Hunter Moore and Glenn Krofchick show off their winning 34.75-pound king mackerel aboard Lil’ John in the Jolly Mon King Classic last weekend out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center. Submitted photo
See what crew and fish won the Jolly Mon King Classic in Ocean Isle
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
June 22, 2018 10:59 PM
After a few frantic minutes with a green king mackerel on the gaff, the crew of Lil’ John can now breathe easy.
Owner Glenn Krofchick of New Bern, N.C., and his two crew members aboard Lil’ John did subdue a feisty 34.75-pound king that wound up the winner in the annual Jolly Mon King Classic out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.
Krofchick along with Hunter Moore of New Bern and Inman Coleman of Augusta, Ga., spent the majority of the two days leading up to the tournament searching for bait and wound up securing only a meager number of sizable bluefish and smallish pogeys (menhaden).
The trio declared last Saturday as their fishing day, as the large field of 242 fishing teams could fish one day, Saturday or Sunday.
The crew aboard Lil’ John, a 31-foot Contender powered by twin 250 Yamahas, arrived at a live bottom area in the vicinity of Frying Pan Shoals in 90 feet of water just after the lines-in time of 7 a.m.
Upon arrival, Krofchick discovered he had lost most of the pogeys due to a loose wire on the live well switch.
The crew wound up using a few pogeys that survived along with the bluefish and frozen ribbonfish.
There was plenty of action to start, but not from the species they were looking for.
“We caught five barracuda, one close to 40 pounds and four amberjack, three of them 50-75 pounds, and one shark,” said Krofchick.
Keeping lines in the water was a challenge, especially in choppy seas with a steady 15-knot breeze.
“We worked on it and managed to keep the lines out while we were fighting them,” said Krofchick.
Later, with bait running low, their diligence paid off when they got a bite on the next-to-last bluefish.
“It was somewhat of a fire drill because it bit very slow,” said Krofchick. “We thought, ‘That’s not a king.’ ”
The fish was running slow, not typical of the blazing run of a smoker king but it suddenly took off, then changed direction and headed to the boat.
With Moore serving as the angler, the still-green king swam by the bow, and Coleman took a shot at it with a 12-foot gaff – and connected.
“It nearly pulled Inman in,” said Krofchick. “I grabbed him by the pants because he didn’t let go of that gaff.
“I grabbed the gaff with him and we pulled the fish in the boat. We were jumping for joy, raising Cain. We knew it was a good fish, but we didn’t know if it was a winner. We thought it’d make top three or top five.”
At the weigh-in at the OIFC, Lil’ John took over atop the leader board with the 34.75-pounder. But there was another day of fishing to go.
“Waiting Sunday, that was kind of nerve-wracking,” said Krofchick. “We had to watch 35 boats weigh in, waiting to see if they were going to pull a big one out. There were some teams that made me sweat.”
But in the end, the Lil’ John crew was the winner and won over $37,000 for their catch. Undertaker of Supply, N.C., was second with a 33.15-pounder followed by Reel Blessed of Sneads Ferry, N.C., in third with a 32.70-pounder. For full results, visit www.OIFC.com.
Krofchick is a graduate of the King Mackerel School conducted by Capt. Brant McMullan, of the McMullan family that owns and operates the OIFC and stages the Jolly Mon King Classic.
“I went to one of Brant’s king mackerel schools – he probably didn’t know he was going to be competing against one of his students,” said Krofchick. “I’ve been fishing down here hard the last five years. To get one that size is a major accomplishment to me.”
Krofchick has been very active on the king mackerel tournament circuits, competing in 18 tournaments in 2017 including a second-place finish in the 2017 SKA Nationals at Biloxi, Miss.
The Jolly Mon win automatically qualifies Krofchick and the Lil’ John team for the Kingfish Cup Championship, set for Nov. 1-4 at Ocracoke Island, N.C. For more information on the Kingfish Cup, which is staged by the McMullans, visit www.KingfishCup.com.
Inman Coleman, Hunter Moore and Glenn Krofchick of Lil’ John won the Jolly Mon King Classic last weekend out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center. Submitted photo
Grand Strand Fishing Report: King mackerel still prevalent as summer arrives
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
June 21, 2018 06:18 PM
Look For: Flounder, black drum, red drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, bluefish.
Comments: Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions has found red drum, flounder and black drum receptive in Murrells Inlet this week. Connolly is seeing the new 15-inch minimum size limit for flounder doing its job. “We’re catching a lot of flounder but 90 percent of them are small, with a lot from 12 to 14 3/4 inches,” said Connolly. “Hopefully all those 14 to 14 1/2 inch fish will spawn this fall.” Connolly has found finger mullet big enough to catch in his cast net, and now he says they’re the bait of choice for flounder. “The flounder are eating finger mullet better than mud minnows,” said Connolly. Connolly has used finger mullet, cut mullet and crab chunks to entice red drum, with black drum eating fiddler crabs or blue crab chunks. Pinfish are absolutely prevalent, thus Connolly has avoided using shrimp for bait. Connolly has observed a balmy water temperature in the mid 80s in the inlet and upper 80s around low tide during the daytime.
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.
