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).
For more information, visit www.OIFC.com.
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.”
Gregg Holshouser: email@example.com