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Great weather for a big tournament weekend

June 22, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Great weather for a big tournament weekend

‘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 ( and the Southern Kingfish Association ( The tournament paid out $145,000 in prize money.

For full results, visit
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

Summer is here, and the King Mackerel are biting

June 21, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Summer is here, and the King Mackerel are biting

Red drum are among a number of species available in Grand Strand waters as summer officially arrives on Friday.

Grand Strand Fishing Report: King mackerel bite continues as summer arrives

By Gregg Holshouser
June 20, 2019 06:24 PM


Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, bluefish.

Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters says there are plenty of fish to catch in the Little River area, but the size has left something to be desired this June. “Fishing has been consistent, but it seems like fishing was perfect last year with more keeper-size fish,” said Kelly on Thursday afternoon. “It seems like we have a crop of smaller fish this year.” This week, Kelly has caught plenty of smaller spotted seatrout on popping corks with live shrimp, and red and black drum on 1/4-ounce jig heads, also on live shrimp. For bigger trout, head to the Little River inlet jetties, Kelly said. Kelly feels the flounder bite has been off in the Little River area. “June is usually a really good month for flounder, but it’s been kind of disappointing this year,” said Kelly. Meanwhile, Capt. Jason Burton of Murrells Inlet Fishing Charters stuck it out on a tough day in the inlet on Wednesday but wound up with a very nice catch of flatfish in the last hour of the trip.

Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cobia, tarpon, bluefish, whiting, pompano, black sea bass, spadefish, weakfish, black drum, flounder.

Comments: Catches of king mackerel continue to be very good, particularly on hard-bottom areas in depths of 40 to 80 feet. Slow-trolling dead cigar minnows or live bait such as menhaden or bluefish will produce fish. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters has hit the near-shore reefs adjacent to Murrells Inlet this week and has produced weakfish and flounder. Maples has also caught some surprisingly receptive spadefish, which actually hit cut shrimp. Some of Maples’ spadefish have been in the 3-4 pound range, including one 5-pounder. Summer water temperatures are fully entrenched along the beach with no cool down in sight until well into September. Late Thursday afternoon, the ocean water temperature at Cherry Grove Pier was 83 degrees surface and bottom and at Apache Pier 82 degrees surface and bottom. A variety of species are being caught off the piers. Cherry Grove Pier reports scattered catches of spots, whiting, sheepshead, spotted seatrout (including a few keepers) and bluefish. At Apache Pier, anglers are catching a mix of flounder, whiting, pompano, croaker, Spanish and bluefish.

Look For: Dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack.

Comments: In recent weeks, good numbers of dolphin have been found but well offshore in the meat of the Gulf Stream, a minimum run of 60 miles offshore. A few scattered dolphin can be found on spots such as Winyah Scarp and even closer in at the Parking Lot. Trolling those areas can also produce the occasional blackfin tuna and wahoo, with king mackerel, barracuda and bonito also available. Capt. Jay Sconyers of Aces Up Fishing had a super bottom fishing day Tuesday with four sizable scamp to go with a mix of vermilion snapper, red porgy, triggerfish, black sea bass and amberjack. Sconyers also caught, but released, red snapper as the species cannot be harvested in the South Atlantic Region. In three weeks, the 2019 red snapper season will open, with fishing set for the weekend of July 12-14 and again on July 19-20.

Look For: Bream, catfish, bass.

Comments: Super summertime fishing continues on the rivers, with good action for bream, catfish and bass. “There’s a lot, a lot, of fish being caught,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle. “The big Pee Dee is up but the Little Pee Dee’s water level is perfect.” The Little Pee Dee is a prime spot for excellent bream fishing, along with the Waccamaw. “The bream fishing’s on fire right now,” said Stalvey. Bream are hitting crickets, worms, popping bugs and beetle spins in 2-4 feet of water. Stalvey helps host a bass tournament out of Conway Marina each Tuesday, and angler Steve Martin was this week’s winner with a big fish of 3.42 pounds. Stalvey recommends throwing Yamato senkos and buzz baits for bass. Catfish are hitting eels and live bream, or most any fresh cut bait

