Marc Treurniet of Southport, N.C., holds the winning 49.75-pound king mackerel in the 2017 U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament out of Southport Marina. Photo courtesy Marc Treurniet
The smaller the boat, the bigger the fish – in this case, anyway
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
October 13, 2017 6:01 PM
A small crew on a small boat, fishing among an armada of boats, pulled out the victory last Saturday in the 2017 U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament out of Southport Marina in Southport, N.C.
Marc Treurniet and Nick Evans of Southport teamed together aboard Keep It Reel to land a 49.75-pound king to win the tournament over a whopping field of 471 boats.
Treurniet and Evans, fishing aboard Treurniet’s 25-foot Contender powered by twin 150 Yamahas, hooked up with the smoker king while fishing the Cape Fear River shipping channel on Saturday to earn the $25,000 first-place prize.
“It’s fantastic to catch a fish like that, and within a tournament too,” said Treurniet, who was the angler on the king, the largest he’s ever caught. “The experience, it’s unique. Just phenomenal.”
Nautley Crew of Mooresville N.C., led by Casey Forester, finished second with a king weighing 43.85 pounds. Rounding out the top five were Salt Therapy of Oak Island, N.C. (41.85 pounds), Capt. Boo Boo of Southport (41.70) and Fish Dix of Pinehurst, N.C. (41.05).
The grade of kings caught in the tournament was superb, with six weighing over 40 pounds and 24 over 35 pounds.
“The fish were close to shore so in this tournament it was a level playing field,” said Treurniet. “Everybody had a shot at it. The fish were in between 30 and 50 feet of water, that’s really where the bite was.”
Boats were allowed to fish two days (Friday and Saturday), and Treurniet and Evans were not able to catch menhaden (pogeys) big enough for their liking on the first day of fishing.
“On day one, we didn’t quite get it done but we lost a big fish,” said Treurniet. “We knew they were out there.”
On day two, Treurniet and Evans were able to net larger pogeys and started to slow-troll them in the river channel with approximately 100 boats in the vicinity.
“The fish hit the long line,” said Treurniet. “We had just caught a fish and were switching baits. The fish spooled me about two-thirds down, and I knew ‘This is showtime right now.’
“We chased it down and when she saw the boat, she made another run half that distance.”
At 10:01 a.m., after a 25-minute fight, Evans gaffed the fish and pulled it into the boat.
Treurniet is a native of the Netherlands who moved to the U.S. in 2002 and soon teamed up with Evans, an experienced local angler from Southport, aboard Keep It Reel. In a huge tournament with many crews consisting of 4-6 anglers, the duo did just fine.
“We spend a lot of time on the water together and try to keep a good routine,” said Treurniet. “You’ve got to be able to communicate real well. It’s the small things – if you don’t communicate well and you’re not clear about things, then things go wrong. The team dynamic is pretty important.”
Keep It Reel finished sixth in the 2015 U.S. Open with a 34.05-pound king.
The second-place boat, Nautley Crew, and fourth-place boat, Capt. Boo Boo, took advantage of the tournament-within-a-tournament (TWT) levels to take home large earnings. Capt. Boo Boo won a total of $71,495 while Nautley Crew won $59,789.
Let ‘Em Go, Win The Dough
A unique all-release flounder tournament in Murrells Inlet is in the books and by all accounts was a rousing success.
Local angler Peter Gerace caught and subsequently released a 4.32-pound flounder last Saturday to win the inaugural event that was the brainchild of another local angler, Mike Brady.
The event featured hourly winners and overall winners, with all fish released. Any fish weighed in had to be released alive in order for it to qualify for prizes.
After a windy, then rainy start, the weather turned better for Gerace, who fished the afternoon with his girlfriend, Michelle Urban Chudzinski.
“It was like three days in one,” said Gerace. “At the beginning it was 15-20 out of the northeast and cloudy, then it was pouring rain in the middle of the day and at the end of the day it was 10-15 out of the southeast.”
Late in the afternoon, action picked up as Gerace expected.
“It was looking a little dismal at 3 p.m. but I was in a real fishy spot with lots of swirly currents,” said Gerace.
Asked where he caught the fish, the north or south side of the inlet, Gerace said, with a laugh, “The central side.”
After losing a decent fish, Gerace noted he changed to a jig head he had purchased from the late Jessica Hill at Perry’s Bait and Tackle.
“I said ‘C’mon, Jessica,’ and on that cast I caught the big one,” said Gerace. “I thought it was a stingray at first, but I was at a spot I knew there were fish. Then I saw that tail.”
Chudzinski netted the flounder and the celebration began.
