Prior to last weekend, conditions along the beach were nice for fine fall king fishing, with numerous schools of bait and plenty of tournament-sized king mackerel available near the beach, along with clean water.
But then came Sandy.
While Hurricane Sandy only provided minimal rain and a stiff, mainly offshore wind along the Grand Strand, the historic storm did blow up the seas, murk up the water and force the postponement of a few local fishing tournaments last weekend.
The Yellowfin/Yamaha Fall Brawl King Classic out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center and the inaugural Murrells Inlet Spearfishing Tournament & Lionfish Rodeo both were postponed due to the wind and nasty seas kicked up by Sandy.
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“What is the frickin’ luck a hurricane comes through in the last week of October?” asked Capt. Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center earlier this week. “And we’ve had one of the nicest falls I can remember. I didn’t have a bunch of people calling [to see if the tournament was postponed]. It was kind of a no-brainer.”
McMullan and the OIFC crew advanced the tournament a week, with the Southern Kingfish Association-sanctioned event now being held this weekend with fishing set for Saturday and Sunday.
“The weather is looking pretty decent for the weekend,” McMullan said. “My hope is people will choose to fish [even though] the ocean will be stirred up. It will not be the typical fall near-shore situation when you can catch fish near the beach.
“I anticipate people having to get out to 65 feet of water. If I was going to fish it, I would do 90-100 feet, toward the Frying Pan Tower which is typically a place where the fish congregate in the fall. There is cleaner water out there. The beach stuff is going to be messed up. I don’t know if we’re even going to be able to find menhaden.”
Registration is set for Friday starting at noon with the Captains Meeting on tap for 7 p.m. Fishing will be held Saturday and Sunday with weigh-in both days 2-5 p.m.at the OIFC. Boats can fish one of the two days.
“I feel like we’ll lose some participation because of the conditions, but we’ll have a good show,” McMullan said.
The tournament is the finale in the Southern Kingfish Association’s Division 9.
The usual staff from SKA headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., that would normally be on hand for the tournament will not be in attendance.
Instead, the SKA staff is already in Biloxi, Miss., preparing for the SKA Nationals which will be held Nov. 8-11.
The Murrells Inlet Spearfishing Tournament and Lionfish Rodeo has not been immediately rescheduled.
Scuba Express, the event’s sponsor, and Crazy Sister Marina, the host site for the tournament, are coordinating to reschedule the tournament in the spring of 2013, likely in May or early June.
For more information on the tournament, call Scuba Express at (843) 357-3337.
The North Strand Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will stage its annual Dinner and Conservation Banquet on Thursday at 21 Main at North Beach, located off 48th Ave. South in North Myrtle Beach within North Beach Plantation.
Ducks Unlimited is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2012, and David Cutler, Chairman of the North Strand Chapter, says the limited edition merchandise available will be extra special this year.
The banquet begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, with dinner served at 7 p.m. to be followed by a superb auction. Tickets are $65 for singles, $100 per couple and includes dinner and an open bar.
Up for auction are various hunts, limited edition shotguns and coveted Ducks Unlimited artwork.
For more information, call Cutler at (843) 222-7433 or Marty Meggs at (843) 602-0750.