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Tournament Reports – 2018 Kingfish Cup Championship

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The 2018 Kingfish Cup Championship marked the end of the annual six-month, five-tournament series that pits some of the best king mackerel anglers in North Carolina against each other for the $500,000+ of prize money that is given away over the course of the season. A total of 31 teams qualified for the championship, and 30 of them were able to make it to Ocracoke in early November to compete.

Despite beautiful pre-fishing weather during the week leading up to the tournament, conditions took a turn for the worse on the night before the event was slated to start. The tournament was delayed two days, and when the boats were finally able to leave the docks, the anglers found themselves not only competing with each other, but with 15-20 knot northeast winds.

Capt. Kevin Sneed, of Rigged and Ready, went away from the wind with about 10 other boats, heading south of Ocracoke Inlet to the Weezle Rock. He and his team—which is comprised of Kimber Sneed, Jimmy Stubbs, and Jody Gay—fought 3-5’ swells and weren’t finding any fish to show for it, so they changed course and headed back north to the Potlicker Rock, where they’d heard that the action was a bit better.

The team threw out a top-line pogy and were quickly greeted by a 33 lb. king, which they got in the boat before looking for their second fish. Throughout the day they would bring a mid-teen and mid-twenty pound fish over the rails, but it was the “huge” mullet on their top-line that attracted the attention of a 48 lb. monster.

Jimmy Stubs, Kevin Sneed, and Kimber Sneed holding up one of the kings that was part of the 81 lb. two-fish aggregate weight that won Rigged and Ready the 2018 Kingfish Cup Championship.

“The fish hit another gear,” Gay recalled. He grabbed the reel, and the king ran hard offshore. After a 15 minute battle, though, Kevin Sneed was able to sink the gaff into the fish and get it on the boat, giving Rigged and Ready an 81 lb., two-fish aggregate weight, which was enough to take first place. The team won $127,755.

Second place went to Capt. Brant McMullan, Amy McMullan, and Brayden McMullan, of Team OIFC. They caught a 42 lb. and 24 lb. king for a total of 67 lbs., worth $76,655. Rasta Rocket, which is comprised of Zack Shackleton, Shane Britt, Daniel Blanks, and Stanton McDuffie, caught a 34 lb. and 30 lb. king for a total of 64 lbs., which was enough to win third place and $25,740. The fourth place spot and $25,362 went to Breaking Bad (Gary Pollard, Nesbit Noble, and Austin Aycock) for 59 lbs. worth of king mackerel.

The Kingfish Cup will return in 2019 and will follow the same model as past events with four qualifying events preceding the championship. The Jolly Mon King Classic will be held June 13-16, the East Coast Got Em On Classic will be held July 12-14, the Rumble in the Jungle KMT will be October 11-13, and the Fall Brawl KMT will be held October 25-27. Lastly, the Kingfish Cup Championship will be held November 7-10.

More information can be found at www.kingfishcup.com.