Archive for the ‘Old News’ Category

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

By Mike Marsh

NCPAF, Inc. Raises $1325.60 and OIFC Repeats Winner at Brunswick Islands Saltwater Classic

Hurricane Earl pushed back the 2010 Brunswick Islands Saltwater Classic Tournament from its originally scheduled dates of Aug. 27-28 to Sept. 10-11. Last year, the tournament was also delayed, but only for one day, because of another hurricane’s near miss. But the big surprise in terms of repeats was not the weather delay, but in the tournament’s winner. For the second year in a row, The Ocean Isle Fishing Center team won first place in the king mackerel division and was again the first boat to weigh-in a fish.

Capt. Brant McMullan, the team captain, was also the angler. His father Rube McMullan handled the gaff. Other team members included Brant’s 5-year-old daughter, Caroline, who won the youth angler prize for the fish, and Chris Eckert.

“We were fishing in 110 feet of water about 47 miles offshore,” Rube McMullan said. “I drove the boat while Brant fought the fish. When the fish hit, it was burning it down so we knew it was a big king.”

The OIFC team was fishing in deep water, where wahoo are also present. Therefore, Rube McMullan initially thought the big fish could be a wahoo.

“When we got over the fish and could see it down deep in the water,” he said. “As it got higher in the water, we could see green, so then we knew it was a king. It circled one time and I hit it with the gaff. I called for help and Brant put down the rod to help me get it in the boat.”
            Eckert is usually the angler, but he was busy with another fish. That fish struck a menhaden fished deep on a downrigger. Rube McMullan was reeling in a line that just had its rig cut off by another fish, leaving only Brant McMullan to available to grab the rod with the winning king mackerel. Eckert also caught his fish, but it only weighed in the low 20s. The team also caught landed four other kings.

“My kids grew up fishing with me,” Rube McMullan said. “Every parent dreams about their kids leaving them in the dust. I’ve seen that happen and it’s a great feeling.”

The winning king mackerel weighed 43.14 pounds and brought in total cash winnings for the OIFC team of $12,200. Last year, the same team’s winning fish weighed 29.11 pounds. Besides bigger king mackerel, more of them were caught this year than last year, with a total of 23 kings brought to the scales.

In the redfish category, Darin Strickland and Todd Streeter of the Long Bay Boatworks team weighed in two fish. Strickland’s fish, a 5.35-pounder, took first place and Streeter’s 4.04-pounder took second place.

“We were fishing in the lower Cape Fear River,” Streeter said. “We fished on the rising tide and caught a few fish. Then we had to put the Power Pole down because we had to sit there and wait for two or three hours for the tide to fall again. We were fishing a place where the water was falling out of a marsh gut. Eventually, the falling water brought the bait and the fish back out again.”

“We culled out 16 fish to get our two and both were in the 24-inch range,” Strickland said. “We were using Skitter Walk topwater lures and Berkley Gulp Jerk Shad soft baits. We could see the fish and cast to them as they swam by.”

Terry Adkins of Bluewater Promotions again organized the tournament. Adkins’ company promotes nine king saltwater tournaments from Florida to North Carolina every year. This year’s Classic was hosted for the second year in a row at South Harbour Village Marina at Oak Island in support of the North Carolina Public Access Foundation, Inc, a non-profit organization founded to save and enhance public access, especially ocean fishing piers and boat ramps.

NCPAF, Inc. volunteers included board members Capt. Jerry Dilsaver, Justin Marsh and Mike Marsh. Other volunteers included Taylor Ryan, Carol Cini, Luther Dishman, Vince Gubey, John Schneider, Jim Knight and Jeff Todd. For more information, visit www.ncpaf.com.

Total proceeds from the tournament to NCPAF, Inc. were $1,325.60. The NCPAF, Inc. Board of Directors will determine the distribution of the proceeds for public access needs. 

Brunswick Islands Saltwater Classic Tournament Winners (General King Mackerel Category, Top Ten Winners):

1. Ocean Isle Fishing Center         43.14

2. Rollin Out                                      35.53

3. Liquid Fire                                     29.91

4. Reel Buzz                                     28.08

5. The Seahorse                              27.47

6. Final Approach                            26.27

7. C-Sick                                            23.44

8. Top Choice                                   22.94

9. N 2 Deep                                       21.36

10. Grace                                           19.87

Co-Chairman Al Baird Raises Funds For NCPAF.

