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Division:9 Ocean Isle Beach, NC FALL BRAWL KING CLASSIC October 10-11, 2014

Clearly Hooked & Blew By U! One-Two Punch at Fall Brawl Kingfish Classic

By Gary Caputi

Ocean Isle Beach, NC — The Yellowfin/Yamaha Fall Brawl Kingfish Classic had a strong turnout again this year with 196 teams competing for $87,000 in cash plus trophies and prizes! Put on by the McMullan family’s Ocean Isle Fishing Center it was, once again, a family event with 42 Junior Anglers and 43 Lady Anglers weighing in during the two fishing days. 

The format is “either/or,” fish one day, and 157 of the total field headed out early Saturday morning on a nice fall day. A large number of boats made a beeline to the Lighthouse Rocks, others to the Cape Fear Sea Buoy and a fewer number to the River Channel. There were good bites the day before at all three spots and it turned out to be a crap shoot with no fish breaking the 40-pound mark brought to the scales either day, something that is pretty unusual for the Carolinas in the fall. 

The two top teams were Austin Eubank and his Clearly Hooked Fishing Team taking first place overall with Corey Durako and his merry band aboard the Blew By U! a close second. The interesting story here is these two friends have been working together in tournaments all year, sharing information and calling each other in on hot bites and this time it really paid off for both of them. 

“Austin and I headed to different spots first thing in the morning,” Durako told us. “I went to the Lighthouse Rocks, where there had been a pretty good bite the day before, and Austin went to the River Channel. When he caught his first fish over 30 pounds he called me in.”

“I had been catching bigger fish at the River Channel the day before,” Austin said. “I had a charter there on Friday and had done well.” But fish move and having Corey start the day at the Rocks was insurance for both of them. “When I hooked a nice fish I called Corey. It was a 34 pound king so I put that one in the boat and was letting out another live pogy when an even bigger fish took the bait while I still had the line in my hand!” 

The fish made a short run, turned and charged the boat passing underneath and screaming off another 200 yards of line. Margaret Pennstrom, who was fighting it, brought the fish under control and after a few shorter runs Shane Barry gaffed the 39.65 lbs. fish. It would go on to win the tournament for Austin and company. 

In the meantime Blew By U! had arrived on the scene and was trolling a spread of pogies when a big king skied on one that was being fished on the surface under a Blue Water Candy duster. 

“The big fish actually skied twice and missed the bait both times,” Corey recounted. “So I pulled it in, clipped a fin and sent it back out. It didn’t miss on the next try. Rick Gilligan was on the rod and did a great job fighting the fish, I gaffed it.”

That one hit the scales about a pound shy of Austin’s at 38.25 lbs. and would hold on to take second place. Team work between these two teams certainly worked this time out!  Team Clearly Hooked runs a Yamaha-powered 23’ Contender and the Blew By U! is a Mercury-powered 23’ Onslow Bay, so it appears the two captains don’t agree on everything. Corey is sponsored by Mercury Marine, Onslow Bay Boats and Intercoastal Floors, while Austin currently has no sponsors. Who will be the first to latch on to this 15 year SKA veteran with the hot hand? 

Alan Holden’s Hold’n On, a Mercury-powered Mako boat out of Holden Beach, NC, was working its way home Saturday afternoon after a disappointing day of catching small fish. The team, sponsored by ReMax at the Beach and Alan Holden Vacations, was a mile or so off Rockwood Inlet slow-trolling back when…you guessed it! 

“We were fed up and calling it a day when a king ate a pogy fished on the surface,” Alan reported. “We were almost ready to pull up the lines, it was just before 4 PM when we got bit. I was on the rod and Teak Hemphill gaffed it. We looked at the fish and weren’t even going to weigh it in. It just didn’t look big enough, but we decided to make the run back to the scales anyway.”

Good thing they did because the king weighed in at 36.85 lbs. and took third place overall in the tournament. Alan has been fishing SKA events since 2001 and was getting ready to head to the Nationals to test his apparent good luck in the Gulf, too. 

“There was a lot of action on the Lighthouse Rocks when we pre-fished on Friday,” said Chad Morris of the Sea Horse Fishing Team, “so we went there first thing on Saturday morning.”

The teams Yamaha-powered 36’ Yellowfin was on the fish catching 9 between 20 and 30 lbs. during the day. “We had just fought and released one and I was putting out the first line when our biggest fish of the day grabbed the naked porgy before I could even get the rod in the holder,” Chad said. He fought the 35.30 lb. king unaided and Scott Buff put the hook to it at boatside. The fish would hold up to take fourth place. Morris is from Troy, NC and has been an SKA member since 1996. He is sponsored by Blackberry Marine, Cape Fear Sportswear and Easy Rider Bean Bags. 

Rounding out the top five places was the Choice of Two, a gorgeous black on black 39’ Contender with triple Yamahas run by Corey Bellamy, who was getting ready for the Nationals when we caught up with him on the phone. He told us he fished the area near the Cape Fear Sea Buoy and did well there. 

When we asked Corey why he went to that spot he answered, “Because that’s where they were!” He said there were lots of fish, but also a lot of boats, which made it harder to get bites. “We picked away at them catching seven including the one bigger fish we brought to the scales.” 

That was a 34.50 king that would put them into fifth place. Corey has been fishing tournaments for seven years and been an SKA member since the very first one. His sponsors are Marine Service Center, Little River, Brazen Custom Rods and Smith Outdoors. 

As mentioned, the event had a lot of families involved including the McMullan Clan with Team OIFC consisting of Barrett McMullan at the helm, Amy McMullan with daughter Caroline and son Braydon on board. Quite a few lady and junior anglers weighed in. First place Lady Angler was Margaret Pennstrom from the Clearly Hooked, who caught the big fish of the tournament at 39.65 and second place went to Amy Morris of the Sea Horse team with a 35.30 king. Elizabeth Stevens and Shaun Bellamy, both fishing on the Choice of Two, took the top two Junior spots.


Open Class

Contender / Yamaha
Austin Eubank
John Theodorakis
Margaret Pennstrom
38.252. BLEW BY U!
Onslow Bay / Mercury
Corey Durako
Ryan Clark
Richard Gilligan
Barry Bierstedt
36.853. HOLD’N ON
Mako / Mercury
Alan Holden
Yellowfin / Yamaha
Chad Morris
Brian Buff
Amy Morris
Madison Morris
Avery Morris
George Metzgar Jr.
Contender / Yamaha
Corey Bellamy
Ryan Stevens
Shaun Bellamy
Elizabeth Stevens
Eddy Jones
34.106. UNO MAS
Sea Hunt / Yamaha
Ben Rucker
David Rucker
Sam Beavans
33.657. 90 Minutes
Cape Horn / Yamaha
Tim Gray
Courtney Gray
Lauren Liles
Tyler Lancaster
Joey Worrells
Contender / Yamaha
Jim Cunningham
Linda Howell
33.1510. Another Hobby

Small Boat Class

Contender / Yamaha
Austin Eubank
John Theodorakis
Margaret Pennstrom
38.252. BLEW BY U
Onslow Bay / Mercury
Corey Durako
Ryan Clark
Richard Gilligan
Barry Bierstedt
36.853. HOLD’N ON
Mako / Mercury
Alan Holden

Top Senior Angler
36.85Alan Holden

Top Junior Angler
35.30Madison Morris

SKA Top Junior Anglers
35.301. Madison & Avery Morris
33.452. Carson Hicks
28.903. Austin Aycock

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