Kevin Vaughan, Alex Hull and Ryan Watson of Surf City, N.C., show off their tournament-best 60.22-pound king mackerel, caught in the Southern Kingfish Association’s National Championship Saturday in Morehead City, N.C. Photo courtesy of SKA
Two members down, this crew hauled in winning fish despite lengthy, vigorous fight
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
November 16, 2018 04:25 PM
Updated November 16, 2018 04:25 PM
The Stormy Gale Fishing Team started the Southern Kingfish Association’s National Championship at Morehead City, N.C., with four crew members, but by Saturday, the final day of fishing, was down to two.
On the first day of fishing, David Hull injured his back and Ryan Watson his ankle when the custom-built 29-foot Egret hit a rogue wave crossing the Cape Lookout shoals.
That left David Hull’s son, 22-year-old Alex Hull, and Kevin Vaughan to navigate the final day, amid rough seas that caused numerous problems for the field of 84 boats fishing in the 17th annual event’s Open Class.
Hull and Vaughan came through in a big way, landing a huge 60.22-pound king to go with a 32.25-pounder for a winning 92.47-pound aggregate, earning the team $95,000 in prize money.
“We’re just really blessed to get the one we were looking for,” said Alex Hull, of Surf City, N.C. “We were overjoyed. It’s something a lot of guys have fished SKA for a long time and have never done it. This is our sixth year. We were pretty ecstatic about it.”
Carolina Kings finished second with an 87.59-pound aggregate including a 50.93-pounder, Logan’s Run was third with an 83.89-pound aggregate including a 49.74-pounder and My Hooker was fourth with a 78.67-pound aggregate including a 59.25-pounder.
With their two teammates sitting the day out, Alex Hull and Vaughan headed to a live-bottom area about three miles southeast of Ocracoke Inlet where the team had caught a 52-pounder in a preliminary tournament earlier in the week.
After putting lines in at 8 a.m., Hull and Vaughan got the big bite first, with the smoker king hitting a bluefish on a Bluewater Candy skirt right behind the boat.
“The 60-pound fish hit first, skied on the prop wash bait,” said Alex Hull. ”It was something. I can’t get that picture out of my head. We knew it was a good fish.”
The hookup quickly got complicated, though.
“When (the fish) hit the water, he took off straight toward boat and got the line wrapped in the prop,” said Hull. “Luckily that motor was already shut off. (The fish) was still burning the line down.”
Hull and Vaughan raised the motor, spun the prop by hand to free the line and, somehow, the fish was still hooked up.
They chased the fish down with Hull serving as the angler and Vaughan at the helm.
“After fighting for 30 minutes we were able to get to him,” said Hull. “Kevin had a perfect gaff shot on the shoulders.”
Once the fish was in the boat, the duo noticed it was barely hooked.
“It was only hanging on by one treble (hook) in the gill plate,” said Hull. “The other treble had completely broken off. I honestly don’t know how we wound up getting that fish.”
All this happened amid horrible weather and sea conditions.
“It’s pouring rain and blowing while this is going on, (which made) it even more interesting,” said Hull. “I’ve had a nasty cough for the last few days but it paid off.”
Hull and Vaughan drifted over the same spot and caught the 32.25-pounder to complete their winning aggregate.
The Black Pearl, a 25-foot Hydra Sports, won the Small Boat Class with a 46.35-pound aggregate. Dirty South, a 21-foot Kencraft, won the Single Engine Class with a 41.58-pound aggregate.
For more information, visit www.fishska.com.
Capt. Roger Wahoo Challenge
The Ocean Isle Fishing Center is staging a wahoo tournament in honor of Capt. Roger Gales, who passed away Oct. 18 at the age of 48.
A portion of the tournament’s proceeds will be donated to the Capt. Roger Legacy Fund, benefiting his family.
Eligible fishing days are Nov. 23 through Dec. 31, and teams may fish up to two days during that stretch.
For more information, call 910-575-3474 or visit www.OIFC.com.
Alex Hull and Kevin Vaughan of Surf City, N.C., show off their winning king mackerel, including a tournament-best 60.22-pounder, in the Southern Kingfish Association’s National Championship Saturday in Morehead City, N.C. Photo courtesy of SKA