|Division: 9||Little River, South Carolina||10th ANNUAL RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE||September 28-29, 2012|
The Clearly Hooked Wins the War at the Rumble
Little River, South Carolina – After last year's cold, damp and windy weather, the ninety-one teams participating in the 10th anniversary edition of the Little River Inlet Saltwater Fishing Club's Rumble in the Jungle were treated to a gorgeous sunrise along with calm seas and just a little breeze as they checked out for the Bimini start that would send them speeding toward their chosen destination.
The Clearly Hooked, Austin Eubank's Yamaha powered Contender, headed north from the Shallotte Inlet starting point to fish at the Youpan Reef which has a history of holding big kingfish late in the year and where friends had reported that some decent fish had been caught on Friday. Fishing with Austin were Margaret Pennstrom and John Theodorakis. Austin told me that fishing was really slow early in the day and several other teams had come and gone. All they needed was one good bite, so he and his teammates had made the decision to spend the day fishing at this proven spot in hopes of finding a decent fish to carry to the scales.
Around noon, they were checking their baits. Austin had his reel in free-spool and was dropping a fresh pogie back into their spread when something grabbed it and took off. Fifteen minutes later, Austin had their big king close enough to the boat for John to gaff. With their big fish safely on ice in their fish bag and with smiles on their faces the Clearly Hooked Contender headed back to Harbourgate Marina to weigh their fish.
They arrived back at the marina shortly after the scales opened at 3:00 and were the first boat to weigh. The Clearly Hooked's fish would tip the scales at 38.55 pounds and hold on to lead the Rumble from start to finish. For their efforts, Austin and crew would take home the $10,000 top prize as well as the $1,000 bonus that went to the top finishing single engine boat and Margaret would finish the event as the tournament's Top Lady Angler. This is the third year in a row that a small boat has won the Rumble in the Jungle.
After placing second at the Marshwalk Kingstalk tournament held in Murrells Inlet a couple weeks earlier, Stacy Wester, Contender's National Fishing Teams Manager and the 2011 Top Angler of the Year, along with his teammates, Brian and Andy Justice, would take home the Rumble's second place prize for the 35.71 pound king they caught on the Big Bad Wolf, Yamaha powered Contender. Stacey told me that he has always done well fishing at the Fairway Ledge in October and he had heard rumors that some nice kingfish had been caught there over the last few days, so they made that their first stop. Early in the day, they caught 3 or 4 small kings and a whole lot of sharks and around 11:00 their big fish ate a single pogie fished way back behind their boat. Brian picked up the rod and fought their fish to the boat for Andy to gaff. Soon after, they decided to work their way back to Little River stopping at a couple places including the Youpan Reef where they did find 3 more twenty pound kings.
Stacy would like to thank Derrick Nobles for lending him his Genuine Risk Contender to fish the event as well as to congratulate his Contender teammates for taking home the tournament's top five places as well as two of the three small boat awards at this year's Rumble.
Henry and Wendy Tillett fishing with Clint Richardson and Gage Bass on their Windy Conditions, Yamaha powered Contender sponsored by Henry's Muffler Shops in Raleigh S.C., would take home the Rumble's third place check for the 35.32 pound kingfish that they caught at the Cabbage Patch, just east of the Frying Pan Shoals where they also had previously caught decent fish over the past few Septembers. Fishing was slow and they had only caught a couple of small kings. Around 2:00 in the afternoon, their big fish skyrocketed on the double pogie rig they were pulling in the Contender's propwash. Clint picked up the rod as the fish headed offshore and started what Henry told me was "The longest battle with a kingfish on record." After an hour and a half of long runs and none stop action, they were able to gaff the fish. As it turned out, the king was foul hooked under her dorsal fin and was able to put up one heck of a fight before ending up in the Windy Conditions' fish box. Their fish would also earn fifteen year old Gage a check for $500 and the hand carved kingfish trophy awarded to the Rumble's top junior angler along with another SKA Top Junior Award presented by the Ocean Isle Fishing Center.
Finishing in fourth place was another Yamaha powered Contender, the Yates-Sea skippered by Capt. Dave Yates fishing with his father, David. Because the sea conditions were great, they decided to make the run ninety miles south to the Not So Secret Hole where they had caught a 39 pounder to win the Murrells Inlet event a couple weeks earlier. During their visit there they were able to catch a dozen nice kings including their 33.60 pounder that David, Sr. caught around 11:30, after it ate a big pogie fished in their propwash. Their excitement for the day came around 10:00 when what turned out to be a 58 pound wahoo grabbed a bait and smoked one of their reels. "We thought that we had hooked the winning king because we have fished the Liar's Hole for at least ten years and never seen a wahoo caught there," David said. David's fish would also earn him the $500 prize for being the Rumble's Top Senior Angler.
