US Open King Mackerel Tournament
Amidst a leaderboard full of big fish, William McCann, Sr. and the “McAttack” fishing team rose to the top, scaling a huge 47.20 lb. king mackerel to earn first place and over $60,000 in the 2012 U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament. An amazing total of 36 fish over 30 lbs. were weighed in at Southport Marina during the event, held October 4-6.
Fishing aboard a 25’ Sea Hunt Gamefish, McCann, of Henderson, NC, his son William McCann, Jr., and Whalon Huff teamed up for the event, and the anglers did some preparation in the week leading up to the tournament.
“We came down Sunday afternoon the weekend before,” McCann, Jr. explained. “We planned to fish that entire week, but Monday and Thursday were the only days we were able to get out with the weather.”
“We knew we could always fish Southport and Yaupon,” McCann continued, “so we wanted to get out on the north side of the shoals around Wrightsville and Carolina Beach to explore.”
On Thursday, the anglers’ exploration paid off, as they found plenty of bait and some hungry king mackerel off Carolina Beach around the 30/30 area. They didn’t land any huge fish, but the amount of life in the area brought them back for the competition.
“Our sounder went out on Friday,” McCann said, “so we decided to stick it out where we knew there was bait and fish.”
Friday’s fishing produced more kings, but a 21-pounder was all they could bring to the scales. Still, a combination of clean water, plenty of bait, and no depth sounder brought them back to the 30/30 for Saturday’s fishing.
More teenager king mackerel and sharks were all they found for the majority of the morning, but a 50 lb. wahoo they hooked shortly before lunch was evidence that some big fish were in the area.
“That was a heartbreaker,” McCann said. “We just knew it was a huge king. Any other time you’d be thrilled to catch a wahoo 15 miles off the beach.”
Around 1:00, their luck changed. A double strike led to king hookups for both McCanns, and it quickly became apparent whose fish was the biggest.
“Mine ran and kind of stopped,” McCann said, “but Dad’s fish boogied on out. It took over 400 yards of line within two minutes. We decided to focus on that one.”
The anglers followed their fish until they finally got a look at it.
“I saw color and knew it was a king,” McCann explained. “Then I got a look at it and I knew it would get us on the leaderboard.”
Shortly thereafter, Huff was able to plant a gaff in the mackerel, and he and McCann brought it aboard.
“We really didn’t know it was as big as it was,” he continued, “but we put it in the king bag and it stretched the length of it. I said it might be bigger than we think—it’s the same size as the wahoo.”
After icing the fish down, the “McAttack” anglers headed for Southport and the scales.
“We had a Boga Grip on the boat, and it was bouncing around 48 lbs.,” McCann said. “I told them there was a good possibility we’d win or at least be in the top three then.”
When the scales closed, the fish fended off their nearest competition by over a pound, and the “McAttack” were crowned the 2012 U.S. Open Champions.
A 45.90 lb. king mackerel secured second place in the tournament for Gregory Battle. Eugene Ritch, Jr. and the “Sea P A/OIFC” crew earned third with a 44.10 lb. fish.
More information on the U.S. Open and full results from the event are available at www.usopenkmt.com.