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Division: 1 Beaufort, NC KING OF THE CAPE OPEN KMT September 12-13, 2014

Small Boat, Big Fish: Hook Um Up wins King of the Cape

By Sam White

Beaufort, NC — It’s one of the oldest sayings in a sport full of sayings: that the fish can’t tell what size boat you’re fishing from. If the weather’s halfway decent, the smaller boats can and do fish just as well as the big boys. That was definitely the case at the recent Bojangles King of the Cape tournament, hosted by Town Creek Marina in Beaufort, NC. While the anticipated forecast proved to be rougher than the actual tournament weather, a fleet of 66 boats still showed up in this first-year tournament, an great turnout for director David Lucas and his staff. “They were calling for heavy downpours but the ocean was flat, it was sunny all day and never rained a drop,” he said. 

The tournament’s name refers to the broad expanse of Cape Lookout Shoals, a prominent maritime feature just off the coast of North Carolina. The eastern side of these legendary shoals, famous long before the days of Blackbeard, is home to some of the finest king mackerel hotspots anywhere on the entire Eastern Seaboard—as fall begins to descend on North Carolina, these rockpiles, ledges and wrecks heat up with a flurry of activity. Wayne Howard knew the potential of the area and so for the one-day shootout he pointed the bow of his Yamaha-powered 23-foot Island Runner to the East Side and let her eat. “We were the fifth or sixth boat to the spot and pretty much stayed hooked up all day,” he said. “We had three or four other good fish so it was just a beautiful day on the water.” Wayne fishes with his 12-year old daughter Kayla and his 28-year old son Chris but make no mistake, they fish hard and compete in tournaments just about every weekend during the season. “It’s a great way for us to spend quality time together as a family,” he reports. And so the team sprang into action when they had a good bite on a top-lined menhaden, with each member taking an active role: Kayla maneuvered the hooked fish forward to the bow while the others clear the lines and downriggers, then Chris took over the fight. Fifteen minutes later, the big king was hauled aboard. At the scales at Town Creek it would weigh 44.66 pounds, giving the team their first tournament victory as well as the lead in the SKA’s small-boat standings in Division One (to date they have weighed a 28.06, a 34.73 and a 44.66 for a total score of 107.44, more than 20 pounds ahead of their nearest competitor). Wayne Howard, who owns Howard Seafood in Wilmington, wanted to thank Gore Marine Fabricators, Pro Chips, Bluewater Candy, Tex’s Tackle and Mr. Sonny from Capt. Stacy’s Fishing Fleet for their help during the season. 

Another family team came in second in the King of the Cape—Jim Dupree’s OBX Girl. Jimmy fishes with his two sons, Jim III and Dan, and his wife Betsy. “The boys have king fished since they were eight and they love it as much as I do,” Dupree said, “and Betsy has fished with us for the last two seasons and really likes tournament fishing.” They also headed for the East Side but they had to wait until about 2:30 in the afternoon before their number was finally called. “We had small fish in the morning but that afternoon we caught a 30-pounder,” he reported. “We rebaited and headed back to that spot and had a good bite on the short t-top rod—he burned it down pretty good.” The fish headed offshore and put up a spirited fight but a short while later they were able to lift it over the gunwales of their Yamaha-powered Contender. “The fish had a huge head but a very thin body so we weren’t sure how much it would weigh,” Dupree said. “We were real happy when it finally weighed 41.40 pounds. It held up for second place overall, first place lady for Betsy and top senior angler for me. It was a great day and a great finish for us.” It was also enough to vault the OBX Girl into fourth place in the Division One standings with just two fish to their credit. 

Mitch Yates, Richard Williams and Ronnie Miller put another Yamaha-powered Contender, the Sea Rat, in third place overall. Yates prefished the East Side prior to the tournament and didn’t catch a king but returned to the area during the event, knowing that the fish could turn on at any given time. “We had another five fish over 30 pounds, fishing in 50 feet of water,” he said later. Their biggest, a 36.76-pounder, bit a naked pogy and proceeded to head straight offshore, acting just like a big kingfish right from the start. “We fought it for about 10 or 15 minutes before I finally was able to sink the steel in it,” Yates said. D. Logan and the Logan’s Run, a Yamaha-powered Yellowfin, landed in fourth place with a 36.74-pound king mackerel, just two-hundredths of a pound from making the top three. They came north from their home port of Wrightsville Beach, NC for a shot at the big East Side kings. Their finish also helped in their divisional standings, moving them into ninth place with only two fish. 

Ronnie and Zack Mabee, Chuck Bely and Vic Tompkins rounded out the top five on the In 2 Deep, a Yamaha-powered Contender home-ported in Jacksonville NC, with a 34.42-pounder. They currently hold 11th in the divisional race. Betsy Dupree was the Top Lady angler and her husband Jim Dupree Jr. was the Top Senior Angler, both from the OBX Girl team. Kayla Howard was the event’s Top Junior Angler, representing the Hook Um Up.

It’s a pretty strong showing for a tournament of more than 60 boats where you had to have a 35-pound fish just to make the top five. Event director David Lucas said, “I’d like to thank the SKA and all of our sponsors and teams that helped us support the Methodist Home for Children (see sidebar). This was our first year for this event and we’ll work hard to make it bigger and better in 2015.”


Open Class

44.661. HOOK UM UP
Island Runner / Yamaha
Wayne Howard
Chris Howard
Kayla Howard
Travis Wiley
41.402. OBX GIRL
Contender / Yamaha
Jim Dupree Jr.
Jim Dupree III
Dan Dupree
Betsy Dupree
36.763. SEA RAT
Contender / Yamaha
Mitch Yates
Jiggy Williams
36.744. LOGAN'S RUN
Yellowfin / Yamaha
D. Logan
David Logan
34.425. IN 2 DEEP
Contender / Yamaha
Ronnie Mabee
Zack Mabee
Chuck Bely
Vic Tompkins
Yellowfin / Yamaha
Brian Allen
Stacy Allen
Grimes Medlin
Braxton Allen
Richard Rowland
32.807. Proud Mary
32.288. RELEASE
Yellowfin / Yamaha
Mike Williams
Gordon Dunn
Quinn Morris
32.069. SEA DUB
Triton / Yamaha
Chris Wilkins
Onslow Bay / Yamaha
Jodie Gay
Tim Parker
Kent Raynor
Scott Pelletier

Top Lady Anglers
41.401. Betsy Dupree

Top Senior Angler
41.40Jim Dupree Jr.

Top Junior Angler
44.66Kayla Howard

SKA Top Junior Anglers
44.661. Kayla Howard
33.462. Braxton Allen
22.003. Henry Tillet III

Mercury Marine Junior Angler Scholarship Winner
Dylan Peters

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