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Sneads Ferry King Mackerel Tournament

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The 26th annual Sneads Ferry Rotary Club’s King Mackerel Tournament wrapped up in 2017 with over $40,000 in cash and prizes being awarded to the participating teams. First place and top prize was secured by Team Salty Daze, consisting of Jody, Christy, and Logan Staley, and their good friend Todd Holt. The team, based out of Ocean Isle Marina and Yacht Club, bested the rest of the field by weighing in a near-40 lb. king.

Jody Staley stated that the team’s day started the same as he expects everyone else’s did, “Bait was extremely hard to see and even harder to catch in the breezy white cap conditions.”

After a bit of frustration, Christy Staley and Todd Holt managed to land two dozen large pogies after some trial and error with their 12’ cast net.

“We didn’t have as much bait as we would have liked,” stated Jody, “but time is a factor in this game. We headed towards Beaufort Inlet and were greeted by 8 foot swells that we had to pick our way through to reach open ocean.”

After fighting the swells, the team pointed their 23T Cape Horn east towards the Cape Lookout shoals and set course.

Once they made it to their chosen area, the team started slow trolling multiple lines rigged with live bait, but the team had to wait until the afternoon for a king mackerel to make a big run.

“Around 2:00 the big girl made our short outside line sing,” remembered Jody. “My wife took control of fighting the fish, while Logan and I cleared the remaining lines. We knew she was a good one, so I positioned the boat for the chase.”

The fish took two strong runs, stripping hundreds of yards of 20 lb. mono from the Siegler reels that the team prefers to use. Then the king doubled back and ran straight at the boat.

“The fish came out the opposite side,” added Jody, “and Christy and Todd worked together to work the line off a trim tab while dancing around the remaining lines. I was concerned about the line being frayed and weakened, but my wife calmly said, ‘Don’t worry, that line is already back on the reel’.”

Processing his wife’s statement, he knew the fish was about to be within range for the gaff. The first time the fish popped up, it was out of gaff range, but the team now knew by sight that this was a big king mackerel. After a few more short runs, Holt had another shot with the gaff, and this time the king came over the rails.

“When Todd Holt uses two hands to pull a fish on board,” smiled Jody, “you know you got a good one. I stepped out from under the T-Top and looked straight up into heaven and said, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ After a few hugs, hollers, and high fives, we packed up and headed towards New River Marina.”

Team Salty Daze, consisting of Jody, Christy, Logan Staley and Todd Holt, with their first place king mackerel in the Sneads Ferry King Mackerel Tournament. The king weighed in at 39.38 lbs.


Two hours later, the team arrived and the announcement was immediately made that Team Salty Daze had taken first place.

“The thirty minute wait for the tournament to end seemed like it lasted forever. We traveled 209 miles that day and spent 118 gallons of fuel in 16 hours of fishing, but it all paid off. We have fished many king mackerel tournaments together, but the Sneads Ferry Rotary Club has our thanks for putting together the most organized tournament that still holds its small-town feeling.”

Team Salty Daze took home a check for over $13,000 after taking 1st Overall, 1st Junior Angler, 1st Lady Angler, and 1st TWT with their 39.38 lb. king.

Team Compensating took second place with a 34.29 lb. fish, and third place went to Team Reel Methods with their 31.00 lb. king.

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