Hunter Moore and Glenn Krofchick show off their winning 34.75-pound king mackerel aboard Lil’ John in the Jolly Mon King Classic last weekend out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center. Submitted photo
See what crew and fish won the Jolly Mon King Classic in Ocean Isle
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
June 22, 2018 10:59 PM
After a few frantic minutes with a green king mackerel on the gaff, the crew of Lil’ John can now breathe easy.
Owner Glenn Krofchick of New Bern, N.C., and his two crew members aboard Lil’ John did subdue a feisty 34.75-pound king that wound up the winner in the annual Jolly Mon King Classic out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.
Krofchick along with Hunter Moore of New Bern and Inman Coleman of Augusta, Ga., spent the majority of the two days leading up to the tournament searching for bait and wound up securing only a meager number of sizable bluefish and smallish pogeys (menhaden).
The trio declared last Saturday as their fishing day, as the large field of 242 fishing teams could fish one day, Saturday or Sunday.
The crew aboard Lil’ John, a 31-foot Contender powered by twin 250 Yamahas, arrived at a live bottom area in the vicinity of Frying Pan Shoals in 90 feet of water just after the lines-in time of 7 a.m.
Upon arrival, Krofchick discovered he had lost most of the pogeys due to a loose wire on the live well switch.
The crew wound up using a few pogeys that survived along with the bluefish and frozen ribbonfish.
There was plenty of action to start, but not from the species they were looking for.
“We caught five barracuda, one close to 40 pounds and four amberjack, three of them 50-75 pounds, and one shark,” said Krofchick.
Keeping lines in the water was a challenge, especially in choppy seas with a steady 15-knot breeze.
“We worked on it and managed to keep the lines out while we were fighting them,” said Krofchick.
Later, with bait running low, their diligence paid off when they got a bite on the next-to-last bluefish.
“It was somewhat of a fire drill because it bit very slow,” said Krofchick. “We thought, ‘That’s not a king.’ ”
The fish was running slow, not typical of the blazing run of a smoker king but it suddenly took off, then changed direction and headed to the boat.
With Moore serving as the angler, the still-green king swam by the bow, and Coleman took a shot at it with a 12-foot gaff – and connected.
“It nearly pulled Inman in,” said Krofchick. “I grabbed him by the pants because he didn’t let go of that gaff.
“I grabbed the gaff with him and we pulled the fish in the boat. We were jumping for joy, raising Cain. We knew it was a good fish, but we didn’t know if it was a winner. We thought it’d make top three or top five.”
At the weigh-in at the OIFC, Lil’ John took over atop the leader board with the 34.75-pounder. But there was another day of fishing to go.
“Waiting Sunday, that was kind of nerve-wracking,” said Krofchick. “We had to watch 35 boats weigh in, waiting to see if they were going to pull a big one out. There were some teams that made me sweat.”
But in the end, the Lil’ John crew was the winner and won over $37,000 for their catch. Undertaker of Supply, N.C., was second with a 33.15-pounder followed by Reel Blessed of Sneads Ferry, N.C., in third with a 32.70-pounder. For full results, visit www.OIFC.com.
Krofchick is a graduate of the King Mackerel School conducted by Capt. Brant McMullan, of the McMullan family that owns and operates the OIFC and stages the Jolly Mon King Classic.
“I went to one of Brant’s king mackerel schools – he probably didn’t know he was going to be competing against one of his students,” said Krofchick. “I’ve been fishing down here hard the last five years. To get one that size is a major accomplishment to me.”
Krofchick has been very active on the king mackerel tournament circuits, competing in 18 tournaments in 2017 including a second-place finish in the 2017 SKA Nationals at Biloxi, Miss.
The Jolly Mon win automatically qualifies Krofchick and the Lil’ John team for the Kingfish Cup Championship, set for Nov. 1-4 at Ocracoke Island, N.C. For more information on the Kingfish Cup, which is staged by the McMullans, visit www.KingfishCup.com.
Inman Coleman, Hunter Moore and Glenn Krofchick of Lil’ John won the Jolly Mon King Classic last weekend out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center. Submitted photo