Comments: Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters has had good success with king mackerel on half-day charters out of Murrells Inlet, fishing spots such as Myrtle Beach Rocks and Belky Bear. “The focus right now is within 20 miles, there’s some pretty decent king fishing,” said Carey, who has been slow-trolling menhaden if available or dead cigar minnows to catch the kings. “One day the bait’s there, the next day it’s not there but the cigar minnows are always reliable,” said Carey. “Most of (the kings) are 5 to 10 pounders, and every now and then you get a nice one.” Carey has also produced blacktip sharks on the half-day trips. Near-shore artificial reefs are holding spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish and black drum, with Spanish mackerel and bluefish roaming the vicinity. Be prepared for kings or cobia to make an appearance, too. Sharks of all sizes can also be found on the reefs. Ronnie Goodwin of Cherry Grove Pier reports whiting and croaker have been the main catch this week, with Spanish mackerel, black drum and red drum also showing up occasionally. Bluefish are available for bait but no king mackerel have been caught this week.
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.
Comments: In areas such as the sprawling Parking Lot and other spots in 90 to 115 feet of water, look for a mix of king mackerel and a few dolphin, with a sailfish encounter a distinct possibility. No matter the depth, be on the lookout for weedlines and be prepared to toss a live or cut bait into it for dolphin. Blackfin tuna and a few wahoo are also around. Well offshore, blue marlin, sailfish and perhaps a few white marlin are available. Bottom fishing is producing vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack, especially in depths over 100 feet. Red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: With oppressive heat on hand this week, the Dog Days of Summer appear to have arrived a little early, considering summer didn’t arrive until Thursday. That means anglers competing in the B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Regional Championship out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown through Friday are likely to find the best action early and late in the day. “Topwater and a lot of worms, trick worms, brush hogs, Senkos, top-water frogs,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway on preferred artificials for bass. Stalvey also noted bream action has been very good on the rivers, with fish hitting crickets, worms and wax worms fished in depths of 1 to 4 feet. Catfish catches continue to be very good with fish hitting bream and fresh cut eel.
William Henry of Gastonia, N.C., shows off the 27.41-pound scamp grouper he caught while fishing aboard the Sea Rake with Capt. Randall Robinson out of Murrells Inlet on June 8. The scamp is a pending new South Carolina state record. Submitted photo
See what fish caught during a trip out of Murrells Inlet is a pending state record
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
June 15, 2018 04:42 PM
Updated June 15, 2018 07:32 PM
William Henry of Gastonia, N.C., is a regular customer with Capt. Randall Robinson aboard the Sea Rake out of Crazy Sister Marina in Murrells Inlet.
When Henry charters the Sea Rake, he prefers to specifically go grouper fishing, and that is exactly what Robinson set out to do on an eight-hour trip on June 8.
Robinson wound up fishing in an area southeast of Murrells Inlet in 100 feet of water, about 35 miles out, perhaps a little shallower than usual.
“I stumbled on a spot I hadn’t fished a while that happened to have some fish on it,” said Robinson. “The bigger fish hadn’t really been biting (farther) offshore.”
Henry and his fellow angler, Alex Stutts of Charlotte, N.C., began catching some very nice scamp on the spot, landing a 20-pounder, two in the 16-18 pound range and a 12-pounder.
Then, they got another big bite on a dead cigar minnow on a single hook rig with a circle hook and what Robinson called a “pretty good leader.”
“I knew it was a pretty good fish,” said Robinson.
A few minutes later, the biggest scamp of all popped up to the surface beside the Sea Rake. This one, Robinson suspected could threaten the South Carolina state record for scamp.
“I hadn’t fished that spot in a couple years,” said Robinson. “We caught five scamps off it and they were all pretty good fish.”
Kris Reynolds, a Wildlife Biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, certified the potential state record on certified digital scales at Harrelson’s Seafood and the official weight was 27.41 pounds.
The existing state record is a 26-pound, 15-ounce scamp caught out of Port Royal in 2011.
Reynolds interviewed Robinson and Henry and submitted paperwork for the potential state record to the S.C. DNR office in Charleston.
For now, the catch is a pending state record awaiting an official ruling on whether the fish will go down as the new state record.
Robinson is a bottom-fishing veteran out of Murrells Inlet. His fishing career in the inlet started as a mate on a head boat in 1994, and he’s now had his captains license for 18 years. That’s plenty of time to glean some bottom spots that are honey holes, in a time when secret bottom spots are very few and far between.
The scamp was listed on the fishing leader board at Crazy Sister Marina, with info such as date, angler, weight and location. Robinson wasn’t exactly specific when filling in the location of the catch.
“I put ‘None of your business,’ ” Robinson said with a laugh.
*Jolly Mon King Classic: The area king mackerel tournament season kicks off this weekend with the Jolly Mon King Classic out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center.
Boats entered in the event can fish either Saturday or Sunday. The weigh-in at the OIFC in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., opens at 2 p.m. on both fishing days. Visit www.OIFC.com for more information.
Other upcoming king mackerel tournaments include the Marlin Quay King Mackerel Shootout out of Marlin Quay Marina in Murrells Inlet Sept. 7-9 and the Yellowfin/Yamaha Fall Brawl King Classic Oct. 12-14, also at the OIFC.
*Bassmaster Event: Georgetown is the host venue for the BASS Nation Eastern Regional out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex on the Sampit River June 20-22. The public is invited to attend the weigh-ins.