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One bite and done

June 24, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on One bite and done

image: men with fish
The crew of Do Work/OIFC shows off the winning 42.75-pound king mackerel last Saturday in the Jolly Mon King Classic at Ocean Isle Fishing Center. From left are Jeff Beck, Camdyn Beck, Jeremy Phillips, Jon Hayes and Ivy Hayes. Submitted photo

June 23, 2017 5:16 PM
One bite does the trick for winning crew in Jolly Mon Classic

By Gregg Holshouser
One quick bite is all it took for Capt. Jeff Beck and his crew aboard Do Work/OIFC to catch the winning king mackerel in the Yellowfin/Yamaha Jolly Mon King Classic last weekend out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center.

It’s a good thing the bite came early, too.

Beck was fishing last Saturday with his 11-year-old daughter, Camdyn, and two former Lenoir-Rhyne College classmates and football teammates, Jeremy Phillips and Jon Hayes, aboard the 27-foot Contender.

Fishing in 65 feet of water at The Jungle, the crew members hooked up with their only fish of the day a little after 10 a.m. The bite came on a ribbonfish 30 feet deep on a downrigger.

“We caught a ribbonfish in the (cast) net catching pogeys that morning,” said Jeff Beck. “We had some (frozen ribbonfish) but I said ‘Let’s go ahead and use that one.’ Something was right about it. It was our first and only bite.”

Hayes was the angler on the fish, which made an initial long run. Hayes worked it to the boat but it made two more runs.

“After a 15-20 minute fight Jon had it beside the boat and I gaffed the fish,” said Beck. “We realized we had a very good king on board.”

After a quick celebration, it was decision time for the crew.

“The question was “Do we want to keep fishing or head that way,’ ” said Beck. “We knew we weren’t going to top that one.”

The decision was made easy a few minutes later when Beck looked at the boat’s instruments.

“We had lost all electronics – GPS, radio and everything,” said Beck. “Seeing that, I took the reciprocal heading where I at least knew I would see land.”

They made their way back to the Shallotte Sea Buoy around 11 a.m., and just motored around the buoy for three hours, killing time before the scales opened at the OIFC at 2 p.m.

The crew’s 42.75-pound king held the lead after 173 boats in the field of 185 fished on Saturday. After the remaining boats fished on Sunday, Do Work/OIFC was declared the winner and took home over $32,000 in winnings.

Beck and crew are regulars in king mackerel tournaments in both Carolinas, and previously won the Jolly Mon in 2010.

Camdyn is an important member of the fishing team, and was named Junior Angler of the tournament.

“I’d be willing to put that 11-year-old against most grown men when it comes to king mackerel fishing,” said Beck. “She’s pretty seasoned when it comes to being on the ocean. She won her first junior angler award as a 5-year-old.”

The second-place king in the tournament was a 35.90-pounder weighed in by Strictly Business of Oak Island, N.C. Man O’ War/AM of Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., was third with a 31.55-pounder, followed by Top Choice of Wilmington, N.C., in fourth with a 31.40-pounder and Open Wide of Cedar Point, N.C., in fifth with a 30.95-pounder.

The tournament was the first event in the inaugural Kingfish Cup series, with boats entered in the cup receiving points for the series. The top four boats in the Jolly Mon are all entered in the Kingfish Cup.

Other events in the Kingfish Cup are the Got ‘Em On Classic (July 7-9), the Fall Brawl King Classic (Oct. 13-15) and the Rumble in the Jungle (Oct. 20-22).

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Inlet tragedy

The Murrells Inlet fishing and boating community was stunned this week by the tragic and untimely death of Wayne Wesley at the age of 52.

Known by his nickname, “Squally,” he was owner-operator of Boat Restore, a throw-back type business in the inlet where he dabbled in a variety of services including engine repair, fiberglass work, bottom painting, and, of course, boat restoration.

Capt. Jason Burton, an inlet native and owner/operator of Murrells Inlet Fishing Charters, was a longtime friend and business associate of Wesley.

“Squally was everybody’s friend, I don’t think he ever met a stranger in his life,” said Burton. “On a daily basis … he was going above and beyond to help somebody or fix something.

“He is a representation of what Murrells Inlet is all about – every man is out to help someone out. He genuinely loved people and wanted to help anybody he could.

He was one of those good guys. The whole thing is pretty tragic.”

Burton recalled one incident that personified Wesley’s helpful nature.

