Dan Mason and Mark Hewett of Gone Again display the winning 40.45-pound king mackerel in the Fall Brawl out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., on Sunday. Submitted photo
‘We had to run her down twice’: How this crew hauled in a large king, double victory
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
November 02, 2018 04:48 PM
Updated November 02, 2018 04:48 PM
After a quick catch and run back to the weigh-in station, Dan Mason and Mark Hewett were gone again aboard Mason’s 25-foot Contender, Gone Again, early Sunday on the final day of fishing in the Ocean Isle Fishing Center’s Fall Brawl King Mackerel Tournament.
The duo caught a medium-size king mackerel around 10 a.m. just a few miles off the beach near the Shallotte Ledge, and decided to run in and cash in on the Speedy King award, $500 given to the first boat to weigh in a king on the day.
After earning the $500 with a 14.40-pounder, they headed back out to the ledge to continue slow-trolling menhaden in hopes of hooking up with a smoker king.
At that point, the 14.40-pounder was also leading the tournament, as only 10 boats of the 161-boat field had fished on Saturday, the first day of fishing in the tournament, with only one fish weighed in.
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That afternoon, their wish came true when the medium long line went off. The duo immediately knew they had a good fish.
“She pretty much spooled us,” said Mason. “We had to turn the boat and go after her pretty quick. We had to run her down twice. We had to go chase that 400 yards of line twice.”
Hewett, the fire chief of the Civietown Fire Department, served as angler and battled the fish for nearly 30 minutes through the two runs before Mason left the wheel to apply the gaff and pull it into the boat.
“There was a lot of whooping and hollering and hugging for sure,” said Mason. “Everybody around us knew we had a good one. There were probably 15-20 boats around us.”
After another quick run to the OIFC, Mason and Hewett saw they were still atop the leaderboard. They promptly knocked themselves out of first place with the 40.45-pounder.
As the weigh-in wore on through the afternoon, the duo from Supply, N.C., remained in first place and went home the winners.
For Brent Gainey and crew aboard Miller Time, it was nearly back-to-back victories in king tournaments on both sides of the Carolina state line.
The previous weekend, Miller Time won the Rumble in the Jungle King Mackerel Tournament out of Little River with a 43.8-pound king caught offshore of the Apache Pier.
This time, the Miller Time crew headed south again and landed a 38.35-pound king, just 2.10 pounds behind Gone Again’s winning fish and good for second place.
“We got close, but I was tickled to death to finish second,” said Gainey. “We had a couple of fortunate weekends in a row. The good Lord was looking out for us I reckon.”
Gainey and a three-man crew including his dad, Randy, ran all the way to just south of Murrells Inlet to catch bait and settled in on a hard-bottom area just offshore of Garden City Beach to slow-troll the menhaden.
“We caught a 20-pounder and there wasn’t much action on the radio, so that solidified that we needed to stay there,” said Gainey. “We found a little spot a little further offshore and had a doubleheader.”
Jason McDowell and Ryan Wiggins grabbed the rods, and the chaos ensued. McDowell worked his fish to the boat first and a 25-pound class king came aboard.
A few minutes later, Wiggins worked his fish close to the boat, but the water clarity remained poor that close to the beach.
“We never got a look at it until it was 15 feet from the boat,” said Gainey. “I saw it and said ‘That’s the one we we’re looking for right there.’ We got her in the boat and we were happy as we could be.”
The first- and second-place finishes in the two tournaments left the Miller Time team in first place in the Kingfish Cup, a series of four area tournaments organized by the McMullan family of the OIFC.
The Gaineys and company are the team to beat, essentially the No. 1 seed, in the Kingfish Cup championship, which is currently being plagued by the latest cold front in Ocracoke, N.C.
The championship was originally scheduled to be a two-day event, Friday and Saturday, with each competing team able to weigh their largest king mackerel each day for a two-fish aggregate.
Capt. Brant McMullan, contacted Thursday afternoon, said the event is on hold and will now have a one-day, two-fish format.
“Sunday or Monday seems most likely,” said McMullan.
For more information, visit www.OIFC.com and www.KingfishCup.com.
The 2nd Annual Perry’s Benefit will be staged at Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet on Nov. 10.
The proceeds of the event will be split between the Family Justice Center of Horry and Georgetown County and Jessica Hill-Doehner’s reef fund.
The event, scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., will feature barbecue provided by Smokin’ Sumthin’ BBQ, live music, a silent auction featuring donated charter fishing trips, and raffle tickets.
Guest speakers will include Sen. Stephen Goldfinch and Vicki Bourus, Co-Executive Director of the Family Justice Center.
The stated goals of the benefit are to support victims of domestic violence and establish an artificial reef off Murrells Inlet to honor the late Hill-Doehner.
Donations also can be made at Perry’s Bait and Tackle, located at 3965 Hwy. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, SC, 29576. Call 843-651-2896 for more information.
