Crew hauls in big­gest sum in king mack­erel fish­ing his­tory with win

The Sun News - - Sports - BY GREGG HOLSHOUSER

In 20 years of fish­ing in com­pet­i­tive king mack­erel tour­na­ments, Kevin Sneed picked the right time to win his first one.

Sneed and crew aboard Rigged and Ready, a 31-foot Com­pe­ti­tion, weath­ered seas up to 6 to 8 feet to claim the se­cond an­nual King­fish Cup cham­pi­onship Sun­day in Ocra­coke, N.C., with a two-king mack­erel ag­gre­gate of 81 pounds.

The vic­tory is his­toric, as the Rigged and Ready crew went home with $127,755 in prize money, a sum called the largest in king mack­erel tour­na­ment his­tory by Capt. Brant McMul­lan, one of the founders of the King­fish Cup. The tour­na­ment paid out a to­tal of $255,512 to the top four teams.

“It was a spe­cial mo­ment for us all,” said Sneed, of Holden Beach, N.C., who was fish­ing with his wife, Kim­ber, along with Jimmy Stubbs and Jody Gay. “I didn’t re­al­ize it un­til Brant said, ‘Let’s have Team Rigged and Ready come on down. They’re about to re­ceive the largest pay­out in king mack­erel tour­na­ment his­tory.’ “

A cold front post­poned the cham­pi­onship, which was orig­i­nally to be a two-day event last Fri­day and Satur­day, with each com­pet­ing team able to weigh their largest king mack­erel each day.

In­stead, the 31 com­pet­ing teams headed out Sun­day morn­ing, fac­ing sloppy seas thanks to a 15- 20-knot north­east wind and tasked with weigh­ing in two kings in one day for their two fish ag­gre­gate.

Rigged and Ready started by work­ing Wee­zle Rock, 10 miles south of Ocra­coke In­let, but ac­tion was slow. Sneed got a tip from the Wa­hooli­gans team that there was some ac­tiv­ity at Potlicker Rock, so he headed a few miles north to that spot.

Sneed and crew had bait prob­lems ear­lier in the week when most of the men­haden and blue­fish they had caught and

penned died.

“A buddy gave me six or eight mul­let that morn­ing, and that’s what we wound up catch­ing our fish on,” said Sneed.

Once at Potlicker Rock, they quickly landed a 33-pound king that hit a long, top-lined bait.

The crew then landed a few medium-size kings but was look­ing for an­other smoker. About 2:30 p.m., they got it.

A king nailed a large mul­let, again on the long top-line, and took off, headed off­shore.

Gay grabbed the rod and they chased down the fish. About 15 min­utes later, Sneed gaffed and pulled aboard a huge king that wound up be­ing a 48-pounder and in essence the tour­na­ment win­ner.

“I seem to catch the big ones the day be­fore or the day af­ter the tour­na­ment,” said Sneed. “All the stars were lined up that day.”

Af­ter a slow, rough ride back to Ocra­coke, Team Rigged and Ready was de­clared the win­ner.

“We had never won a tour­na­ment be­fore,” said Sneed. “We were truly blessed to get the bite.”

The King­fish Cup is the brain­child of the McMul­lan fam­ily, own­ers of Ocean Isle Fish­ing Cen­ter (OIFC) in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., and is com­prised of four king mack­erel tour­na­ments — two at the OIFC, one at Lit­tle River and one at Carolina Beach, N.C.

Boats com­pet­ing in the King­fish Cup com­bined the to­tal weight of three of their four big­gest kings caught in the four tour­na­ments, and re­ceived a point per pound, with 31 qual­i­fy­ing for the King­fish Cup cham­pi­onship.

One McMul­lan en­try fin­ished in se­cond place, as Capt. Brant McMul­lan, his wife Amy and 9-yearold son Bray­den brought in kings weigh­ing 42 and 24 pounds for a 67-pound ag­gre­gate.