“We had a boat break down at 9 p.m., and everybody else was closed so we called Squally,” Burton said. “He gave us the keys to his shop and every tool we needed to fix the boat. That’s the kind of guy he was, he’d give you the shirt off your back if you needed one.”

Rain no problem for anglers.

June 23, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Rain no problem for anglers.

Captain Mike McDonald throws a cast net to catch menhaden to use for bait in Winyah Bay, Georgetown. JASON LEE jlee@thesunnews
June 22, 2017 5:22 PM
Rain has brought water temps down, but anglers having little trouble reeling ‘em in
By Gregg HolshouserEstuary
Look For: Black drum, red drum, flounder, spotted seatrout, sheepshead.
Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown found a rain-cooled water temperature of 78 degrees Thursday in Winyah Bay. “The rain has cooled it down from the 80s,” said McDonald. “We’ve got a lot of fresh water in here right now.” Still, McDonald’s customers caught a few red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout and flounder on a Thursday morning trip. McDonald produced the trout and flounder on artificial grubs and the black and red drum on cut shrimp. On a Monday trip, McDonald produced trout, red drum and black drum. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters has found trout responsive on a falling tide in the Little River vicinity. “On the falling tide every morning, we’ve caught a nice mess of trout,” said Kelly, who has used live shrimp on a popping cork. Kelly has also produced black drum, red drum and flounder. “The flounder fishing has not been super great (with) a lot of short fish,” said Kelly. “But fishing’s been good, I cannot complain.”
Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, black sea bass, spadefish, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, sheepshead, red drum.
Comments: Rainy and stormy weather has kept some boats from heading out into the Atlantic this week, but Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters slipped out between rain showers Thursday morning and saw a pleasant sight at Paradise Reef, located three miles east of Murrells Inlet. “It was calm and like glass when I got out there,” said Maples. “Spanish were jumping all over the place out there.” The size of the fish was nice, as Maples used a jigfish lure to catch three Spanish, the smallest a 22-incher. Also look for spadefish, flounder, black sea bass, weakfish and sharks on the near-shore reefs. Kings can be found around bait from the beach on out, but head to spots in 50-plus feet of water to find good numbers of fish. The Spring King Mackerel Tournament, staged by the Grand Strand Fishing Rodeo, was held last Saturday and Sunday on two piers this year, the Cherry Grove Pier and Myrtle Beach State Park Pier. There were no kings caught by the 43 competing anglers and a drawing was to be held to determine the winners. The piers are producing scattered catches of Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, flounder, sheepshead and red drum. Scott Skrzydlinski of Cherry Grove Pier reported a water temperature reading of 80 degrees surface and 77 degrees bottom at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, sailfish, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, white grunts, red porgy, black sea bass, grouper and amberjack.
Comments: Dolphin catches are becoming more scattered and sailfish releases more common for trolling boats on the offshore waters. Blackfin tuna are around, and if a school is encountered and willing to bite, catches can be good. A few wahoo are also being landed. Bottom fishing is very good for vermilion snapper, triggerfish, white grunts, red porgy, black sea bass, grouper and amberjack. Best catches are in depths of 90-plus feet. Cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released. Red snapper must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.
Comments: It’s been a rainy week, but the Waccamaw and Little Pee Dee rivers remain in good fishing shape. The Waccamaw at Conway was making good tides and at 7.85 feet at 1:15 p.m. Thursday while the Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was 5.44 feet at 4 p.m. “The rivers haven’t been affected much at all,” said Ronald ‘Catfish’ Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Thank God this rain didn’t mess things up. I had one (customer) who limited out in no time (on bream) on the big Pee Dee.” It’s summertime fishing as usual for bream, with fish hitting crickets (or worms) floated in 2-4 feet of water off the banks. Catfish action is good on live bait (black salties, bream) or cut bait (eels, mullet, shad). Stalvey says bass are hitting top-water lures, senkos and frogs.

Old school methods win Murrells Inlet Tournament

June 17, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Old school methods win Murrells Inlet Tournament

Coleman Bess, Shaun Bess and Haslin Rogers celebrate their win last Saturday in the 8th annual Murrells Inlet Rotary Flounder Tournament at Crazy Sister Marina. Contributed photo
June 16, 2017 5:30 PM
Bess, partners go old school, reel in Murrells Inlet Flounder tourney title
By Gregg HolshouserThe time-tested method of fishing for flounder in Murrells Inlet paid off for Shaun Bess and his two fishing partners in the 8th annual Murrells Inlet Rotary Flounder Tournament held last Saturday.
Going back decades, fishermen have been a fixture on the inlet, puttering along at a snail’s pace in small boats, slow-trolling bottom rigs with live mud minnows for bait.
That is just what Bess, his 17-year-old son Coleman, a rising senior at St. James High School, and fishing buddy Haslin Rogers did to win the tournament — along with nearly $2,000 in prize money.

