Gary Hurley

Tidelines – August 23, 2012

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This year’s NewBridge Bank Wild King Classic has a new look to it, and we couldn’t be more excited about the transformation.

By far the biggest change is that we’ve made the tournament exclusively for boats 23’ and Under (as defined by manufacturer’s advertised specifications). There are several reasons for the change, but at the top of the list would have to be our main goal when we first decided to create the Wild King Classic: to create a family-friendly, fun event with a strong sense of community.

We never wanted to create an event that was defined and judged strictly by the money (though we know that strong payouts and lots of prizes are a necessity), and it seems that focusing only on money is the trend these days with the bigger KMTs that attract big boats with lots of engines running 100 miles to find a winning fish.

Instead, we wanted to create a tournament where everyone felt like they had a chance to win. We also wanted more than just a tournament—we wanted an event where participants would enjoy all of the weekend’s festivities.

In regards to evening the playing field, it’s our hope that focusing the tournament on smaller boats (no boats longer than 23 feet) will create that KMT where all have a fairly equal chance of finding a king that could make the leaderboard.

And as for the festivities, how about free food and drink all weekend? For Friday’s captains’ party, there will be plenty of pizza, water, and sodas, as well as coolers full of Anheuser Busch products. Then on Sunday for the awards dinner, Wild Wing Café will be putting on one of their wonderful dinner buffets, and Southern Comfort will also be on hand promoting their new Bold Black Cherry flavor.

The entry fees and TWTs are priced to be very affordable. You could probably drink and eat your entry fee’s worth over the course of the weekend, but we know that people also like walking away with cash and prizes. In addition to the strong payouts to the top 10 finishers, we’re also offering 10 special weight prizes (ranging in value from $70-$170).

And yet other incentives include awarding a Betts Nets cast net to every junior angler that weighs in a king (every kid is a winner in our event), as well as prizes to the top Junior, Lady, and Senior anglers.

And standing behind all our efforts and making the event possible is NewBridge Bank and Tex’s Tackle.

Mark Johnson and company at NewBridge Bank want to be a part of the fishing community, and their support makes everything we do possible. NewBridge Bank is also vested in raising money and awareness for our tournament’s beneficiary, the Cape Fear Community College Sea Devil Club, the college’s athletic program.

And where do I start when it comes to thanking Tex? Tex and crew at Tex’s Tackle have supported the newspaper and almost every event we’ve created over our near ten years of existence. They are prominent ambassadors of our local fishing community, and in that spirit they are offering a free king mackerel seminar (hosted by Capt. Jody Gay of Blue Water Candy) on Wednesday, Sept. 19, beginning at 6:00 pm.

For more information about the free king mackerel seminar, you can call Tex’s Tackle at (910) 791-1763. And for more information about the NewBridge Bank Wild King Classic (this year exclusively for boats 23’ and under), you can call (910) 279-1990, send an email to, or visit, click on “Tournaments,” and then the Wild King Classic link.