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.
Brent Gainey and his Dad, Randy, of Miller Time show off the winning 43.8-pound king mackerel in the Rumble in the Jungle King Mackerel Tournament last Sunday. Submitted photo
‘It was a nice surprise for sure’: How this fishing crew guessed right, picked up win
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
October 26, 2018 06:07 PM
Updated October 26, 2018 06:09 PM
With a front rolling through on the weekend of the Rumble in the Jungle King Mackerel Tournament, Brent Gainey and crew aboard Miller Time had a choice — fish a stiff south-southwest wind on Saturday or a stiff north-northwest wind on Sunday.
Gainey and a three-man crew including his dad, Randy, chose Sunday, and the results show it was a good call.
The Miller Time team kept it close to the beach, with the mainland knocking down the wind, and landed a 43.8-pound king to win the tournament, one of four events in the Kingfish Cup.
A total of 157 boats fished the Rumble, held out of Captain Archies in North Myrtle Beach, with Doug Colacicco of Cicco I taking the early lead among the 89 boats that fished Saturday.
When the dust settled Sunday afternoon, Colacicco had finished second in his 21-foot boat with a 40.2-pound king followed by Robby Remson aboard Long Run in third with a 36-pounder.
Shane Moore aboard Clear Cut was fourth with a 34.8-pounder and James Hammonds aboard Big Chief won the Single-Engine Class with a 25.6-pounder.
“We usually have better luck on a north-northwest wind than south-southwest, and we figured it would be a little calmer tight on the beach where we wanted to fish,” said Gainey. “We were fishing on an east-facing beach, so we had a little cover from the northwest wind. There was a lot of wind chop but it wasn’t rough.”
That east-facing beach was off Horry County, more specifically just offshore of the Apache Pier.
The king mackerel bite has been even better than normal this fall off the beaches of Horry and Georgetown counties as the Cape Fear area has been inundated with floodwater from the Cape Fear River thanks to Hurricane Florence. The Apache Pier vicinity has been a hot spot.
The remaining 68 boats in the field fished on Sunday, including Miller Time, which is based out of Carolina Beach, N.C.
Leaving from Little River, Gainey and crew ran south all the way to Murrells Inlet looking for bait, specifically menhaden, or pogeys, but had trouble finding anything but threadfin herring, known as greenies.
They moved back to the area off Apache Pier, found menhaden and finally began fishing around 9 a.m.
“We were within a mile-and-a-half of the pier, we were just fishing on bait in about 30 feet of water,” said Gainey. “We had been fishing about 45 minutes when we got the bite.”
Jason McDowell, of Southport, N.C., was the angler on the fish.
“We fought it for a few minutes then it started making some crazy movements and ran straight for Wahooligans (a nearby boat),” recalled Gainey. “They’re awesome guys, and they got out of the way. It was a pretty short fight after that.”
With water clarity still poor, thanks to Florence’s flooding and the windy conditions, they couldn’t get a good look at the fish.
“We didn’t know it was a good fish until we got it close to the boat,” said Gainey. “It was a nice surprise for sure.”
With his dad running the boat and Ryan Wiggins handling the other lines, Gainey applied the gaff and, boom, the winning fish was lifted over the gunwale.
Later in the afternoon it was Miller time for the Miller Time crew, a name the senior Gainey has had for the family’s boats for over 40 years.
The Miller Time team is a mainstay in tournaments in southeast North Carolina and South Carolina, and has had plenty of success. The team has previously won the East Coast Got Em On King Mackerel Classic, Capt. Brant’s Fall Brawl King Mackerel Tournament, the South Brunswick Islands King Classic, and now the Rumble in the Jungle.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate,” said Gainey.
Last Saturday marked the season-opener for the Student Angler Tournament Trail out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown.
SALTT features divisions for red drum and largemouth bass, with middle and high school anglers competing against each other.
Despite windy weather, the competitors brought quality fish and limits to the weigh-in at the complex located on the Sampit River.
Dylan Skipper and Walker McKenzie of Andrews won the High School Redfish Division with two fish weighing 5.80 pounds, including the lunker of the division, a 3.96-pounder.
Devan Harrelson and Carson Watford of Georgetown Middle School won the Middle School Redfish Division with two fish weighing 5.93 pounds, including the lunker of the division, a 3.35-pounder.
Avery Williams of St. James singlehandedly won the High School Bass Division with a five-fish aggregate of 9.73 pounds. Georgetown’s Connor Strickland landed the lunker of the division, a 4.65-pounder.
