It doesn’t hurt to have some fresh tips on a hot spot entering a competitive king mackerel tournament.
Capt. Austin Eubank reported he was the recipient of some very solid pre-tournament info before Saturday’s Rumble in the Jungle out of Harbourgate Marina in Little River, the fourth of five tournaments in the Southern Kingfish Association’s Division 9.
Eubank, of Carolina Beach, N.C., and his crew aboard Clearly Hooked parlayed that tip into the winning 38.55-pound king mackerel in the tournament.
Eubank received his hot tip from Andy Everhart of Southern Sportfishing Charters, who had caught kings weighing 35 and 32 pounds last Friday, the day before the tournament, at Yaupon Reef, located only 1 1/2 miles off the beach at Southport.
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“We felt like that’s where we needed to be,” said the 23-year-old Eubank, who operates Clearly Hooked Fishing Charters out of Carolina Beach.
Boats in the tournament were able to check out of Little River or Shallotte Inlet, N.C. Eubank and crew checked out of Shallotte Inlet, netted some pogeys (menhaden) along the beach and made the short run to Yaupon Reef.
Around 1 p.m., the crew had just missed a couple of kings in the 30-pound class that had skied on baits but missed the hook. Eubank was letting another bait out when the king nailed it about 20 yards behind the boat. Eubank hooked the fish and handed the rod to fellow crew member John Theodorakis.
“[The fish] made probably two runs of about 300 yards, John got some line back and [the fish] made another 100-yard run,” Eubank said. “[The fish] circled the boat 4-5 times, I gaffed him and we headed to the scales.”
At the weigh-in at Harbourgate Marina, the fish took top honors, in front of runner-up Big Bad Wolf of Wilmington. N.C., with a 35.71-pounder.
Rounding out the top five were Windy Conditions of Beaufort, N.C. with a 35.32-pounder, Yates-Sea of Mt. Pleasant with a 33.60-pounder and Eren’s Addiction Too of Charleston with a 33.45-pounder.
Clearly Hooked, a 23-foot Contender, is leading the points chase in SKA Division 9’s small boat division after also winning the division in 2011. Eubanks’ other two crew members for the tournament were Margaret Pennstrom and Amber King. Eubank earned $14,680 for the victory.
East Coast Sports topped the Small Boat Division with a 31.13-pound king. Pennstrom of Clearly Hooked was the event’s top Lady Angler (38.55 pounds), David Yates of Yates-Sea was the top Senior Angler (33.60 pounds) and Gage Bass of Windy Conditions was the top Junior Angler (35.32 pounds).
The tournament field consisted of 91 boats with 56 weighing in king mackerels.
“We were very impressed with the number of boats,” said John Gore, President of the Little River Inlet Fishing Club, which staged the tournament.
The final tournament in the division is the Yellowfin/Yamaha Fall Brawl King Classic, set for Ocean Isle Fishing Center Oct. 26-28.
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The Peace brothers, Perry, Hampton and Andy, were the winners of the event held Saturday out of Georgetown Landing Marina.
The trio, which earned $1,128, weighed in one of each of the targeted species, including a red drum (spottail), spotted seatrout and flounder for a winning aggregate weight of 11.4 pounds. The red drum weighed 4.3 pounds, the trout 2.1 pounds and the winning edge came in the form of a 5-pound flounder.
Douglas Miller, Sam Miller and Mark Rogers took second with a 9.4-pound aggregate while Robert Mayer and Glenn Wilson were third with an 8.6-pound aggregate.
The top Junior Angler was Harry Oxner Jr., with a 1.5-pound trout.