Outdoors column: winds and rough seas push back Rumble in the Jungle

Outdoors ColumnistSeptember 26, 2013 

The northeast wind kicked in at midweek and the resulting rough seas have caused the Rumble in the Jungle, a Southern Kingfish Association-sanctioned king mackerel tournament, to be postponed for a day.

The tournament was set for Saturday out of Harbourgate Marina in Little River, but the event has been moved to Sunday.

“If nothing changes we’re going to fish Sunday,” said tournament director John Gore. “If something terrible happens with the forecast we’ll cancel but right now we’re set up to go on Sunday.”

Boats competing in the tournament will be able to declare their points be applied to either of two SKA divisions, Division 3 or Division 9.

With the postponement, a captains meeting will be held both Friday and Saturday, both at 7 p.m. under the tent at the marina. Registration will end at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Lines in time on Sunday is 7 a.m. and boats must be in the weigh-in line by 5 p.m.

The tournament features a $10,000 prize for the largest king mackerel and has something new this year. The tournament winner will win the North-South Shootout, signified by a trophy that will go to the winner each year.

“It’s all bragging rights and BS,” Gore said.

Gore is optimistic for the king fishing in the tournament.

“There are mullet on the beach, which means the fish are under the mullet,” said Gore, who noted a 33-pound king was caught Wednesday off the Surf City (N.C.) Ocean Pier which falls within the tournament boundaries.

Fish caught in the tournament will be donated to the 6th annual Fish Fry Benefit for Horry County Abused & Neglected Children to be held Wednesday with proceeds going to the Special Kids Sponsor Program.

For more information on the fish fry, call 843-280-6964 or visit www.babbcustomhomes.com/events/.

Bud Slam

Brian Costello and Tom Dietrich of Fish On Outfitters knew they could catch a red drum in the upper range of South Carolina’s slot limit, but the wildcard in the Bud Slam Saturday out of Myrtle Beach Yacht Club in Little River was putting another quality fish in the board.

Costello and Dietrich fished in Cherry Grove and had a red drum a little over 22 inches in the boat, just within the slot of 15-23 inches. The partners then went flounder fishing hoping to win first place in the tournament’s aggregate category.

“We won last year’s tournament with the same size red,” said Costello. “We were looking good and any keeper flounder would do. We must have caught a dozen 12-13 inch fish (just under the 14-inch minimum size limit).”

Then, a real doormat came calling, taking a finger mullet on a two-hook flounder rig.

“When that big one hit, we said, `That’ll do,’” recalled Costello.

The doormat weighed 5.78 pounds, measured 25 inches and won Costello and Dietrich both the $1,000 grand prize for largest fish plus the first-place aggregate prize. The two fish weighed 9.96 pounds combined and topped the second-place aggregate finisher, Git R Done, with 6.70 pounds for a red drum and flounder.

Tar Heel won third-place aggregate with 6.54 pounds for a red drum and flounder.

Melissa Labanowski aboard Queen Mary was the top Lady Angler with a 5.56-pound aggregate for a red drum and a flounder. Sarah Ross aboard Reelin & Chillin was the top Junior Angler with a 4.37-pound red drum.

Aqualolics caught a Grand Slam – red drum, flounder, trout – weighing a total of 5.90 pounds.

SAFMC meeting

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council voted to continue developing options for using Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) designed to help reduce by-catch of warsaw grouper and speckled hind at a meeting in Charleston last week.

The South Atlantic Expert Working Group on MPAs, composed of experts in

fish biology, marine ecology, and resource conservation and management sciences, proposed 30 Type 2 MPAs off the South Atlantic coast for SAFMC members to consider at the meeting.

Type 2 MPAs prohibit harvest and possession of species within the snapper-grouper management complex, but trolling for pelagic species is allowed. Type 2 MPAs are the only type MPA the council is considering in Regulatory Amendment 17.

The council will review updates on research and law enforcement activities within the eight existing deep-water MPAs in the South Atlantic region during its December meeting, scheduled for December 2-6 in Wilmington, N.C.

Scoping meetings are expected to be held on the MPA issue in January 2014.

The council also chose to change the fishing season for two important reef species in the South Atlantic region.

The fishing season for most species under SAFMC jurisdiction runs from June 1 to May 31 of the following year.

The council voted to change the beginning of the fishing season for recreational anglers to April 1 for black sea bass and to March 1 for greater amberjack.

Also, NOAA Fisheries will announce the start and end dates for the recreational black sea bass season annually based on the available annual catch limit.

The commercial fishing year for black sea bass would run from January 1 - December 31 with a prohibition on the use of black sea bass pots for commercial harvest from November 1-April 30.

Over 80 percent of black sea bass are harvested commercially using pots and the prohibition is a precautionary measure to prevent gear interactions with endangered whales during migration and calving season.

Black sea bass

NOAA Fisheries has increased the annual catch limit (ACL) for black sea bass in the South Atlantic region, as the new ACL went into effect on Monday.

During a special webinar meeting held in May, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved the substantial increase in the ACL for the black sea bass fishery.

The recreational ACL has been raised from 409,000 pounds for the 2012-13 fishing season to 1,033,980 for the current 2013-14 season.

With the 409,000-pound ACL in place, the 2012-13 recreational fishing season for black sea bass lasted only 96 days, June 1 through Sept. 4 of 2012. With the new ACL in place, the current season is expected to last about six months, likely ending sometime in December.

Contact GREGG HOLSHOUSER at 651-9028 or wholshouser@sc.rr.com.

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