Af­ter en­coun­ter­ing wa­hoo, black­fin tuna and sharks in 76-de­gree wa­ter in an area 15 miles off Capt Hat­teras, Brant McMul­lan quickly de­cided to head back in.

Five miles in­shore in 73-de­gree wa­ter, the fam­ily trio landed their two kings, with Amy and Bray­den serv­ing as an­glers.

Af­ter years of fish­ing pro­fes­sion­ally, es­pe­cially with his brother, Bar­rett, and hav­ing the “new­ness” wear off, Brant McMul­lan has found new en­joy­ment while com­pet­ing with his fam­ily.

“It has be­come much more fun and more of an ac­com­plish­ment when we can have suc­cess with our kids,” said Brant McMul­lan. “You’ve got teams out there with a bunch of full grown men. I kind of like the un­der­dog sta­tus and the wife and kids (in­clud­ing 13-year-old Caro­line) are into it.

“Ev­ery­body con­trib­utes. no­body sleeps in the bean bag any­more. I’m very proud of that fact.”

Team Rasta Rocket fin­ished third with a 64pound ag­gre­gate af­ter weigh­ing in kings weigh­ing 34 and 30 pounds. The team won $25,740.

Team Break­ing Bad fin­ished fourth with a 59-pound ag­gre­gate, in­clud­ing a 34-pound king. The team won $25,362.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the se­ries and the cham­pi­onship, go to King­fishcup.com and join the email list.

SALTT EVENT

Last Satur­day marked the se­cond of six events in the 2018-19 Stu­dent An­gler League Tour­na­ment Trail out of the Car­roll Camp­bell Ma­rine Com­plex in Georgetown.

SALTT fea­tures di­vi­sions for red drum and large­mouth bass, with mid­dle and high school an­glers com­pet­ing against one an­other.

Once again, the an­glers were met with windy weather thanks to a strong cold front that rolled through the night be­fore.

Still, the an­glers brought qual­ity fish and lim­its to the weigh-in at the com­plex lo­cated on the Sampit River.

Dy­lan Skip­per and Walker McKen­zie of An­drews won the High School Red­fish Di­vi­sion with a two-fish limit of 8.58 pounds, in­clud­ing the big fish in the di­vi­sion, a 4.69-pounder. Noah Payne and Ka­dyn Kel­la­han of An­drews fin­ished se­cond with 5.22 pounds, fol­lowed by Christa Ed­monds of Carolina For­est in third with 3.51 pounds.

De­van Har­rel­son and Car­son Watford of Georgetown Mid­dle School won the Mid­dle School Red­fish Di­vi­sion with two-fish weigh­ing 5.15 pounds, in­clud­ing the 3.36-pound big fish in the di­vi­sion. Dono­van Har­ris of Con­way Mid­dle School and Wy­att Moore of Whit­te­more Park Mid­dle School were se­cond with 4.02 pounds.

Con­way’s Austin Win­burn and Chan­dler Brown had a five-fish ag­gre­gate of 10.59 pounds to win the High School Bass Di­vi­sion. Avery Wil­liams of St. James fin­ished se­cond with 9.10 pounds in­clud­ing the big bass of the di­vi­sion, a 2.60pounder. An­drew Ack­er­man and Jeremy Owens of Georgetown were third with 7.99 pounds.

Gavin Porter of Loris Mid­dle School fished solo and won the Mid­dle School Bass Di­vi­sion with a five-fish limit of 7.53pounds, plus caught the big bass of the di­vi­sion, a 3.02-pounder. Ma­son Hardee and Will Hardee McGuirt of Con­way Mid­dle School were se­cond with 2.33 pounds. Rose­mary Mid­dle School’s Al­lie New­ton was third with 2.02 pounds.

The third tour­na­ment in the se­ries will be held Dec. 1, also at the Car­roll Camp­bell Ma­rine Com­plex.

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