‘Whatever it is, it’s big’: Fisherman enjoy quality catches in pair of area tournaments
By Gregg Holshouser
June 21, 2019
For once, Mother Nature smiled upon a big tournament weekend.
Anglers fishing in the Jolly Mon King Classic out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center and the Murrells Inlet Rotary Club Flounder Tournament out of Crazy Sister Marina enjoyed fishing in tranquil conditions with light south-southeast winds, and plenty of quality fish.
Here are the details of both tournaments:
Jolly Mon King Classic
All it took was a glimpse of the king mackerel, and Lee Frick and his fishing team members aboard Sea Bandit/Sea Keepe were as fired up as the smoker that had just cleared the water while attacking a bait.
Last Saturday, the team was fishing in the Jolly Mon in 100 feet of water off Shallotte Inlet. Just after they had boated a nice 25-pound king, the scene unfolded.
“We were putting the baits back out, and the big fish skied on a blue 20 feet behind the boat,” recalled Frick. “It was close enough that I could get a good enough look at how big it was. It was pretty exciting to see a fish that big, it makes the fight even more exciting, and more nerve-wracking and fun.”
However, the king missed the bait. The first time.
“It came back to the same bait and skied again and this time got hooks in its mouth,” said Frick.
Scott Hamilton was the angler on the fish, and after a 15-minute fight, Frick applied the gaff, but immediately needed some help.
“I gaffed it and the fish went so wild, Ray (Joyner) grabbed on to the gaff too,” said Frick. “When it hit the deck, it was also pretty exciting. We knew we had a good fish then, and we kind of goofed off for another 30 minutes. We decided we’d better get back to the beach with a fish that big.”
Once getting back to the beach at 11 a.m., the crew out of Salisbury, N.C., which also included Tyler Mulkey, milled around nervously for three hours until the weigh-in at Ocean Isle Fishing Center opened at 2 p.m.
“When the scales opened, we were there,” said Frick.
The team sat atop the leaderboard during the afternoon with its 42.55-pound king and then waited out the entire weigh-in, with one very close call.
James W. Hammond and his Reidsville, N.C., crew aboard Grace, a 25-foot Ranger bay boat, ventured 40 miles offshore to catch a 40-plus pound king but came up just short at 42.15 pounds.
When the weigh-in for the field of 245 boats was over, the Sea Bandit/Sea Keepe crew claimed the win with the Grace team finishing second by less than a half-pound.
Frick has deep ties to Ocean Isle Beach, which adds even more meaning to the victory.
“Man, it’s pretty awesome,” said Frick. “To win that tournament, in our home waters — Ocean Isle Beach my whole life has been a home away from home. To win that tournament with a 42 (pounder) is pretty special.”
The Salisbury crew, which earned $21,000 for the win, was fishing in Joyner’s 41-foot Bahama center console. Frick sold his 33 Onslow Bay and is waiting on a 41 Onslow Bay to be built.
Tournament Director Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center noted the quality of fish that were caught in the tournament.
On Saturday, 155 boats fished with nine of the top 10 fish being caught. The other 90 boats fished on Sunday.
“This was the heaviest leaderboard since the tournament was moved from July to mid-June in 2005, with the top 3 fish over 40 pounds and 21st place at 30 pounds,” said McMullan.
The Jolly Mon King Classic is a stop on two king mackerel tours, the Kingfish Cup (kingfishcup.com) and the Southern Kingfish Association (fishska.com). The tournament paid out $145,000 in prize money.
For full results, visit www.OIFC.com.
Rotary Flounder Tournament
Kyle Jacobsen knew he had a good fish as soon as he set the hook.
Jacobsen was fishing with buddies Kenton Hungerpiller and John LaRochelle in the Mt. Gilead area aboard Hungerpiller’s 18-foot Carolina Skiff during the tournament on Saturday.
“When I set the hook it took off and I said ‘Whatever it is, it’s big,” said Jacobsen. “When it came up, I said ‘That is probably the biggest flounder I’ve ever caught.’ “
After a short fight, LaRochelle netted a true doormat at about 11:30 a.m.
“My first thought was this would put us in contention for at least the aggregate since we had already caught some fish,” said Jacobsen. “I was just happy. It was just a good feeling to catch a fish that size on the right day.”
Thirty minutes earlier, the trio had stopped at Perry’s Bait and Tackle in search of jumbo mud minnows.
“We wanted more jumbos but they didn’t have any,” recalled Jacobsen, who was using a custom-made two-hook flounder rig. “We got regular mud minnows but it didn’t matter.”
The trio headed to Crazy Sister Marina for the weigh-in that afternoon to see where the fish stacked up against the 89 total anglers fishing in the tournament.
Jacobsen’s fish was the biggest weighed in, at 6.48 pounds, just topping a 6.36-pounder caught by Tom Swatzel.
Second place in the tournament went to the angler with the heaviest three-flounder aggregate, which was won by Ronald Williamson with 10.74 pounds.
Swatzel’s fish earned him third place followed by Daniel Winburn in fourth place with a 4.04-pound flounder and Bill Blakley in fifth with a 3.74-pounder.
Foster Johnson was the top Youth Angler with a 2.78-pound flounder and Ava Heise the top Lady Angler with a 2.60-pounder.
The tournament raised $14,000, which will be used by the Murrells Inlet Rotary for various projects and charity donations in Horry and Georgetown counties.
Our President since 1999, Gregg Holshouser, is an avid fisherman writing the weekly fishing report and outdoors column for The Sun News since 2004. Gregg and his sister “Sam” invite you to visit Custom Outdoor Furniture to see how you, too, can Live Great Outdoors. Click here for more information and to check out this week’s fishing report or find us on Facebook. #LiveGreatOutdoors