U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament to reel in fishermen for 43rd year

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In 2018, top honors for their 37.2-pound king mackerel went to Captain Dieter Cardwell from Winston-Salem, NC aboard “Tide Line”. (Photo: U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament)

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — One of the largest king mackerel tournaments on the East Coast is returning to Southport in a few weeks.

The 43rd Annual U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament will be Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 at Brunswick County’s Dutchman Creek Park at 4750 Fish Factory Road.

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The event will be held rain or shine. Optimal viewing time for the tournament is from 2-5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1 and 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2.

Spectator parking will be available in the Shoreline Baptist Church parking lot located at 4198 Vanessa Dr. SE.

Virtual viewing of the weigh-in is available here.

Food vendors will be onsite throughout the tournament. SeaDogs will sell hot dogs, drinks and chips beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday and Friday, and Wallace Catering will sell a variety of foods throughout the day Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.

Live entertainment will also be available. Thursday, Sept. 30, Salty Dawgs will take the stage from 4-7 p.m. Featuring an eclectic mix of rock, blues, funk, country and pop from the 60s through the 2000s, this local band will keep the crowd dancing throughout the evening. Saturday, Oct. 2, beginning at 4 p.m. the stage will feature Parlay, a local band with an extensive song catalog from the 80s, 90s and 2000s. With years of musical experience playing in various bands, gigs, and community shows, Parlay brings a memorable performance every time.

The tournament awards ceremony will follow Parlay at 7:30 p.m.

In 2020, the tournament attracted 521 boats and paid out over $359,775. 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.

For more information about the tournament visit here.

In 2020, no spectators were allowed due to COVID-19 and with the Southport Marina still under repair from Hurricane Isaias damage, officials moved the tournament to Dutchman Creek Park and created a temporary dock with the help of American Marine Construction.