Gavin Porter of Loris Middle School singlehandedly won the Middle School Bass Division with a five-fish aggregate of 8.80 pounds, including the lunker of the division, a 3.02 pounds.
SALTT events are all-release tournaments.
For more information visit www.SALTTFishing.com or call 843-902-4274.
Bryan Baxter and Matt DeAntonio show off the winning 44.20-pound king mackerel in the James Island Yacht Club King Mackerel Tournament earlier this summer. Courtesy photo
Grand Strand Fishing Report: How it looks for the next king mackerel tournament
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
October 18, 2018 06:53 PM
Updated October 18, 2018 06:53 PM
Look For: Red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, black drum, sheepshead, ladyfish, bluefish.
Comments: On the heels of the first real cold front of autumn, action is good for the four main species targeted in local estuaries – red drum, black drum, flounder and spotted seatrout. The bull red drum bite is on at local jetties, and Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Inshore Charters caught “seven big ones” in about an hour on Wednesday. Kelly has also caught all four species in the creeks of Dunn Sound and Bonaparte Creek, using Berkeley Gulp lures, small finger mullet or cut mullet or menhaden. On Thursday, Kelly noted a big drop in water temperature to 72 degrees. With another cold front in store over the weekend, Kelly is ready for some trout action. “I think it’s gonna get good,” said Kelly. “When the water temperature gets into the 60s, the trout are on.” Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service produced a solid catch of red drum and black drum on a Wednesday trip, with the largest red measuring 28 inches. McDonald used live shrimp, which he netted in Winyah Bay, for bait. “There are some live shrimp still in the bay,” said McDonald. “The water’s black, it looks like the Waccamaw River, the same way it looks in the ocean. The tides are working normal, just a little higher than normal, and on every tide the water is black.”
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, red drum, bluefish, spadefish, sheepshead, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.
Comments: There have been good signs this week for near-shore king mackerel fishing, which bodes well for the 15th annual Rumble in the Jungle king mackerel tournament this weekend out of Captain Archie’s and North Myrtle Beach/Little River. The strong bite of kings along the beach has continued. Case in point, the Apache Pier, where four kings up to 39.4 pounds were caught within about an hour late Thursday afternoon. The action has been hot on Cherry Grove Pier too, where 15 kings were caught Sunday through Tuesday including a 41-pounder on Sunday. The tournament kicks off Friday with registration at Captain Archie’s beginning at 3 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. and the Captains Meeting at 7 p.m. Competing boats can fish Saturday or Sunday, Captain’s Choice. Aside from the hot king action, plenty of other species have been caught from the piers this week including red drum, black drum, bluefish, whiting, croaker, pompano, flounder, trout and, yes, a few spots. Although seas are looking dicey over the weekend, the near-shore bottom spots are producing weakfish and bull red drum, along with black sea bass, whiting and flounder. Cherry Grove Pier reports the good news that the ocean water temperature has dropped thanks to the cold front, from 80 degrees on Tuesday to 78 surface and 77 bottom Thursday afternoon.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, dolphin, barracuda, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.
Comments: Trey Jordan of Conway headed out Sunday for a bottom-fishing excursion aboard his 22-foot Sea Pro, with Ronald Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle, Trey Jordan, Logan Estep, August Mize and Chelsea Davis along for the trip. The crew had a superb catch of gag grouper, amberjack, vermilion snapper, black sea bass and triggerfish. Stalvey took live pinfish for bait, which produced the four keeper grouper. The crew fished 38-41 miles offshore in 100 to 110 feet of water. With cold fronts in the offing, offshore trips have been few and far between. “I’m hoping after this front moves through when the weather settles down, we’ll get back out there and catch some wahoo,” said Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters. “When (the water temperature) gets down into the upper 70s out there it ought to really turn on for the wahoo.”
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: Stalvey offered a glimmer of good news on the freshwater fishing front, as the historic and devastating flooding event from Hurricane Florence winds down. Many local rivers have had fish kills related to the flooding, but one river is getting closer to normal. “The Little Pee Dee is looking good and smelling good,” said Stalvey. “The Waccamaw still smells like a septic tank with all those dead fish. The (Great) Pee Dee is a little rough too. The Waccamaw is going to take a while before it clears out and cleans out. I’m hoping for the best but there were a pile, I mean a pile of fish that died.”