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.