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Division:3 & 9 Little River, SC 12th ANNUAL RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE KMT September 26-27, 2014

It’s a Second Chanze for Rumble in the Jungle!

By Sam White

North Myrtle Beach, SC — The border between North and South Carolina is one of the most hotly contested areas of head to head king mackerel competition found anywhere in the Southeast. During the summer months, big fish can be found anywhere from right on the beach to as far offshore as you care to venture, and the tournament fishing really heats up with anglers from both Carolinas duking it out for bragging rights along with some serious cash. That’s right, it’s the Rumble in the Jungle King Mackerel Tournament, now celebrating its 12th anniversary.

This year’s event was presented by the Little River Inlet Saltwater Fishing Club, while Harbourgate Marina hosted the tournament from their location in North Myrtle Beach. As with many other SKA tournaments, this one benefits some notable charities including the Horry County Abused Children and the North Myrtle Beach Humane Society. Tournament sponsors included Jud Kuhn Chevrolet, Marine Service Center, Yamaha, Contender and the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, among others. A big draw this year was the $35,000 guaranteed first place prize for the largest king mackerel, with an additional $10,000 guaranteed for the top single engine boat, all for an entry fee of just $250. Even better: teams could choose their preferred division, whether they’re in South Carolina’s Division 3 or Division 9 in southern North Carolina, making it a win/win for SKA teams throughout the region.

Everything was looking rosy until right up to the event’s kickoff, when Mother Nature rolled in with a vengeance. A front pushed through and the weather forecast for the weekend didn’t look good at all. The format was switched to an either/or eventcaptain’s choice, with teams electing to fish either Saturday or Sunday in hopes of finding a favorable weather window. Once again the best solution was reached in a tricky situation. 

The extra day proved to be a useful one for the Second Chanze team of John Lewis and Chad Barnes. Fishing a Yamaha-powered Contender 23, the pair chose Sunday for their tournament day which gave them a chance to scout a few spots on Saturday without the pressure of big bucks on the line. “We looked around a few places and then came by the Ocean Crest Pier,” Lewis said. “There were some good fish caught there so we knew that’s where we wanted to be the next day.” With reports of 40-pounders being landed from the pier, the word soon spread: the big kings were there and right on the beach. And with rough weather offshore, it proved to work out well for the fleet. “There were over 50 boats there the first morning when we started,” Lewis reported. As the morning wore on they saw several boats hook up with good fish and head offshore before their number was finally called. A long toplined bluefish was the ticket for the Second Chanze around 11am. “We saw one boat get a bite so we swung around and headed back through the bait and that’s when our fish hit,” Lewis said. “It really ran hard—I haven’t had a king run that strong in a long time. We were on plane and it was still burning the reel down.” They finally got up on the fish, with Johnny on the rod and Chad Barnes on the wheel, but due to the dirty brown water they really never got a good look at the fish. “We could only see part of the back and the tail until it swung around and went past the boat about a foot underwater,” Lewis related. “Then we knew it was a big one.” The nice kingfish made another halfhearted run before coming back to the boat where Barnes was waiting with the gaff. “We knew the leading fish from the first day measured 51 inches by 21 and ours was 55 and a half by 23 so we were pretty sure we had him beaten,” Lewis said. Sure enough, at the scales their fish would weigh 44.54 pounds, good enough for the win and the guaranteed cash. Lewis said that the key to their success was staying tight on the beach, having confidence that the big fish would be right there. 