Fifth place would go home with Jack and Eren Bracewell who fished with Randy Wirth on the Eren's Addiction Too, the Bracewell's Contender sponsored by Mercury Outboards, Contender Boats, Rigid Industries and a whole lot more companies. They also made the run south to their home waters to fish the Not So Secret Hole along with the Yates-Sea and Bob Wiggins and his crew on the Rock Doc. Both Jack and the Miss Jenn IV skipper, Ron Greene have told me many times that there is no better place to fish in South Carolina early and late in the year than this splotch of live bottom. As the Eren's Addiction's designated angler, Eren caught several nice kings including the 33.45 pound fish that ate a pogie at 1:00 in 75 feet of water.
Finishing in sixth place just behind the Bracewells was the Fish Meister, Calabash, North Carolina restaurant mogul Dean Spatholt's brand new Yamaha powered Yellowfin. Fishing with Dean was his son Russell and Chris Blanton. Dean told me that they caught a dozen kings fishing on the east side of the shoals near Cape Lookout. Around 1:00, their 33.16 pound fish ate a pogie fished on the surface in eighty feet of water that he fought to the boat in no time for Chris to gaff.
David Perry's Mercury powered Yellowfin, the MSC, would finish in 7th place with a 32.83 pounder. Fishing with David were Greg Sigmon and Ralph Justice. 8th place went to a non-member team for their 31.66 pound king. The Seahorse Fishing Team, Chad and Amy Morris' Yamaha powered Yellowfin would finish in 9th place for their 30.90 pounder. Also on board were teammates Brian Buff, George Metzgar, Randy Spainhour, James Gunter and junior angler Madison Morris. Phillip Hamilton, Terry Schoenick and Mike Mebane would finish in 10th place with their 30.55 pound fish caught on their Yamaha powered Grady White, the Bud Light.
Taking home the top Small Boat prize was the East Coast Sports, Randall Edens' Yamaha powered Onslow Bay sponsored by East Coast Sports, Onslow Bay Boatworks, Loadmaster Trailers, Garmin Electronics and Yamaha Outboards with George and young Cole Edens on board. Randall told me that they also fished the Fairway Buoy, fifty miles east of Little River where friends had reported catching some good fish earlier in the week. They fished there all day but only caught two kings. Cole, who would wind up as the tournament's third place junior and second place SKA junior, caught their 31.13 around 10:30 after it ate a menhaden fished 30 feet down on a downrigger.
Finishing in second place in the Small Boat Division was the King Hunter, James "Robbie" Roberts' Contender sponsored by Mercury Marine, Bell & Bell GMC and Jimmy's Marine with Tiffany Roberts and Alan Holden on board. Missing from the team was Jeff Lee who passed away unexpectedly this past July. They also fished over the Youpan Reef where they had caught the Rumble's winning fish two years before and where they have caught several top ten fish over the past few years. James told me that he calls the area his "Check Hole". "If I catch a fish there, I get a check," he laughed. Around 2:00, their 26.73 ate a bluefish fished in their propwash. As Alan was fighting the fish, James told me that this eyes filled with tears and his heart felt heavy when he realized that Alan was fighting the king on Jeff's favorite Key Largo Rod and Daiwa Saltist Reel.
The third and final check awarded in the Small Boat Division for a 26.37 pound kingfish, would go to Chip Nifong, Brian Shoenweisner, Morgan Lawson and Kyle Drinkuth who fished on their Yamaha powered Contender, The Reel Buzz.
Many thanks go to Susie, Anita and Donald for making everyone feel at home at the Harbourgate Marina and to the young men and women from the Coastal Carolina Anglers Association for their able assistance with registration and during the weigh-in. Proceeds from their 50/50 raffle will help them send a team to fish the Nationals with Joe Winslow on the Hooligan. I would also like to thank both Mike Rosenquest and Brian Davis for providing the check-out and check-in boats.
I can't say enough good things about the guys and gals from the Little River Inlet Saltwater Fishing Club who put together another great Rumble in the Jungle tournament. Tournament Director, John Gore with lots of help from Ben Montgomery and Trip Jackson sure do a great job. Thank you gentlemen!
Proceeds from the fun event are used to help Horry County's abused children have a nice Christmas and last year's catch provided over 4,300 meals at local food banks and this year's fish will help feed a lot of hungry folks.
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