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Three hundred six fishing teams from throughout the Southeast registered to compete in the Jolly Mon King Classic King Mackerel Tournament this past weekend. The tournament is annually hosted from the Ocean Isle Fishing Center, and thanks to great weather conditions, boats as small as 16 feet were able to compete for more than $70,000 in prize money. Registration, the captains’ meeting, the captains’ dinner and the pogy-bobbing contest all took place on Friday evening. The crowd of participants enjoyed great food and later great entertainment from more than youth who signed up and competed in the pogy-bobbing contest.
For you not familiar with the contest, the definition of bobbing is to grab something using only one’s teeth. A pogy is a favorite food fish of king mackerel. Now take a half dozen live pogies, put them in a clear Tupperware box and give the contestant 15 seconds to bob one for a $50 reward. You can imagine the chaos that ensues. It is an annual tradition that hundreds watch and enjoy.
The winners: 10-and-younger division: Brian Swett, 9, 4.3 seconds; 11-14 division: David Lambeth Jr., 12, 1 second; 15 and older division: Chris Eckert, 21 years, 2.1 seconds.
Another main feature on Friday is the Junior Jolly Mon Tournament. This tournament precedes the main Jolly Mon Tournament on Saturday and Sunday and is for youth fishermen. Prizes are awarded to all participants who weigh king mackerel, dolphin and cobia in the Junior Jolly Mon Tournament. The concept behind the Junior Jolly Mon is to give incentive for adults to take kids fishing without the pressure of having a $20,000 fish on the end of the line. Many participants use the day before the big Jolly Mon Tournament to get on the water and scout fish locations. This way, there is incentive to be sure the adults carry kids with them to enjoy the experience and compete in the Junior Jolly Mon Tournament.
The winners of the 2010 Junior Jolly Mon King Classic: King mackerel: 1. Layton Perkins, 12, 24.85 pounds; 2. Drew Lukas, 13, and Trevor Pittman, 13, 12.8 pounds; 3. Corey Caison, 16, 11.9 pounds.
Dolphin: 1. Corey Caison, 16, 9.15 pounds; 2. Patrick Harrelson, 6, 7.65 pounds; Cassie Dawson, 13, and McKenly High, 8, 6.4 pounds.
Cobia: 1. Braxton Allen, 4, 19.5 pounds; 2. Richard Bole, 13, and Jordan Robson, 14, 17.5 pounds; 3. Noah Moore, 9, and Hunter Moore, 8, 15.6 pounds.
And then came Saturday, the first day of competition for the Jolly Mon King Classic. Out of the 306 boats registered, 200 chose to fish on Saturday. The scales opened at 2 p.m. and shortly thereafter boats began trickling into the Ocean Isle Fishing Center docks.
The All In weighed a 31.6-pound king to take the early lead. The Satisfied followed with a 30.1-pounder, and the Liquid Asset rounded out the top three catches on Saturday with a 29.3-pounder.
After Saturday, 20th place was 18 pounds; some nice fish were weighed, but the tournament was wide open. Sunday the conditions were again great, and when the scales opened at 2 p.m. a couple of boats were waiting.
The Do Work ,with captain Jeff Beck and crewmembers Rickey Beck, Timmy Clemmons and Jon Hayes, weighed a 33.65-pound king to take the lead.
Team Autocraft followed and its fish pushed the scales to 33.05 pounds. Two fish weighed and both bumped Saturday’s leader. The weigh-in progressed and quite a few nice kings were weighed. However, when it was all said and done, it was the Ocean Isle boat Do Work and crew who held on to win the 2010 Yellowfin/Yamaha Jolly Mon King Classic.
To compete and win any tournament is a spectacular feeling. To compete and win against 305 other fishing teams and do it in your hometown and backyard is indescribable. Congratulations to the Do Work team and all the teams who made the leader board. Thanks as well to the hundreds of fishermen and families who participated as well as to the great sponsors who help support the Jolly Mon tournament and aid in making it a special event for participants. See story on page 1B for full results.
In fishing news, the weather has certainly been hot but the fish continue to bite. The king mackerel fishing has been very good for school size fish in the 50- to 65-foot depth range. Hot spots have included the Shark Hole, Christina’s Ledge, 70-foot hole and Jungle. Pogies have been fairly scarce along the beach, but fortunately the school size fish don’t mind dead cigar minnows and are more than willing to bite when presented correctly.
We have also seen an influx of Mahi-mahi this past week into the inshore waters. Most of them are small, 5-10 pounds, but they eat just the same. We aren’t seeing the cobia as we did the last couple of weeks as most have now moved north. As the season progresses, the kings will get bigger over the next few weeks and the mahi and cobia will continue to thin.
We will also see an increase in the number of sailfish in the near shore waters as king mackerel fishermen will regularly encounter them. Offshore, the grouper and snapper bite is good. The Gulf Stream trolling is getting more hit and miss as water temperatures rise well into the 80s.
That’s pretty much an overview of the fishery at this time. Visit www.OIFC.com for daily reports on our constant changing fishery.
BRANT McMULLAN is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at email@example.com.