The 41st annual U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament, one of the largest king mackerel tournaments on the East Coast, is set for Oct. 3-5 at Southport Marina.

Whether you’re an angler or love the thrill of a good competition, everyone is invited to come take part in this fun event.

The U.S. Open is part of the SKA (Southern Kingfish Association) Tournament Trail and in 2018, the tournament attracted 432 boats and paid out over $280,000.

The overall 2018 tournament winner was Capt. Dieter Cardwell, Mike Lundy, Kevin Alley, Ole and Alex Ferm from Winston-Salem fishing aboard TideLine. Their total winnings were $108,216.

Fishing is held Oct. 4-5 at the Southport Marina, with registration on Thursday, October 3, from 10 a.m. until midnight. The first 425 boats registered will receive one Just Rigs Bag. 

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. There are also 41 sponsors and 36 more who add supplementary cash prizes to the event. 

During the awards ceremony October 5, the Junior Angler Medals, sponsored by Dutchman Creek Bait and Tackle, are presented to all

See U.S. Open, page 11A

Junior Anglers (children age 14 and under) who have participated in the tournament. In addition, the Junior Anglers will compete for Junior Angler Aggregate Cash Prizes.

 If you don’t fish, still come out and join the fun and entertainment on both Thursday and Saturday night. On Thursday night, catch The Big House Band from 4 to 7 p.m. playing rock, blues, country and oldies. Island Fever will take the stage Saturday night from 4:30 to 7 p.m. with a variety of favorite tunes.

On Saturday, food will be available for purchase from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from the Island Eatery Food Truck and adult beverages will also be available daily.

If you can’t make it to the tournament, make sure you check out streaming weigh-ins at the scales live from the tournament on Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. Pick up the link to the live feed at

 Friday morning from 7 to 9 a.m. is a great time to watch the excitement as the boats rush to checkout from the Cape Fear River, Little River Inlet, Holden Beach Marina, Masonboro Inlet, Sunset Harbor Wildlife Ramp and Snows Cut.

The action gets really exciting between 3 and 4 p.m. when the boats line up to weigh in at Southport Marina before the scales close. Saturday’s fishing will be over at 4 p.m. with the awards ceremony held at 7 p.m.

Tournament details are available online at For a brochure, contact the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce, located at 4433 Long Beach Road, SE, Southport, at 910-457-5787 or (800) 457-6964, or at