournament’s offshore champion some years back.

Another son, Hunter, has served as a deckhand during the Roundup, and he also has competed. He scored the winning Spanish mackerel one year, and it remained the tournament record for a while.

David’s children, 16-yearold twins Adelyn and John, fished in the Piggy Perch Contest as young tykes and have helped around the docks since then, too.

The Owens

The family of Kelly and Beth Owens has fished together and won trophies year after year at the Deep Sea Roundup.

Their daughter, Kendall, was the youngest-ever offshore champion in 2009, when she was only 8 years old .

Her brother, Mac Owens, was the offshore champion in 2013 and the following year.

Family members have taken home largest-in-species trophies on multiple occasions, too.

But the wins aren’t what matter most, Beth said.

“ Those family times – that’s so important,” she said. “For a lot of people who go offshore fishing in tournaments, it’s about the money, that big pot, but at the Deep Sea Roundup, it’s more about quality time together, putting your kids first and maybe getting them to be passionate about fishing.”

The Furlows

Tom Furlow, a San Antonio resident who was born and raised in Port Aransas, started fishing in the Deep Sea Roundup with his parents, Bruce and Barbara Furlow, in 1973, when Tom was only 6 years old.

Tom figures he’s missed only about half a dozen roundups with his parents since then.

Barbara Furlow won the tournament in 1982. And she scored a sailfish only about three or four years before she died last year, Tom said.

This year, Tom fished with his kids, Holly, 17, and Mason, 15, aboard the Ambush.

“It’s always been a family thing for us,” he said. “We’ve fished three generations at the same time.”

They fished for billfish as a team, but competed against each other in other fishing categories.

“You pull for each other,” Tom said, “ but you also are kind of looking at each other like: Who is going to win?”

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