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Mother Nature has a way of keeping a level playing field. Obviously in fishing, the weather is the key factor in determining whether you can even go fish and then whether you’ll have success or not.
I’ve been around fishing for years, and I remember cursing the weather and its bad timing and unpredictability. The weather is favorite morning fodder for fishermen sitting around the coffee pot. However, after analyzing it for many years, I believe the one pattern that is most reliable is the weather will be just as good as it is bad.
Two weekends ago we had that horrible low-pressure storm that brought 50 mph winds for several days. The storm passed and for the next five to seven days it was absolutely perfect. Then we had this storm this weekend, which made for bad fishing conditions. But guess what? The forecast the rest of the week looks perfect.
The main problem seems to be with Mother Nature’s complete disregard for the working class. She loves to ruin a well-planned weekend and that someone needs to talk with her about.
The king mackerel and grouper fishing were excellent off our coast all last week. The kings have been holding along the beaches and near the inlet mouths from Shallotte to the Cape Fear River. The grouper have been holding in 65 to 90 feet of water over pretty much any type of man-made or natural structure. I look for the grouper bite to pick up in this range over the coming weeks. It typically stays good through mid-November.
As for the kings, they have are in the bull’s-eye for the upcoming Fall Brawl King Classic tournament scheduled for Oct. 24-26. The tournament is hosted from the Ocean Isle Fishing Center, with registration from noon to 9 p.m. on Oct 24. Fishing occurs on Saturday and Sunday. Fishermen can only compete on one of those days and must decide when they register which day they want to fish; typically Mother Nature will play a part in that decision.
Weigh-in will be during 3-5 p.m. on both days, and if history holds true, it will take at least a 35-pound king to win the $15,000-plus first-place prize. The Fall Brawl will pay winnings for the top-26 largest king mackerel weighed, as well as bonuses for catches by junior, lady or senior fishermen.
The tournament timing is perfect, as the big king mackerel are holding close to the beach, making the winning fish accessible to even the smallest boats. Last year’s winners, the Allen family from Charlotte, caught its winning 36-pound king from a 21-foot bay boat while fishing Shallotte inlet.
If you are fisherman, come join the fun. If you are a fan, come watch the weigh-in on next Saturday and Sunday at the Ocean Isle Fishing Center.
One quick story from last week’s fishing. My grandmother (Grandma Mac) grew up fishing for king mackerel off the Carolina Beach pier. I have seen numerous newspaper clippings with her holding kings, many of which would make any fishermen jealous. Grandma Mac is 85 and due to health problems she has not been king mackerel fishing in almost five years. Despite her health slowing her, she still has the fire for king mackerel fishing.
I stopped by her house last week and told her the weather looked good and kings were biting; did she want to go? She lit up like a blue marlin. On Oct. 5 we loaded Grandma Mac, her son and my father (Rube), three of her grandchildren (my brother, my cousin Tiffany and I), and three great- grandchildren (Tiffany’s two boys, Austin and Brandon and my daughter, Caroline) all aboard the OIFC World Cat for a morning of king mackerel fishing.
We caught bait at Shallotte inlet and ran to the 390/390, where we found action from king mackerel and large Spanish mackerel. Seven-year-old Brandon started off the catching with a shark release. Then a king mackerel struck and Grandma Mac single-handedly landed a 15-pound king. Next came 3-year-old Caroline, who boated a 5-pound Spanish mackerel, and finally Tiffany also caught a 5-pound Spanish mackerel.
Grandma Mac determined she had fulfilled her desire, and we headed back in. It was a nice morning of fishing involving four generations of family, led by Grandma Mac, who was instrumental in getting us all involved in fishing. Thanks, Grandma Mac.
As I said, the weather this week looks awesome. I’m excited about the king mackerel and grouper fishing I’ve got planned. Come join the action. See you on the water.
BRANT McMULLAN is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.