Tournament Report – Got-Em-On Classic
The East Coast Got-Em-On Classic King Mackerel Tournament is a Carolina Beach fishing event with a history as long as its name. This year marked the tournament’s 39th year, and 227 boats showed up to celebrate and compete. There were a lot of ways to win, as 56 boats ended up collecting some amount of prize money, but the main goal of every angler was to get the biggest payout by finding, hooking, and landing the biggest king mackerel in the waters west of Cape Lookout Shoals and north of Georgetown, SC.
The tournament lasted two days, and while a plethora of beautiful kings were caught, “Team Wilmington Auto” secured the top spot and $42,676 (including TWTs) for a 40.72 lb. fish. Coming in a very close second and third place was “Solid Surface” and “Rigged & Ready.” Andy Nettles, of “Solid Surface,” brought in a 39.59 lb. king and $23,336 (including TWTs), while Kevin Sneed, of “Rigged & Ready,” won $6,175 (including TWTs) thanks to his team’s 39.16 lb. fish.
While the runners-up came close, nobody could top “Team Wilmington Auto” who was the first team to weigh in a fish during the tournament.
Also known as the “Mercury Pro Team,” the trio comprised of Capt. Ron Sutton, Tim Westbrook, and Robbie Roberts hooked their 40.72 lb. winner (one of ten kings total) in 70’ of water off of Oak Island while trolling menhaden.
“The flatline went off,” Sutton recalls, “and [Tim] jumps up and hands me the rod.”
The king took the bait and hightailed it as all the boat’s other lines were quickly cleared. Sutton added that after fifteen minutes of fighting, “The fish tried to go under the boat, and Robbie started backing… She wanted to stay down there. I worked her up.”
Robbie continued backing through rough 6-7’ seas, never letting the fish get more than a quarter of a way under the boat. After another twenty minutes of fighting, Sutton said the big king “popped up enough for Robbie to hit her with the gaffer.”
Sutton is no stranger to the Got-Em-On Classic, and actually won the event back in 1996. He has fished it, and many other king tournaments up and down the coast, ever since (only missing it once).
The East Coast Got-Em-On Classic King Mackerel Tournament is a joint partnership of the Carolina and Kure Beach Fire Departments, as well as the Got-Em-On Live Bait Club. Proceeds benefit each of the three organizations, and Got-Em-On uses the funds to support scholarships in the marine studies fields at UNCW and Cape Fear Community College.