Fishing Is Not Cancelled

by Sep 15, 2020Nonprofits, South Brunswick, Southport Oak Island

The 42nd Annual U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament is happening October 1 to 3.

The U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament, one of the largest king mackerel tournaments on the East Coast and part of the SKA (Southern Kingfish Association) Tournament Trail, is a longtime annual tradition in Southport, and despite COVID-19 it’s happening again this year.

But due to COVID-19 restrictions in addition to damage at the tournament’s home base, Southport Marina, in Hurricane Isaias, organizers with the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce have implemented changes this year.

“We do not take this action lightly, but as with most sporting events around the world, we must take action to protect our participants, spectators and volunteers from COVID-19,” says Tournament Director Karen Sphar.

Above photos by Zeb Starnes and John Muuss

Changes to the 2020 tournament include:
– A new location: Brunswick County’s Dutchman Creek Park.
– There will be no spectators at the tournament headquarters, including family members of participants. will stream weigh-ins at the scales LIVE from the tournament on Friday from 2 to 5 pm and Saturday from 2 to 4 pm. You can pick up the link to the live feed at
– Weigh-in requirements include face coverings, 6’ distance in line, only one representative from each boat allowed in the tent as well as other precautions.
– Tournament merchandise is available at for pre-ordering.
– No merchandise, food or beer will be available for purchase at the tournament headquarters
– Awards Ceremony will be held virtually at beginning at 7:30 pm on October 3. The top three overall winning teams and the top super high roller team will be presented their checks live with the other prize monies to be mailed. The final standings will be posted later at

In 2019, the tournament attracted 496 boats and paid out more than $322,000. 2019 Tournament winners Captain Robert Carr, crew Dave Clem Joshua Carr and Jeffrey Masnick aboard Nauti-Edition III saw $42,723 in winnings.

The tournament has an all-cash guaranteed prize structure that is not based on participation numbers. It pays 55 places in its primary prize category including $25,000 for the largest king mackerel. More than 100 cash prizes total more than $100,000. There are 36 sponsors such as Primary Sponsor Southport Marina and Grand Patron sponsors BEMC, Dutchman Creek Bait & Tackle and Garmin, with 32 more who add supplementary cash prizes to the event.

Two notable prizes include the Daily Aggregate Weight Prizes, Senior Angler and Junior Angler Awards. The Daily Aggregate Weight Prizes are sponsored by Sea//Tow and Dosher Memorial Hospital. Each day a $1,000 Aggregate Prize will be given to the boat that catches the most poundage from combining the weights from two or three fish. The Aggregate Prize will be part of the Primary Prize Category.


42nd Annual U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament
October 1
Registration 10 am to 9 pm
Bill Smith Park, 4407 Fish Factory Road, Oak Island
Virtual Captain’s Meeting – 7 pm

October 2 & 3
Fishing and Live Streaming Weigh-In

October 3
Virtual Awards Ceremony 7:30 pm

Southport-Oak Island Chamber of Commerce
(910) 457-5787 or (800) 457-6964

Header Photo by Zeb Starnes