Outdoors

How the Southern Kingfish Association and its events were revived in the Carolinas

Capt. Brant McMullan, son Brayden McMullan and Capt. Austin Aycock of Ocean Isle Fishing Center show off king mackerel weighing 45 and 50 pounds caught recently. Ocean Isle Fishing Center is hosting the Jolly Mon King Mackerel Tournament this weekend.
Capt. Brant McMullan, son Brayden McMullan and Capt. Austin Aycock of Ocean Isle Fishing Center show off king mackerel weighing 45 and 50 pounds caught recently. Ocean Isle Fishing Center is hosting the Jolly Mon King Mackerel Tournament this weekend. Photo courtesy of OIFC.com

The Southern Kingfish Association originated in 1991 and helped firmly establish the sport of king mackerel tournament fishing throughout the southeast. For nearly three decades, the organization has coordinated tournaments along the Southeast and Gulf coasts from North Carolina to Texas.

But in the past two years, the Southern Kingfish Association was in a noticeable downturn with the number of sanctioned tournaments declining and new series such as the Kingfish Cup in North Carolina and Palmetto Kingfish Tour in South Carolina popping up.

In January, the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) was in limbo, with the website (www.fishska.com) reading “No Data Here Yet” for the schedule of all 10 divisions plus the National Championship.

With the organization’s future in doubt, brothers Jay and Price Feimster came to the rescue. The Feimsters purchased the organization in March, and quickly moved to get the tournaments in North and South Carolina all back on board.

The Feimsters are native Carolinians and were already involved with king mackerel tournaments through their business, www.pointclickfish.com. The Feimsters are also competitive king mackerel fishermen.

The SKA had been a Florida-based organization, but the Feimsters promptly moved headquarters to Morehead City, N.C.. Nowhere is competitive king mackerel fishing taken more seriously than on the North Carolina coast.

“We didn’t want to see it go away,” said Jay Feimster earlier this week. “We had ideas of what we wanted to do with SKA. We got all the Palmetto and Kingfish Cup (tournaments) back on board. That was real exciting, we’re happy to get the tournament directors on board.”

As king tournaments in the Carolinas for 2019 are about to kick off with Capt. Brant’s Jolly Mon King Mackerel Tournament this weekend in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., the slate of SKA-sanctioned events is chock full.

The SKA has three Carolina divisions - Division 1 (North Carolina), Division 2 (Carolina Border), Division 3 (South Carolina) - for a combined 14 tournaments on the schedule between the two states.

The Kingfish Cup, founded by Capt. Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, is entering its third season, while the Palmetto Cup is in its first season. Feimster sees those two series as partners, not competition.

“The sport of kingfish tournaments is strong,” said Feimster. “We want to work with them as they continue to grow the regional series. We want to work with them and support them through the SKA.”

McMullan, the tournament director of the Jolly Mon, is glad to see SKA Division 2 back in full action after two years of his two tournaments out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center not being associated with SKA.

“The agreement made was that we would go back to them if they restored the division to the prominence it was back in the heyday in the 2000s,” said McMullan. “We have now what I call a super division, which has the five largest events in the region. (Competitors) can fish for the most money against the most people. It is by far the premier division in SKA.”

Boats will have the opportunity to fish two series in most of the tournaments held in the Carolinas.

Four of the five tournaments in the Kingfish Cup are part of SKA’s Division 2 (Carolina Border) and four of the five tournaments in the Palmetto Kingfish Tour are part of SKA’s Division 3 (South Carolina).

“The SKA is rich in history, there are so many first, second and third generation anglers participating,” said Jay Feimster. “The love and support for the SKA is still there. It’s good as an owner to see that and get that support.”

Jolly Mon King Classic: Sea conditions look very good for the Jolly Mon, with fishing set for Saturday and Sunday, with boats able to fish one of the two days. McMullan expects around 300 boats to compete in the tournament.

For more information, call 910-575-3474 or visit www.OIFC.com.

Murrells Inlet Flounder Tournament: The tournament hosted by the Murrells Inlet Rotary Club and Crazy Sister Marina is Saturday out of the marina on the Marshwalk, with weigh-in set for Saturday afternoon.

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