prize structure adds to the enjoyment of the event.


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The organizational meeting for Captains will be held on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at Southport Marina.


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2017 Tournament Dates:

October 5th - October 7th


For more information follow the above links or contact:


Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce,  

4433 Long Beach Road, SE, Southport, NC 28461



800-457-6964 or

(910) 457-5787





Revised 08/03/2016


The organizational meeting for Captains will be held on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at Southport Marina, tournament headquarters. It is strongly advised that all captains attend this meeting, as any rule changes or necessary clarifications will be announced at the meeting.




1. Each boat in tournament competition will receive an entry number and shall display that number in a manner which will make it easily identifiable during competition hours.

2. Tournament officials will monitor VHF 68 during competition hours. VHF 16 is to be kept open for emergency calls and Coast Guard assistance. Tournament boats wishing to contact other boats will call on VHF 68 then switch to an open working ship to ship channel (6-69-70-71-72).

3. The eligible species for competition purposes is king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla).

4. Tournament competition limited to motorized boats only.

5. This is a sporting event.  There shall be no more than six lines fished from any boat. All fish must be taken on a rod and reel. No boat lines or electric reels will be allowed. Downriggers, outriggers and kites will be permitted as fishing line carriers only.


6. There is no restriction as to the number of people allowed aboard each boat during competition hours.

7. The tournament committee reserves the right to inspect any boat entered in competition, including an on board inspection.

8. The tournament committee reserves the right to refuse an entry into the tournament.


9. The tournament committee reserves the right to place a tournament representative on any entrant's boat during competition for the purpose of observation.

10. A captain may enter one boat only in the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament. The boat entered must be the boat fished throughout the tournament. Replacement boats may not be entered for any reason after 7:00 am on the first day of the tournament competition (September 30, 2016).


11. Information entered on the registration form is official and any changes must be initialed by participant.




1. On tournament days, competition hours are 7am until 5pm on Friday, September 30th and 7am until 4pm on Saturday, October 1st.

2. Boundaries. All boats must remain within boundaries during fishing hours. All boats also must remain within the boundaries while catching bait. Boundaries are bordered on the north by a straight line through the New River sea buoy and extending through the intersection of 34o00'00" N and 76o00'00" W (Magnetic 125o ). These waters will be bordered on the south by a straight line through the Murrell's inlet sea buoy and extending through 32o30'00" N and 78o00'00" W (Magnetic 148o ). Note: Boats will be allowed to use any navigable inlet from New River Inlet south to and including Murrell's inlet.

3. Check-Out. We plan to have check-outs at these locations pending any closures. Actual check-out locations will be announced during the Captain's meeting. Once check-out is completed, the entrant can proceed off-shore. Entrants must check-out in order to be eligible for competition that particular day. All competing boats must check out at the NC Baptist Assembly Fishing Pier, Masonboro Inlet, Snows Cut, Lockwood Folly Inlet, or Little River. Check-out points will be manned from 7am until 9am each day; boats checking out after 9am must do so with designated officials at Southport Marina. It is the responsibility of the entrant to see that visual check-out in order to be eligible for competition that particular day.

4. Two or more boats congregating during competition hours shall be disqualified from competition that particular day. Emergency exceptions to this rule must be approved by radio contact with the tournament committee in advance.


5. All boats must observe no-wake zones or be disqualified from competition that particular day.


6. IN BOUND boat traffic on the Western Bar Cut off Caswell Beach during peak Check-Out - Refrain from coming into the Cape Fear River using the Western Bar Cut between 6:45am-7:30am on Friday and Saturday. It will be the policy of the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament that boats that do not adhere to this suggestion will be sent to the end of the check-out line to await check-out.



1. The weigh-in station will be located under a tent at the Southport Marina. Entrants wishing to weigh fish for competition must proceed to the weigh-in station immediately after off-loading at the designated off-loading docks.  Those wishing to weigh-in fish between 11am-4pm on Friday, September 30th and 11am-3pm on Saturday, October 1st should proceed directly to the Southport Marina.  To be eligible to weigh fish after 4pm on Friday and 3pm on Saturday you must first check-in at one of the designated check-in points - NC Baptist Assembly @ Fort Caswell Fishing Pier or South Harbour Marina Gas dock, ICW then immediately proceed to the off-loading docks at Southport Marina.  Entrants with fish to weigh must be in the check-in line by 5pm on Friday and 4pm on Saturday. The check-in points will close once all the boats have passed that were in the line by 5pm on Friday and 4pm on Saturday. Only those boats wishing to weigh-in fish need to check-in.


