42nd Anniversary U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament Awards over $361,000 in Cash
The 42nd Annual U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament was held October 1st – 3rd at the Dutchman Creek Park.
It attracted it’s second largest turnout with 521 boats from over 10 states. Anglers competed for over $361,000 in cash prizes, which included an additional $16,320 added to the prizes by the tournament Board because of the large turnout.
Top honors for their 38.85-pound king mackerel went to Captain Andy Broadwell from Southport, NC aboard the “Nauti Lady”. For their efforts they received $80,506; 2nd place went to Captain Tracy Aman from Southport, NC on the “Sling N’ Bait” for their 37.75 pound king, and 3rd place honors and $85,382 went to Captain D Logan, aboard “Logan’s Run” from Belville, NC for their 36.60-pound king. Anglers could add to their winnings by entering additional prize categories, hence the difference in the posted prizes and the actual checks.
The crew aboard the Nauti Lady included Heather & Chad Phelps, Kyland Phelps, Camden Phelps, Adam Broadwell, Lauren Broadwell and the Broadwell children Fisher, Lily, & Garrison who make the 4th generation of Broadwell’s who have fished the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament.
The Southport Marina hosted the tournament for over 40 years but after sustaining damage during Hurricane Isaias, tournament officials made plans to hold the event at Dutchman Creek Park.
Before the tournament could be held at the park, tournament officials worked with Brunswick County Parks & Recreation officials to secure permits which would allow temporary dockage. American Marine Construction assisted by providing a barge for offloading, Rusty Hooks Dockside Grill provided a location for anglers to re-board their boats after weighing in, the Brunswick County Sheriff Office provided traffic control on the water and the Town of Oak Island provided Bill Smith Park for the Drive Thru Packet Pickup/Registration.
U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament officials found a new location, implemented social distancing protocols, eliminated spectators and large group gatherings such as the Captain’s Meeting and Awards Ceremony and held drive-thru Packet Pickup and Registration. “It was not our usual tournament but, in many aspects, it was the same quality event that organizers had hoped for 42 years ago ” said Karen Sphar, Executive Vice President of the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce. She continued by saying “There were challenges caused by Hurricane Isaias and COVID-19 but the community came together to make sure the tournament could go on safely and, in the end, the 2020 U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament will go down in the record books.”
The U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament is one of the largest king mackerel tournaments on the East Coast and has a $2 million-dollar economic impact.
The Tournament, an event of the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce, is held annually the first week in October. The all cash guaranteed prize structure that is not based on participation numbers.
Tournament results are available on the website, www.usopenkmt.com, video of the weigh-ins can be found at www.usopenkmt.com or photos from the weekend are available at U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament Facebook page.
Main Photo by Zeb Starnes: (L-R) Heather Phelps, Chad Phelps, Camden Phelps, Lily Broadwell, Fisher Broadwell, Captain Andy Broadwell, Adam Broadwell, Lauren Broadwell, Garrison Broadwell and in the front row 38.85 pound king mackerel.