“I knew it was the winner when it hit the deck,” said Gerace.
Gerace’s fish was the 4 p.m. hourly winner but he survived a close call to win the tournament when his friend, Doug Edwards, weighed in a 4.28-pounder for the 5 p.m. hourly winner.
“My buddy Dougy, he’s a great fisherman and I can’t believe I beat him,” said Gerace. “He’s mad, but in a loving kind of way.”
Gerace was glad to see the release format of the tournament.
“I loved that it’s a catch-and-release tournament, loved the hourly weigh-ins and hourly winners,” said Gerace. “I think it’s just going to get better and better from here. The only thing better than catching a tournament-winning fish is being able to release it.”
Brady noted 50 anglers competed in the tournament, with over 40 flounder weighed in and released.
The hourly winners were:
▪ 9 a.m.: no fish weighed.
▪ 10 a.m.: Charles Beverly 2.34 pounds.
▪ 11 a.m.: Tamara “Paige” Lewis, 2.34.
▪ Noon: Mike Schirra, .95.
▪ 1 p.m.: Jeff Heise, 2.80.
▪ 2 p.m.: Charles Beverly, 2.94.
▪ 3 p.m.: Englis Glover, 2.20.
▪ 4 p.m.: Pete Gerace, 4.32.
▪ 5 p.m.: Doug Edwards, 4.28.
The top finishers were:
▪ 1st place: Pete Gerace, 4.32.
▪ 2nd place: Doug Edwards, 4.28.
▪ 3rd place: Charles Beverly, 2.94.
▪ 4th place: Jeff Heise, 2.80.
▪ 5th place: Englis Glover, 2.76.
▪ 6th place: Charles Beverly, 2.34.
▪ 7th place: Paige Lewis, 2.34.
▪ 8th place: Charles Beverly, 2.34.
▪ 9th place: George Smart, 2.23.
▪ 10th place: Fred Webb, 2.20.
Peter Gerace of Murrells Inlet shows off the winning 4.32-pound flounder before releasing it in the inaugural Let ‘Em Go, Win The Dough flounder tournament last Saturday. Submitted photo
A fisherman lands a redfish in Pawley’s Island, S.C. this past summer. JASON LEE firstname.lastname@example.org
Fishing report: Warmer temps producing equally hot fishing in certain locations
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
October 12, 2017 6:58 PM
Look For: Spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments: Despite a water temperature that is way warm for mid-October, Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown has had a productive week catching spotted seatrout in the Winyah Bay area. On Wednesday, McDonald produced 20 trout along with two red drum using various artificial grubs on jig heads. At 8 a.m. Thursday, McDonald’s crew had already landed four trout and two flounder on grubs fishing in 78-degree water. “They’re small but they’re fun,” said McDonald, noting most of the trout were in the 12- to 15-inch range. Black drum and red drum have provided the best action this week for Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River. “There are a lot of three-pound black drum about 18 inches and we’re catching slot-size reds in the creeks,” said Kelly. “The big (red) drum are at the inlet.” Trout action has been a little slow for Kelly with a water temperature of 77 degrees Thursday morning. “The water temperature is still up a bit and the trout haven’t reacted like they should,” said Kelly. As Kelly mentioned, bull red drum can be found at area jetties and along the channels of inlets such as Little River Inlet and Winyah Bay, along with near-shore hard-bottom spots in the Atlantic. Anglers are urged to catch these fish quickly with beefed up tackle and release them carefully, being sure they are revived before letting them go.
Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, black sea bass, spadefish, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, sheepshead and red drum.
Comments: Finally, sea conditions calmed down enough at midweek for boats to get out and check out the anticipated fall bite of king mackerel in the near-shore waters. They found out the bite was on fire. “It was crazy,” said Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in Murrells Inlet. Maples’ crew headed to Belky Bear, a hard-bottom area about 12 miles east of Murrells Inlet, where his crew of four caught a limit of 12 kings in two hours of fishing. “We couldn’t get any more than two to three lines in, they were just smoking it,” said Maples, who noted many of the kings were in the 15- to 20-pound range. Maples was trolling dead cigar minnows on King Chaos Skirts. King mackerel have a 24-inch minimum size limit and a three-per person daily bag limit. On near-shore hard-bottom areas bull red drum, weakfish and black sea bass are available for some fine fall action. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports good catches of whiting and croaker, plus a few mini-runs of spots, although the real run of the popular fall panfish has yet to get underway. Black drum, most under the 14- to 27-inch slot limit (three per person), have been caught, with a few keepers. Anglers continue to successfully jig for Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Also look for pompano, with a few unusual palometa caught this week. Wallace reported a water temperature of 77 degrees Thursday morning.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy, black sea bass, amberjack.
