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The annual Yellowfin/OIFC.com Fall Brawl King Classic was postponed from its original weekend dates of Oct. 24-26 to Oct. 31-Nov. 2. Mother Nature decided the original dates were not to her liking, but fortunately for the 178 boats that registered and competed on the postponed dates, the weather and fish cooperated to make for a great tournament.
Going in to the weekend, the forecast could not have been any better. Winds were forecast to be at 10 knots from the north and seas of 2-3 feet. It doesn’t get much better than that. The recent cold snap drastically cooled water temperatures, and as such, competing teams knew they would fneed to get offshore about 15-30 miles in order to find big king mackerel.
The weather wasn’t much of an obstacle, and as such, many teams chose to run offshore as far as the Frying Pan Tower in search of big kings. However, it was likely one of the closest inshore fishing boats that caught the winning king. Jason Burton and crew of the Reel Finatic from Murrells Inlet, S.C., caught a 35.55-pound king while fishing a spot known as the Belky Bear, about 10 miles offshore of Murrells Inlet, to win the tournament.
Jason reported the team found water temperatures a cool 63 degrees but decided to give it a try anyway. They caught a small king immediately and decided the area was worth working. They were plagued by small sharks that kept eating their baits, but it was in all the mishap of dealing with pesky sharks that their big king was hooked.
According to Jason, they had just boated a doubleheader shark bite and rigs were a mess, the boat was a mess and it was generally unproductive. While the other crew members fussed and cussed the mess and began cleaning it up, one of the crew members grabbed a spinning outfit with a rig and baited up a dead cigar minnow. He tossed out the bait and almost got it in the rod holder when the big king ate. The king made a big run and they had to chase it down before finally settling in and eventually boating what would be a nearly $15,000 fish.
The time was roughly 10 a.m. Saturday, and the team decided to head to the scales. They were the first to weigh at the Ocean Isle Fishing Center and they never relinquished their lead.
Brent Gainey and Austin Eubanks fished aboard Brent’s Miller Time, weighing a 29.35-pound king to take second-place honors.
Brent reported fishing east of the Frying Pan Tower and catching several nice size kings before landing the prize winning 29-pounder.
Third place fell to Jeff York and crew aboard the Trick C. Jeff said he and the team fished offshore near the Navy wreck on Saturday morning but could only find small kings. They moved back inshore to Horseshoe, where they boated a 28.50-pound King that bit a ribbonfish on the downrigger at 20 feet.
The event’s top Jr. angler was Madison Morris, fishing with her parents aboard the Sea Horse. Madison caught a 24.65-pound King while fishing near the Frying Pan Tower.
Gaby Larrainzar took top lady honors, as she was part of the Reel Finatic team that won the entire event.
Thanks to all the fishing families that participated in the tournament to make it a success. Despite the postponement and tough economic times, the turnout was strong.
Also thanks to all the sponsors: Yellowfin, Sea Tow, World Cat, Town Creek Marina, Island Style Yachts, Ocean Isle Marina, Coastal Insurance, Waste Industries, Bell & Bell, Shallotte Rent—all and more helped support the event and make it more pleasurable for the participants.
Fall Brawl King Classic, Nov. 1-2, Ocean Isle Beach
1. Reel Finatic, Jason Burton, Murrells Inlet, S.C., 35.55.
2. Miller Time, Brent Gainey, Carolina Beach, 29.35.
3. Trick C, Jeff York, Burlington, 28.50.
4. Screamin’ Deacon, Larry Denning, Smithfield, 27.35.
5. Live Line, Mike Jackson, Wilmington, 27.35
6. Short & Stout, Andy McInnis, Laurinburg, 26.80.
7. Final Approach, James M. Demyan Jr., Southern Pines, 26.50.
8. Reel Buzz, Chip Nifong, Hampstead, 26,30.
9. Prime Time, Jim Milam, Burgaw, 25.95.
10. Doughboy’s Delight, Gary E. Reagan, Huntersville, 25.90.
11. The Sea Horse, Chad R. Morris, Troy, 24.65.
12. Twister, Patrick Bryant, Holden Beach, 24.60.
13. Team McKee Craft, Joey Crisp, Leland, 23.85.
14. Slippery When Wet, George A. Powell, Ocean Isle Beach, 23.55.
15. Team Turbo Rattler, James Strange, Marshville, 23.50.
Other local finishers
19. King Creecher, Al Fulford, Supply, 22.50.
21. Birdman, Woody Wooten, Ocean Isle Beach, 21.45.
23. CCU Fishing Club, Joseph R. Winslow III, Sunset Beach, 21.25.
1. The Sea Horse, Madison Morris, Troy, 24.65.
2. Team McKee Craft, Whitney Crisp, Leland, 23.85.
3. The Chase, Nick Chase, Wilmington, 23.45.
4. Holden On, Alex Blake, Clover, S.C.
5. Beer Run, Jerry Clark, Browns Summit
6. Double Down, Austin Allen, Asheboro
7. Sea Dancer, Brant Sawyers, Stoneville
8. Dream Catcher, Justin Locklear, Maxton
9. Canady 4, Griffin Canady, Hope Mills
10. Water Dog, Cody Locklear, Lumberton
1. Reel Finatic, Gaby Larrainzar, Murrells Inlet, S.C., 35.55.
2. Reel Buzz, Megan Lawson, Hampstead, 26.30.
3. The Sea Horse, Amy Morris, Troy, 24.65.
4. Team Turbo Rattler, Debra Kennedy, Marshville
5. CCU Fishing Club, Bailey Fishman, Sunset Beach
6. Beer Run, Marisa Game, Browns Summit
7. Finatic, Wendy Tillett, Wilmington
8. Three Stooges & Cher, Cheryl Warren, Hampstead
9. The GPS Store Fishin, Kristen Hooks, Ocean Isle Beach
10. Comfort Level Zero, Megan Mosier, Sanford
1. Trick C, Sonny York, Burlington, 28.50.
2. Screamin’ Deacon, Larry Denning, Smithfield, 27.35.
3. Final Approach, Donald Johnson, Southern Pines, 26.50.
And now we move into the last stages of fall fishing.
Capt. Roger led a crew of local fishermen over the weekend to an awesome catch of gag grouper weighing 10-20 pounds. Roger reported catching most of the grouper in 80-85 feet of water using live pinfish and mullet. The grouper bite should continue strong in this range for another couple of weeks.
The king mackerel fishing will continue to be good and get even better as they will school up in large groups for the next few weeks at such spots as the 27-mile rocks, 32-mile rocks, Horseshoe and Frying Pan Tower reefs. Also, the rumors are already starting to spread about sightings of giant bluefin tuna. Reportedly one has been landed off Hatteras and many sighted off Morehead City. There is a lot of buzz, and with the unseasonably cool weather to date, they may show early and in good numbers.
That’s the scoop for this week. It looks as if the weather may get nice again toward the weekend, so come on down and get into the action.
BRANT McMULLAN is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.