Southport Prepares To Welcome The King…Mackerel

Bring On the Boats

Southport and Oak Island is abuzz in anticipation of the Granddad of all North Carolina King Mackerel fishing competitions, the US Open King Mackerel Tournament. Fishing enthusiasts flock to the marina by the thousands to watch the haul of mackerel coming in from off of our shores.

The flurry of boats along with the captains and adrenaline-fueled crews is enough to excite on-lookers long before the live entertainment begins. People of all ages enjoy fresh seafood plates and refreshments while dancing the night away in the Southport streets. On the final day of the tournament, kids take their turn at reeling in the “big one” from the Southport City Pier during Captain Charlie’s Kids Fishing Tournament.

The most lively moment of the whole weekend comes when the weigh-ins begin. Boat after boat lines up to parade their tournament-worthy catch in the hopes of taking home the guaranteed $25,000 cash prize while others simply regret the one that got away.

Record-Breaking King Mackerel Catches

The tournament record stands strong with the 53.25-pound catch of Kevin Norris on “Reel Blessed” in 2014. Each year since the winning catch has decreased in size. This year’s tourney attendees will be very interested to see if 1-a crew will be able to turn the results around by catching a fish larger than the 2016 winning fish of 40.20-pounds, and 2-a crew will bring in a fish to break the overall tournament record. With cash prizes of over $100,000 awarded to the top 55 largest catches, it’s sure to be a heart-pumping weigh-in.

Record Angler Location Weight Date
US Open King Mackerel Tournament Kevin Norris Sneads Ferry, NC 53.25 lbs 2014
NC State Record Holder James Winch Ocracoke, NC 82 lbs, 4 oz 1999
World Record Holder Steve Graulau San Juan, Puerto Rico 93 lbs 1999


The 2017 US Open King Mackerel Tournament Schedule

Thursday, October 5
– 10am: Registration & Packet Pickup
– 4pm: The Groove Pirates (Entertainment) & Refreshment Sales Begin
– 7pm: Captains’ Meeting

Friday, October 6
– 7am: Competition Begins
– 11am: Scales Open
– 3pm: Refreshment Sales Begin
– 5pm: Competition Ends for Day 1

Saturday, October 7
– 7am: Competition Begins
– 9am: Captain Charlie’s Kids Fishing Tournament
– 11am: Scales Open & Seafood Plate Sales Start
– 3pm: Refreshment Sales Begin
– 4pm: Competition Ends
– 4:30pm: Blindside (Entertainment)
– 7:30pm: Awards Ceremony

Tournament Accommodations

As a Patron Sponsor of the tournament, we would love to have you join us in Oak Island and Southport for the early fall weekend. If your crew still needs accommodations, Margaret Rudd & Associates can assist you in finding a convenient condo for the event.

With slightly cooler temperatures, an early fall getaway could be just what your family needs after settling into the work and school routine. Our reservation specialists are happy to help you in finding the perfect Oak Island vacation rental. Give us a call at 800.486.5441 to book your stay and we’ll be happy to suggest a local charter fishing operation to help scratch your itch to fish.

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