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Can you believe this weather? Just as we get the fishing heading in the right direction. The good news is this weather held off until Sunday afternoon, and before its arrival, fishing was red-hot both near shore and offshore. The other good news is this cold snap hit early in the week, and as it looks now, by Friday, the winds are supposed to subside and temperatures are forecast to be back in the 80s. It looks like a great holiday weekend ahead.
This past weekend marked the final days of competition in the annual The GPS Store Far Out Shoot Out Tuna, Dolphin and Wahoo Rodeo. Fishermen who registered to compete were able to choose one out of eight possible fishing days. Thirty-three boats registered for the tournament, and eight of them chose to compete May 10 and May 11. Jerry Baker and crew of the Priceless took the early lead with a 46.35-pound aggregate, including a 21.2-pound dolphin and 25.15-pound wahoo. The wind and high seas kept fishermen on shore all week before it cleared and allowed for good fishing conditions on Friday and Saturday, the final two days of the event.
Ten boats fished on Friday, and Field Hucks of Murrells Inlet, S.C., aboard the Mean C, posted a 65.6-pound aggregate, including a 23.7-pound dolphin, 25.65-pound wahoo and 16.25-pound wahoo.
The Salty Lady crew, with Capt. Tom Dixon, weighed an impressive 44.95-pound wahoo and 16.6-pound dolphin to post a second-place aggregate of 61.55 pounds.
The final 15 boats fished on Saturday, and it was the Dirty Dog fishing team of Bob Chinn, Frank Price and Andy Duskie who posted a 74.95-pound aggregate, including a 23.85-pound dolphin, 39.45-pound wahoo and 11.65-pound wahoo. This score propelled the Oak Island team to the overall victory and over $7,500 in prize money.
Field Hucks held onto second overall and Tom Dixon held onto the third overall. All 33 boats that competed reported excellent catches of dolphin, with wahoo and tuna being the elusive species, much in part to all the dolphin eating baits before the wahoo or tuna could bite.
These are the species specific winners. Tuna: 1. Ocean Isle Fishing Center, Capt. Barrett McMullan, 27.95; 2. Mean C, Field Hucks. Wahoo: 1. Salty Lady, Tom Dixon, 44.95; 2. Dirty Dog, Bob Chinn. Dolphin: 1. OIFC/Black Bart, Chris Burrows, 27.25; 2. Blue By U!, Corey Durako, 26.7.
Thanks to all who attended and the many spectators that came by the Ocean Isle Fishing Center to watch weigh-in.
Aside from the incredible dolphin fishing in the Gulf Stream, the king mackerel fishing took a big step this weekend. Kings began to show up in their normal summer haunts, as fishermen had great catches of 10- to 20-pound kings while fishing the jungle area. Slow trolling dead cigar minnows was the productive technique, and most boats had their limit of fish on Friday and Saturday.
There were a few kings caught at the 390/390, and this popular area should produce well this coming weekend. Also, the cobia are moving up from the south, and don’t be shocked to see one or more of these game fish following your boat as you slow troll for Kings. Be sure you carry a 1-ounce bucktail jig and some squid with you. Rig the bucktail on 4 feet of 30 -pound fluorocarbon and cut a 3- to 5-inch strip of squid and hang it from the bucktail. Have all this ready on a 15- to 30-pound-rated spin outfit, and you’ll be good to go.
The Spanish mackerel continue to bite along the beaches in 15-25 feet of water, and there are always a few large king mackerel mixed in with them. As you troll for Spanish, fish a large rigged Ballyhoo or swimming plug way back behind your Spanish lures, and you’ll be surprised by a smoker kingfish run.
That’s the pretty much the fishing story. The weather is looking outstanding this weekend, so I encourage everyone to get out on the water and enjoy some of the best fishing our area has to offer.
BRANT McMULLAN is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at email@example.com.