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

Jolly Mon King Mackerel Tournament this weekend

June 16, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Jolly Mon King Mackerel Tournament this weekend

Capt. Brant McMullan, son Brayden McMullan and Capt. Austin Aycock of Ocean Isle Fishing Center show off king mackerel weighing 45 and 50 pounds caught recently. Ocean Isle Fishing Center is hosting the Jolly Mon King Mackerel Tournament this weekend. Photo courtesy of

How the Southern Kingfish Association and its events were revived in the Carolinas

By Gregg Holshouser
June 15, 2019 01:51 PM

The Southern Kingfish Association originated in 1991 and helped firmly establish the sport of king mackerel tournament fishing throughout the southeast. For nearly three decades, the organization has coordinated tournaments along the Southeast and Gulf coasts from North Carolina to Texas.

But in the past two years, the Southern Kingfish Association was in a noticeable downturn with the number of sanctioned tournaments declining and new series such as the Kingfish Cup in North Carolina and Palmetto Kingfish Tour in South Carolina popping up.

In January, the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) was in limbo, with the website ( reading “No Data Here Yet” for the schedule of all 10 divisions plus the National Championship.

With the organization’s future in doubt, brothers Jay and Price Feimster came to the rescue. The Feimsters purchased the organization in March, and quickly moved to get the tournaments in North and South Carolina all back on board.

The Feimsters are native Carolinians and were already involved with king mackerel tournaments through their business, The Feimsters are also competitive king mackerel fishermen.

The SKA had been a Florida-based organization, but the Feimsters promptly moved headquarters to Morehead City, N.C.. Nowhere is competitive king mackerel fishing taken more seriously than on the North Carolina coast.

“We didn’t want to see it go away,” said Jay Feimster earlier this week. “We had ideas of what we wanted to do with SKA. We got all the Palmetto and Kingfish Cup (tournaments) back on board. That was real exciting, we’re happy to get the tournament directors on board.”

As king tournaments in the Carolinas for 2019 are about to kick off with Capt. Brant’s Jolly Mon King Mackerel Tournament this weekend in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., the slate of SKA-sanctioned events is chock full.

The SKA has three Carolina divisions – Division 1 (North Carolina), Division 2 (Carolina Border), Division 3 (South Carolina) – for a combined 14 tournaments on the schedule between the two states.

The Kingfish Cup, founded by Capt. Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, is entering its third season, while the Palmetto Cup is in its first season. Feimster sees those two series as partners, not competition.

“The sport of kingfish tournaments is strong,” said Feimster. “We want to work with them as they continue to grow the regional series. We want to work with them and support them through the SKA.”

McMullan, the tournament director of the Jolly Mon, is glad to see SKA Division 2 back in full action after two years of his two tournaments out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center not being associated with SKA.

“The agreement made was that we would go back to them if they restored the division to the prominence it was back in the heyday in the 2000s,” said McMullan. “We have now what I call a super division, which has the five largest events in the region. (Competitors) can fish for the most money against the most people. It is by far the premier division in SKA.”

Boats will have the opportunity to fish two series in most of the tournaments held in the Carolinas.

Four of the five tournaments in the Kingfish Cup are part of SKA’s Division 2 (Carolina Border) and four of the five tournaments in the Palmetto Kingfish Tour are part of SKA’s Division 3 (South Carolina).

“The SKA is rich in history, there are so many first, second and third generation anglers participating,” said Jay Feimster. “The love and support for the SKA is still there. It’s good as an owner to see that and get that support.”

▪ Jolly Mon King Classic: Sea conditions look very good for the Jolly Mon, with fishing set for Saturday and Sunday, with boats able to fish one of the two days. McMullan expects around 300 boats to compete in the tournament.

For more information, call 910-575-3474 or visit

▪ Murrells Inlet Flounder Tournament: The tournament hosted by the Murrells Inlet Rotary Club and Crazy Sister Marina is Saturday out of the marina on the Marshwalk, with weigh-in set for Saturday afternoon.

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

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