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Inaugural Kingfish Cup

image: man with fish
Capt. Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center has been instrumental in establishing the Kingfish Cup, a series that encompasses four popular king mackerel tournaments. The limited-entry series will kick off during the 2017 king mackerel tournament season. Photo courtesy

Inaugural Kingfish Cup sets the stage for local fishermen

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

From Little River to Wilmington, N.C., some of the most popular king mackerel tournaments along the South Atlantic and Gulf coasts are staged annually.
Each summer and fall, the Rumble in the Jungle out of Little River, the Jolly Mon and Fall Brawl out of Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., and the Got ‘Em On Classic out of Wilmington all attract 200-plus boats as part of the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) tournament trail.
Among all those boats are some truly hardcore fishing teams that just can’t get enough of competitive king mackerel fishing in an area of the Southeast where king mackerel fishing is, well, king.
It is those fishing teams that Capt. Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center had in mind when creating the Kingfish Cup, a limited entry series that will include the four tournaments.
“This series is directed specifically to our fishermen, our area,” said McMullan. “For the SKA, they are national, if you will, from North Carolina to Texas. This area is the (SKA’s) bread and butter, and we need something that focuses on us.”
McMullan set the limit of boats that can compete in the inaugural Kingfish Cup to 100, and that number of entries has quickly been reached. There is a glimmer of hope for other fishing teams that want to fish in the series – McMullan has a waiting list available and will be making an announcement regarding the Kingfish Cup after April 16.
Boats competing in the Kingfish Cup will combine the total weight of three of their four biggest kings caught in the four tournaments, receiving a point per pound. The 25 teams accumulating the most points will advance to a Kingfish Cup championship event to be held in Ocracoke, located in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, in November.
McMullan is fired up to have the Kingfish Cup championship at that locale at that time of year.
“Ocracoke in November, that fishery is the best in the country,” said McMullan. “There will be the opportunity to win a ton of money but it also is absolutely the pinnacle of king fishing. It absolutely rivals Biloxi (Miss.). There will be 60-pound kings caught with plenty of 40s and 50s.”
McMullan stresses the Kingfish Cup doesn’t affect fishing teams that want to fish in the individual tournaments but will not be competing in the Cup.
“An important thing is the Kingfish Cup is an umbrella series across existing events, four of the largest and most popular king mackerel tournaments in existence,” said McMullan. “Fishermen that don’t have interest in the Kingfish Cup, it means nothing as far as a change to the four tournaments. Those tournaments will still be open to the public.”
The Kingfish Cup will feature hefty prize money, including tournament-within-a-tournament entry levels ranging from $500 to $4,500.
“This will mean more ways to win, more money to win,” said McMullan. “We’re trying to appease those hardcore guys who want to take it to another level.”
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BASS Nation Tournament
The BASS Nation State High School and Middle School tournaments were held Saturday on Lake Murray.
The two-man team of Bowman Davis and Jackson Denny of Carolina Forest High School finished sixth in the high school event, with a net weight of 15.62 pounds for a limit of five bass.
Another Carolina Forest duo, Ricky Adair and Hampton Denny, finished 13th with five fish weighing 13.07 pounds. The Conway High School team of Noah Jones and Manning Feldner were 15th with a four-fish aggregate of 12.48 pounds.
River Squires and Blake Thompson of Conway finished 25th with three fish weighing 9.49 pounds. The Waccamaw High School duo of Bennett Lawghe and Jake Tester were 27th with five fish weighing 9.30 pounds. Benjamin Cooper and Todd Howard of Conway and T.H. McKenzie and Mike Pagio of Waccamaw also competed in the event.
The Whittemore Park Middle School duo of Austin Winburn and Cooper Harrelson finished third among middle school teams with a five-fish limit of 10.13 pounds.
Kyler McKie and Michael Burch of North Augusta won the high school title with five bass weighing 16.42 pounds. Mason Fulmer and Marshall Robinson of Rebel Junior High won the middle school title with five fish weighing 15.42 pounds.