Far Out Shoot Out this week

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The annual GPS Store Far Out Shoot Out Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo tournament is this week, hosted from the Ocean Isle Fishing Center. The Shoot Out has taken place from Ocean Isle since the mid 90s and is an annual fixture among offshore fishermen. 

The tournament format allows for participants to weigh their single largest tuna, wahoo and dolphin they catch during their day of fishing. Prizes are awarded for the largest of each species, but the grand prize that carries the big money and most important, the bragging rights, is the overall winner, which is determined from the heaviest combined weight of all three species. 

Year-to-year winning weights differ dramatically based on weather conditions, fishing conditions and the movement of the Gulf Stream. The winner last year was Wade Long, of Little River, S.C., who posted a 70-pound total, catching all three species: tuna, dolphin and wahoo. Years before it has taken upward of 120 pounds to win, big points typically arising from someone catching a monster wahoo or dolphin. 

This season, particularly in the past couple of weeks, the fishing has been good in the Stream for all three species. The dolphin are really starting to show in good numbers, with larger 30-pound bull dolphin mixing in. The wahoo are still around, albeit most are in the 30-pound range. We are still seeing and hearing of wahoo of 60 pounds being caught. 

The yellowfin tuna are still missing, thus blackfin tuna will be the most likely encounter.  These typically average 10-15 pounds, but if someone can catch one of the monster 30- pounders that we’ve seen a few of this year on the dock, it will really boost the score.  The GPS Store Far Out Shoot Out fishing days started this past Saturday, but they go all the way until this coming Saturday, May 21. The format allows participants to choose to fish one out of the eight possible days, and best of all, registration remains open to Friday, May 20. This allows anyone watching the weather to enter immediately before the tournament. This week the weather looks a bit rough until Wednesday or so, when it appears to begin lying down, hopefully, for a very nice weekend. Visit www.OIFC.com for daily updates or read next week for a recap and final standings.

As mentioned above, the Gulf Stream fishing action has continued very strong. Dolphin in the 10- to 20-pound range are prevalent with mixed-in wahoo and blackfin tuna. There really is no particular hotspot, as action is consistent up and down the break, but fishing the 100/400 and Black Jack areas has certainly been productive. Also, there is some good grouper fishing in these same 130- to 200-foot depth areas. Dropping vertical jigs over the ledges in these depths will yield some good bites and good eating.  

Closer in, the kings are beginning to make their way inshore from wintering in the deep water along the break. The initial run we get every spring along the beach has pretty much moved on, and now we are waiting on our resident fish to come on in. I anticipate it will be within a week that spots like the 90/90, Christina’s ledge, Jungle and Lighthouse rocks all start to see consistent action from kings. 

As of now, there are a few being caught, but it is very inconsistent. Along the beachfront, the Spanish bite has been getting better and better. Recent southwest winds have stirred up the water in the typical 15- to 20-foot depth range, but if you will push out to the 30- to 35-foot depth, you will find cleaner water and hungry Spanish mackerel.

That’s the report for this week. There is a lot of great fishing going on.