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The annual Fall Brawl King Classic King Mackerel tournament will be hosted from the Ocean Isle Fishing Center this weekend. The tournament typically draws 150-250 fishing teams from throughout the Carolinas, all competing for the first-place prize of up to $20,000.
One of the key elements to the success of the Fall Brawl is the great king mackerel fishing that typically occurs from this during the month of October. As fall weather cools water temperatures, fish sense the change and begin their migration. Baitfish such as menhaden, spots and bluefish all congregate along the beachfront as they begin to move south, and the king mackerel are close to follow.
Last year the best king mackerel bite of the year took place during the Fall Brawl at a spot known as Lighthouse Rocks, which produced large numbers of big king mackerel, including a 56-pound king caught by Jay Bucklen and crew of the Cape Contender. The 56-pound king was the biggest of the tournament, a Fall Brawl record and the largest king caught during any tournament in the Carolinas in 2011.
This year I am hoping for similar action as the culmination of fish movements and weather possibly have us headed toward another great event. Whether you are a tournament fisherman or a spectator who enjoys seeing the boats and fish, you are invited to visit the Ocean Isle Fishing Center this weekend to join in the festivities. The schedule of events is as follows:
Friday: Noon-9 p.m., registration at OIFC; 6 p.m.: Complimentary dinner by Guy C. Lee, of Shallotte; 7 p.m.: captain’s meeting; 8 p.m.: spot derby; 11:59 p.m.: online registration closes.
Saturday (optional fish day): 7 a.m.: lines in; 2 p.m.: scales open; 5 p.m.: weigh-in line closes.
Sunday (optional fish day): 7 a.m.: lines in; 2 p.m.: scales open; 5 p.m.: weigh-in line closes; 7 p.m.: oyster roast and awards ceremony.
In other fishing news, despite changing weather conditions that proved the ocean to be a bit rough offshore, some boats headed out in search of grouper and wahoo. The grouper bite continues to be good fishing in 70-100 feet. Live menhaden or pinfish are working best. The biggest problem is the fall grouper fishery is mostly for gag grouper, which are set at a minuscule limit of one per person. That’s pretty much just enough to make you mad.
Farther offshore, the wahoo bite was good at the Blackjack Hole. Fishermen trolling this area reported multiple bites and catches of wahoo 30-40 pounds. All and all, the fishing has been decent, but the biggest problem we’ve faced is the weather. It has been a tough month to go fishing for any species. However, this weekend may be the opportunity we’ve been waiting for. Keep an eye to the Marine Forecast and then be ready. We will see you here.
Brant McMullan is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.