Comments: Jeff Martini and crew aboard Dirty Martini out of Little River trolled in the 100 to the Blackjack Hole vicinity for several hours on Wednesday, and wound up with only one barracuda. “It was dead, man – no flying fish, nothing,” said Martini. The crew resorted to bottom fishing and found a good bite of triggerfish and black sea bass in 90 feet of water. On better days, trolling will produce wahoo and blackfin tuna, plus a few dolphin. Bottom fishing should be fantastic in the fall with vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grouper and amberjack all available. Cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released. Also, red snapper must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.
Comments: The water temperature hasn’t cooled off at all for mid-October, but “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait & Tackle reports some anglers are going deeper for bream and crappie. “They’re fishing 2-6 feet deep – some are shallow, some are on the ledges,” said Stalvey. “A few guys are starting to lead-line a little bit in some of the holes.” The lead-liners are using worms for bream, although floated crickets will still catch fish. Crappie are hitting minnows. “There are a lot of small crappie but a few good ones too,” said Stalvey. “They’re catching good, eating-size bream.” Catfish action is good as usual, with fish hitting eels, bream, shiners and cut mullet, among other cut bait. “There’s plenty of numbers out there,” Stalvey said of the catfish. Bass action has been good with trick worms and Bang O Lure working.
Jessica Hill, shown here on duty at Perry’s Bait and Tackle, left a lasting legacy in Murrells Inlet. Picasa www.camo365.com
Our little fishing village still reeling from loss of Jessica Hill’s knowledge, smile
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
October 06, 2017 5:32 PM
A week later, the Murrells Inlet fishing community is still trying to come to grips with the loss of Jessica Hill. For over a decade, Hill was the face of Perry’s Bait and Tackle, a Murrells Inlet landmark that has been in operation since the mid 1950s and at its current waterfront location on the north end of the Marshwalk since 1971.
Hill left this life on Sept. 29 in a manner that was unfathomable and heinous, and absolutely devastating to her family, including her three children, and many friends, near and far. With her departure, a part of the personality and charm of the little fishing village is gone too.
For much of her time at Perry’s, I called to get her thoughts on the saltwater-fishing scene to include in the fishing report I have written weekly for The Sun News since 2003. Her observations from that particular week would come in rapid succession as she went over what was happening inside the inlet, at the jetties, in the surf and at the near-shore reefs.
Many a time I would say, “Slow down, Jessica, I can’t type that fast!” And we would laugh, and she would go over it again, but a little slower.
Customers, from the most experienced local old salt to the tourist fishing in saltwater for the first time, were drawn to Perry’s for Jessica’s welcoming personality, local fishing knowledge and of course her beautiful smile.
Hill was a natural at rig-tying, and was well known for her expertise at the craft that is of the utmost importance to a serious angler. More than a few local charter captains have credited Hill with teaching them the intricacies of tying various successful rigs.
It can be difficult for visitors to find local fishing knowledge, but Hill made many an inexperienced tourist feel right at home in the little inlet, helping them catch fish with her expertise.
“When she tied (a rig or knot), she explained why it worked and she was teaching valuable knowledge for anybody, from a 9- to an 80-year-old,” said Capt. Jason Burton of Murrells Inlet Fishing Center. “She made a lot of people who weren’t very good at fishing experts overnight.”
The Murrells Inlet fishing community showed its support and love for Hill and her family Monday evening, an event Burton helped organize.
“She loved boats and fishing, so we thought why don’t we ride around the inlet and throw some flowers into the water for her?” said Burton.
In just over a day after the tribute was planned, over 30 boats with approximately 200 of her family and closest friends aboard cruised from the Marshwalk to Marlin Quay Marina and back before anchoring up adjacent to the Marshwalk. After tributes to Hill were given over VHF radio, flowers were tossed into the water and a last cast was given in her honor.
Hill was instrumental in having an artificial reef established in memory of her father-in-law, Winston Perry, the founder of Perry’s Bait and Tackle who passed away in January, 2010. Just five months later, in June, 2010, she had accomplished that feat when the Winston Perry Memorial Reef was placed on the ocean floor at the Paradise Reef site located three miles east of the Murrells Inlet jetties.
The idea of establishing an artificial reef in Hill’s honor is being discussed by local residents, along with supporting her three children, but details aren’t complete. Details will be provided in this column as they become available.
Rest in peace, Jessica. You will be greatly missed.
Gregg Holshouser: email@example.com