Second place in the tournament fell to a non-member with a 41.38-pounder. Neill Newton’s High Cotton bested a 40.98-pound king mackerel to take home third place overall, also marking the third 40-pounder of the tournament. Like many others, Neill and his team of Marshall, Allison and Mary Lawrence Newton, Morgan Beverly and Chad Bazen had heard of a good bite off the Ocean Crest Pier so they pointed their Yamaha-powered Yellowfin in that direction on Sunday. They also found murky water in the 35-foot range but knowing the big fish were there they set out a spread of pogies and bluefish and went to work. Unfortunately for them it was a long day until finally they had a good propwash bite around 4pm. “We didn’t have a good bite all day long,” reported Neill Newton. “That fish hit, made one long run about 300 yards and gave up so we headed to the scales.” A Bluewater Candy pink skirt may have been the difference for the High Cotton too, especially given the dark water conditions. Newton wanted to thank Bazen Custom Rods and Ketchie Outdoors for their assistance and said that they would be making the trip to the Mercury SKA National Championship later this year to represent southern North Carolina. 

With $10,000 on the line for the biggest fish caught from a single-engine boat and a big class of kings within a small-caliber rifle shot of the shoreline, the small boat class would be a shootout. Knot @ Work’s Robert Olsen sold his 31-foot Contender the week before so rather than sit out the weekend and not fish, he elected to campaign his 24-foot bay boat in the tournament. “I’ve only fished this tournament about three times and it’s been probably 10 years since I’ve been here but it’s always been a good one,” he said. “This year was no different—I can say that the tournament was very well-run and well organized, one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.” He chose to hit the Ocean Crest along with most of the tournament fleet, where his fish fell for a short-lined pogy on the surface. “We were lucky that most of the other boats had moved offshore by the time we got the bite,” he said, “because our fish ran probably 500 yards of line before we could chase it down.”  Fishing with Shannon and Leia Elias and Melissa Langston, Olsen knew the fish was a good one but wasn’t sure it would win the single engine class until later. His 37.46-pounder would be worth a cool $10,000. He wanted to thank fellow competitors Dennis Hensley and David Yates for their help pre-fishing as well as Knot @ Work team sponsors Pure Fishing, Charleston Angler and Z-Man Lures. The team has also taken a resounding lead in the Division 3 standings with 103.24 points and one more tournament to go. 

Corey Durako’s Blew By U! landed in fourth place in the tournament. Durako, fishing a Mercury-powered Onslow Bay, weighed a 34.92-pound kingfish. His team of Barry Bierstedt and Richard Gilligan also leapfrogged ahead in the standings all the way to third place overall in the SKA’s Small Boat Class in Division 9. Derek Treffinger and the Carolina Cat/OIFC team rounded out the top five in the Rumble in the Jungle with a 34.84-pound king mackerel. 

And so even with a not-so-great weather forecast, this year’s Rumble in the Jungle proved to be a memorable one for all who were fortunate to participate.


Open Class

Contender / Yamaha
John Lewis
Chad Barnes
41.382. Strictly Business
Yellowfin / Yamaha
Neill Newton
Marshall Newton
Allison Newton
Mary Lawrence Newton
34.924. BLEW BY U!
Onslow Bay / Mercury
Barry Bierstedt
Richard Gilligan
World Cat / Yamaha
Derek Treffinger
Contender / Suzuki
Dennis McCracken
34.107. TIDELINE
Wellcraft / Yamaha
Dieter Cardwell
Mike Lundy
Kevin Alley
33.288. Wild Bill II
32.929. DAWG HOUSE
Key West / Evinrude
Jimmy Garza
Dan McQuigg
Yellowfin / Mercury
Tommy McAlister Jr.
Walker McAlister III
Ben McAlister

Small Boat Class

37.461. KNOT @ WORK
Contender / Yamaha
Andrew Olsen
Shannon Elias
Leia Elias
Melissa Langston
31.142. Jus Rite
Pro-Line / Yamaha
Rock Powell
William Freeman Jr.
Grant Powell
Contender / Yamaha
Austin Eubank
John Theodorakis
27.425. SALTY DAZE
Cape Horn / Yamaha
Jonathan Staley
Christy Staley
Logan Staley
Jason McAlister
27.206. Legal-Ease
26.527. Dollie Whoo
26.308. LET'ER RIP
Sea Hunt / Yamaha
Mason Cashwell Jr.
Jeremy Harrelson
26.129. Ghost Bite
25.9610. The Official

Single Engine

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