Charlie Nash of Garden City Beach holds a spotted seatrout he caught. Action for the fish is heating up in local estuaries. Gregg Holshouser For The Sun News
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Seatrout an active species in cooling water temperatures
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
November 01, 2018 06:09 PM
Updated November 01, 2018 06:11 PM
Look For: Spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters has had a solid week fishing the creeks and jetties of the Little River area. “We’ve been catching a little bit of everything,” said Kelly. “Lots of black drum and trout, some red drum and flounder.” Kelly says the biggest numbers caught have been spotted seatrout which have a 14-inch minimum size limit. “There have been a lot of shorts, but I found some nice keepers (Thursday),” Kelly said. Kelly has used Vudu shrimp, Berkeley Gulp shrimp and live shrimp to catch the trout, both on jig heads on the bottom and under popping corks. The Little River jetties are producing bull red drum and trout, along with black drum and sheepshead. “It seems like the bigger trout are at the jetty rocks,” said Kelly, who noted a water temperature of 67-68 degrees. Kelly is hosting the second annual Inshore Slam and Festival Saturday out of Cricket Cove Marina. The Captains Meeting is Friday at 6 p.m. For more information call Kelly at 843-361-7445. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had a solid day Wednesday on the lower end of Winyah Bay. McDonald and his fishing partner caught 35 fish on cut shrimp, including plenty of black drum, along with trout, red drum and a few large spots. “We kept 10 black drum, we didn’t target the reds but there were a few mixed in there together,” said McDonald, who also noted a water temperature of 67-68 degrees. The trout bite is on in Murrells Inlet, too. “The trout bite has been on fire,” said Capt. Perrin Wood of Southern Saltwater Charters. “We’re seeing a lot of 13 to barely 14 inch fish. We have just slayed them the last two weeks on plastics and floating live shrimp.” The inlet is also holding a good number of black drum, plus red drum and flounder.
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, red drum, bluefish, spadefish, sheepshead, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.
Comments: Wood reports a water temperature of 68 degrees in the inshore waters near the beach. “That’s my target temperature for Spanish and kings,” said Wood. “I saw Spanish and blues out there Wednesday.” Bull red drum continue to be found on hard bottom areas within a few miles of the beach. “The big reds are still running but they’re moving around a little,” Wood said. “They’re not at the automatic spots.” The same hard-bottom areas continue to hold good numbers of weakfish. “I’ve caught them 100 yards off the beach and three miles off the beach,” said Wood. With the water temperature down into the 60s, black sea bass numbers are increasing on bottom spots from 3 to 15 miles out in 30-50 feet of water, including some keepers over the 13-inch minimum size limit. King mackerel action has slowed a bit along the beach this week, but Grand Strand piers are producing scattered catches of whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, red drum, blues, Spanish mackerel and flounder, with a few brief spot runs reported.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, dolphin, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.
Comments: Another weekend, another cold front as a Gale Warning was in effect for the offshore waters as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The window of opportunity this week was Wednesday, when beautiful, calm seas allowed boats to get out. Fall is an excellent time for wahoo action along the offshore ledges, and Capt. Ryan Powers and crew aboard Fear Knot found them Wednesday in 160 to 230 feet of water. Powers trolled near the McMarlen Ledge and the Winyah Scarp, and produced three wahoo including a 58-pounder plus one dolphin. “There was a good bit of life, and the big one hit on the planer,” said Powers. Blackfin tuna and king mackerel are also available for trolling boats. Bottom fishing is fantastic for grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, amberjack, red porgy and white grunts. Red snapper must be released indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: Another heavy dose of rain from the remnants of Pacific Hurricane Willa has brought another rise to local rivers, another blow to homeowners trying to recover from the flooding of Hurricane Florence. Fishing is practically non-existent on the freshwater scene. “Everything’s pitiful,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “I’ve had little to none (fishermen going). There’s been some pond fishing and that’s it. Everybody’s scared to mess with the freshwater.”
The late Capt. Roger Gales shows off a hefty gag grouper. www.oifc.com
‘He was as local as they come’: Fishing community mourns loss of beloved captain
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
October 27, 2018 03:53 PM
There will be a big void in the years to come at Ocean Isle Fishing Center (OIFC) in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.
The McMullan family, which owns and operates the fishing center, are mourning the untimely death of Capt. Roger Gales, a well-rounded fisherman who made his mark at the OIFC and throughout Brunswick County.
Gales died of complications from lung cancer and pneumonia on Oct. 18 at the age of 48 and is survived by his wife, Darla, and daughter, Paisley, among others.
Gales was a native of Shallotte, N.C., a true local in the coastal area of Brunswick County.
“He was as local as they come,” said Capt. Brant McMullan of the OIFC.
Gales cut his teeth on the water working on shrimp boats, but when his sister, Amy, married Brant McMullan in 2000, his focus switched to offshore fishing with his new brother-in-law.
“Roger was always a water man,” said McMullan. “He had all the skills of handling boats and being on the water, he just needed me to point him in the right direction as far as the offshore stuff.”
After about four years working as a mate under the guidance of Capt. Brant, Gales earned his Captain’s License in 2005 and began operating a charter boat out of the OIFC.
Thus began the legacy of Capt. Roger.
Capt. Roger, who specialized in targeting wahoo and grouper, became well-known as a selfless, mischievous character, quick to share a laugh or lend fishing expertise.
His easy-going, helpful, hard-working nature endeared him to charter customers, co-workers and fellow fishermen alike.
For the last handful of years, Capt. Roger’s career on the water took another turn, as he worked on dredge boats and began operating Ollie Raja charters out of Holden Beach.
“He made the day-to-day grind of charter fishing a joy for all of those that worked around him,” McMullan wrote in a tribute to Gales on OIFC.com. “He mentored young fishermen as they followed his path through mating to becoming a captain. His fishing influence lives on through the dozens of fishermen he taught and helped guide to success.”
McMullan said that Gales’ illness arrived suddenly and unexpectedly.
“With all of Roger’s energy, it does make sense that he used up all his body’s battery life within half a life span — he operated at twice the normal speed of those around him,” McMullan wrote.
So full of life, full of energy and taken from this life too soon. May Capt. Roger rest in peace.
Funds have been set up to help Gales’ family financially, including an education fund for his daughter.
Donations or memorials may be sent to Captain Roger Legacy Fund, P. O. Box 895 Shallotte, NC 28459 or to www.gofundme.com/givelikecaptroger.