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This past week the weather broke for us a few days to get offshore and do some fishing. On Dec. 3, my wife, Amy, brother Barrett and their scuba diving instructor/friend Cameron Sebastian with Coastal Scuba joined me aboard the Carolina Cat for a day of fishing and diving.
The plan was to run offshore to the edge of the Gulf Stream to try to catch a wahoo or two, then head inshore and do some diving and spear fishing for grouper and maybe find a lobster or two.
We reached the MacMarle’n hole at 9:30 a.m. and began trolling. At 10:30 a.m. we had a double hookup, as both the short swimming Rapala plug and planer rigged Ballyhoo were taken. The fish made good first runs and were no doubt wahoo.
Cameron and Amy worked on the fish, and after a 15-minute battle both were landed, a pair of 32- and 38-pound wahoo. It was pushing 11 a.m. and we decided we had accomplished objective one, so it was time to do some diving.
Amy and Barrett have been getting into scuba and their instructor, Cameron, had joined us to chaperone and help them to learn the ropes as well as get in some entertainment of his own.
We moved inshore some 10 miles and set up over some rocky bottom in 120 feet. The first dive yielded three grouper in the 15- pound class and one lobster. Amy and Barrett were ecstatic as they reported incredible life.
Cameron made another dive and returned with a hog snapper and two more lobster. We then headed inshore some 10 more miles and anchored in 100 feet of water. The team made one last dive and came back with a couple more grouper to top off the day. By day’s end we had a box with wahoo, grouper, snapper and lobster, and man did it look and taste good.
In other news, the Ocean Isle Fishing Center has been hosting its first annual OIFC.com King Mackerel tournament based from Beaufort and Hatteras. Fishermen had a chance to weigh in at either location and choose to fish a possible two out of eight days, from Nov. 29 to Dec. 6. The concept of the tournament was to offer a competitive fishing format flexible to fit people’s schedule and to allow time to work around the weather.
The other reason for the tournament at this time and location is historically the largest king mackerel in the Carolinas are caught between Beaufort and Hatteras, many pushing the 60-pound mark. The hopes were the tournament participants would find this bite and get into some huge fish.
The tournament actually went great, as the format worked great and the kings bit like crazy off Hatteras. The only thing that was missing were the huge kings. Instead, the bite was dominated by 20-pound kings. As fast as you could put a bait in the water, you were hooked up to a 20-pound king.
It was a ton of fun, and I hope next year more fishermen will join the event. It just so happens the Ocean Isle Fishing Center team of Rube, Barrett and Brant McMullan won the overall tournament with a two fish aggregate of 53 pounds.
Stacy Wester and crew of the Big Bad Wolf finished second overall and weighed the event’s largest king mackerel at 35 pounds. Results as follows:
1. Brant McMullan, Team OIFC: Day 1, Nov. 29, 31.75 pounds; Day 2, Dec. 6, 21.60 pounds; 53.35 total pounds.
2. Stacy Wester, Big Bad Wolf: Day 1, Dec. 3, 35.0; Day 2, Dec. 4, 17.25; 52.25 total.
3. Henry Moore, Bobcat: Day 1, Dec. 4, 22.40; Day 2, Dec. 6, 22.50; 44.9 total
In other fishing news, the bluefin tuna are beginning to show up off our area. There has been one fish landed that I know of and many others sighted in the vicinity of the Frying Pan Shoals. Historically, the bluefin tuna bite picks up by Dec. 15 and continues through New Year’s Day. I’ll have more reports and, hopefully, pictures.
BRANT McMULLAN is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.