2. It is the sole responsibility of the crew aboard each boat to off-load and present its catch for weighing. Crews should have their fish ready for off-loading; there is a 60 second limit on the time a boat can spend at the off-loading dock. A crew member must accompany fish to the weigh station.


3. All fish must be brought to the tournament headquarters by boats catching same under its own power. Fish cannot be transported over land.

4. A signed, sworn affidavit will be required of each individual who places a fish in competition for tournament prizes.

5. A marine biologist will be present during the tournament for the purpose of advising the Weight and Fish Certification Committee. Each fish presented for prize competition will undergo scrutiny by the marine biologist.

6. All king mackerel submitted for weigh-in must be in fresh, edible condition and caught during the fishing hours that tournament day. No mutilated fish will be accepted for weigh-in. Mutilation is defined as any damage which may impair the fish's fighting ability.  No frozen fish will be accepted for weigh-in under any circumstances. Attempted weight alteration of any fish automatically disqualifies the boat from the tournament (alterations such as inserted weights, ice, water, bait fish, etc.).


7. The Weight and Fish Certification Committee shall immediately notify an angler of any questionable fish submitted for weigh-in. This Committee shall immediately determine eligiblity. The angler may then petition the Protest Committee for a final ruling (see #8 Protest Procedures).  If a fish is determined ineligible after being weighed, all fish weighed by that entrant will be disqualified and the entrant will not be eligible to continue competing in that year's tournament. 


8. All protests concerning the Weight and Fish Certification Committee rulings and/or determination of tournament prize winners shall be made to the tournament Protest Committee and shall be accompanied by $500 cash.  All protests shall be made no later than one hour after the last fish has been weighed. In the event that a protest is upheld by the Protest Committee, the $500 cash will be returned. In the event that the protest is not upheld, the $500 cash will become the property of the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament. All decisions made by the Protest Committee shall be final.

9. A boat entry can only win one Primary Prize. The entrant does remain eligible to win Secondary Prizes with the same fish or additional fish. Fish weights will be entered in an on-site computer. Each fish will be entered in the appropriate category of competition so as to assure the angler of the greatest prize earnings.

10.  In the event that two or more king mackerel are the same weight, the winner shall be determined by the earliest weigh-in time.

11. All prize winners may be subject to a polygraph test. Polygraph tests may be administered randomly among the top 10 places. It is the responsibility of the Captain and crew to make themselves available the hour following the closing of the scales on Saturday. Awarding of prizes will be contingent on passing the polygraph test.

12. The winning fish and all fish entered become the exclusive property of the tournament committee.




Competition days will be September 30th and October 1st, with captain’s choice both days. There will be NO REFUNDS except for the following two situations: 1) if a pre-registered captain, due to unavoidable circumstances, finds it impossible to participate in the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament and notifies the tournament committee at least 24 hours prior to the beginning of competition, the captain may be issued a rain check good for the amount of the tournament entry fee that year. The angler will then have a choice to transfer 100% of their TWT fees to the next year’s tournament or have them refunded minus a 15% non-refundable administration fee.  2) in the event the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament is canceled by its governing board prior to the beginning of competition the angler will have a choice to apply 100% of the entry & TWT fees to the next year’s tournament or receive a refund of 90% of the entry & TWT fees paid. In the event that questions or situations arise the directors shall determine all solutions, and their decisions shall be final. No participant aggrieved by any ruling of the Rules Committee or any tournament official shall recover from U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament, its officers, directors, sponsors, owners and employees in any forum a sum exceeding his registration fee.




It is the policy of the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament to promote conservation of the species in every way possible. To that end, contestants in the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament are required to abide by the three-fish-per-angler bag limit imposed by the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council. The U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament strongly encourages the release of those fish that are not to be entered in competition. The release of fish should be in keeping with the best conservation methods to insure continued life.


At the request of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament will accept no king mackerel less than 30 inches in length. Tournament will accept no more than THREE fish from any boat on any tournament day.




The responsibility of adhering to all US Coast Guard, NC Wildlife and NC Marine Fisheries regulations and requirements is the obligation of the Captain and crew. The Captain and crews are also responsible for carrying appropriate general liability insurance. 

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