The trio fished in a 15-foot McKee Craft in the one-day tournament, and went to a spot that is also proven its worth over time — the Charlie Cut area.
“It was basically a beautiful day, the tide had just started falling and we started picking up some fish,” recalled Bess. “All three of us were catching some good fish. We were just out there trolling around and sure enough I caught a good one. I just reeled him in, netted him and put him in the box.”

After measuring the fish at 22 inches on his cooler, Bess felt like they were in the running.
“I was thinking we all had a couple good fish, ‘Man, we have a chance, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to place,’” said Bess. “I really didn’t think it would win but knew it was a good fish based on prior tournaments.”
Late in the afternoon at the weigh-in at Crazy Sister Marina, the three-man crew learned their flounder weighed 3.43 pounds and was the largest caught among the 74 anglers fishing in the tournament. The $1,000 first prize for biggest flounder was theirs, in addition to winning the tournament-within-a-tournament (TWT) categories for biggest flounder and heaviest three-fish aggregate.
“It was awesome,” said Bess, owner-operator of Bess Landscaping in Murrells Inlet. “I just thought somebody would bring in a 5-plus pound fish.”
Aside from the prize money, Bess, who was sponsored in the event by Sons of Zorn, a landscape supply company, was happy to fish in and win the tournament with his two best fishing buddies.
“Haslin and I are pretty solid fishing partners,” said Bess. “We really just enjoy fishing together. We had Coleman in the boat this time. It was awesome having him out there with us.”
Jeff Heise finished second with a three-fish aggregate of 6.45 pounds. Mike Brady took third place with a 3.13-pound flounder.
David Strickland was fourth with a 2.39-pounder and Robert Hoops took fifth with a 2.31-pounder.
Bess won the TWT three-fish aggregate of 7.43 pounds and the largest flounder TWT with the 3.43-pounder.
The top Youth Angler was seven-year-old Wyatt Stiles with a 2.69-pound flounder and 11-year-old Cameron Lee was second with a 2.62-pounder.
Meatfish Slam
The 9th annual Meatfish Slam was held last weekend out of Georgetown Landing Marina after being postponed from its original dates in late April.
Capt. Todd Bruner of the charter boat Bruno, a 42-foot Bertram, and his crew won the $5,000 first-place prize with an aggregate of 63.1 pounds.
The winner was determined by the heaviest aggregate weight of the largest wahoo, dolphin and tuna caught by each participating boat, and Bruno was the only boat to weigh in all three.
The Bruno crew boated a 41.8-pound wahoo, the key to their victory, a 13-pound dolphin and an 8.3-pound tuna. The wahoo was the largest weighed in.
“The wahoo is always the kicker in this tournament,” said Ed Keelin of Georgetown Landing Marina.
The top Youth Angler was Kaylee Thomas, who caught the 41.8-pound wahoo aboard Bruno. The top Lady Angler was Madison Scimanico who caught a 15.5-pound dolphin.
Bruno also won the tournament-within-a-tournament categories for aggregate weight, Big Dog aggregate and largest wahoo. Pain Killer was second in both aggregate categories with 41.4 pounds while Georgi Girl caught the second-largest wahoo, a 23.4-pounder.
Pain Killer caught the largest dolphin, a 23.4-pounder followed by Earl E Bird with a 15.6-pounder.
Pain Killer also weighed in the largest tuna — a 17.7-pound blackfin — followed by Earl E. Bird and its catch of a 15.6-pound blackfin.
Jolly Mon Classic
A field of 250 boats was expected to fish in the Yellowfin/Yamaha Jolly Mon King Classic Saturday and Sunday out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.
Competing boats can fish one of the two days in the tournament which is the first event in the inaugural Kingfish Cup series. The tournament is not part of the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) schedule of tournaments this year.
Other events in the Kingfish Cup are the Got ‘Em On Classic (July 7-9), the Fall Brawl King Classic (Oct. 13-15) and the Rumble in the Jungle (Oct. 20-22).