Monday, June 7th, 2010

To raise money for NCPAF, Inc. Co-chairman Al Baird decided to participate in the Belk Charity Day, which was held on May 1, 2010. Tickets to the event were pre-sold at the Cape Fear Wildlife Expo booth on March 22-23, 2010. The booth was hosted by Mike and Carol Marsh and Al. The tickets cost $5 each and allowed buyers to purchase items not normally discounted at bargain prices on the day of the Belk Charity Day.

Dog Days Tournament

Monday, May 24th, 2010

These images are from the NCPAF, Inc. Dog Days Tournament, which raised $1518.50 for the purchase of Yaupon Pier by Oak Island.

Dogfish Tournament

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Photos from the 2010 NCPFS Dogfish Tournament held Jan. 30 at Johnnie Mercer’s Pier in Wrightsville Beach, NC. NCPAF, Inc. donated the trophies, courtesy of NCPFS founder and NCPAF, Inc. co-founder, Al Baird.

Boat Ramp Progress

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Pender County Boat Ramp Progress

A final deal was reached between Lewis Road property owner David Greer and the Pecan Grove Plantation Homeowner’s Association that allows construction of a much-needed boat ramp in Pender County to move forward.

The Lewis Road Ramp project was blocked by a lawsuit claiming the homeowner’s association’s water access easement would be diminished in value if a public boating access area were to be built on adjoining property. The lawsuit caused a delay that resulted in the loss of a$3 million state grant. But another $2.8 million grant became available.

Erik Christofferson, head of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Division of Engineering Services said he was happy the property sale was moving forward. He said Lewis Road Ramp is very important because it will provide a public access to the coastal waters between the ramps located in Surf City and Wrightsville Beach, which are a long distance apart.

New, New Hanover County Ramp

In New Hanover County, a new county park opened that will provide power boaters and paddlers with a vital public access point in the southern part of the county. Trails End Park, located at the end of Trails End Road off Masonboro Loop Road, has been in development for months and is a joint project between the county and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

The park has an access ramp for small motorboats and kayaks as well as a fishing dock. The county bought the Trails End property, the site of a former restaurant, for $4 million. The Commission designed and built the ramp and turned the facility over to the county.

It was not an easy project, with the access road claimed as private property by a homeowner’s association. Whether the state-maintained road that had always provided public access could be used to build a boat ramp was therefore in dispute.

The Commission solved the problem by building a boat ramp on its property immediately adjoining the state road right-of-way. The park is operated and maintained by New Hanover County and will be open 24 hours a day.

While the issue of placing a ramp at the old Trails End Steakhouse site was contentious, NCPAF, Inc. Chairman Mike Marsh requested Gordon Myers, Erik Christofferson and others in the N.C. Wildlife Commission’s Division of Engineering Services agreed to meet him at the site before the county had purchased the property.

Gordon Myers has since been promoted to Executive Director of the N.C. Wildlife Commission and Erik Christofferson is now the Chief of the Division of Engineering Services. Myers is also now on the NCPAF, Inc. board of directors. But the onsite meeting Marsh requested was the first time Commission personnel had heard of the property and they agreed to help with the project if possible.

While the homeowner’s association claims to the road delayed the project, Mike Marsh visited the property and through a cell phone conversation with Wildlife Commissioner Steve Windham, who is now the Chairman of the Commission, stood on the exact spot describing how the future boat ramp could be permitted and located. The action ensured continuing involvement by the Commission.

Marsh’s years of designing subdivisions and waterfront infrastructure paid off and the boat ramp was permitted and built on that very spot. NCPAF, Inc. was only in the formation stage at the time, working its way through the review process for non-profit corporations at the state and federal level. But NCPAF, Inc. but became a reality shortly thereafter. Even before it NCPAF, Inc. was up and running as a non-profit, its members were working hard to secure the public’s access to public waters.

The Trails End Park is only one example of how a few dedicated individuals, working together, can achieve monumental goals. Before the Trails End Ramp project was completed, it was thought that another boat ramp would never become available in New Hanover County, which is home to two of the most crowded ramps in the state at Snow’s Cut and Wrightsville Beach. The Trails End ramp is located between them and also provides public access to the ICW.

But most of the thanks goes to New Hanover County and its voters, who passed a parks bond referendum that provided much of funding to pay for the property purchase and to the dedication of county officials who saw the project through to its completion.

People had been using the end of Trails End Road for water access for decades and there was no parking except at the restaurant’s parking lot and along the state road right-of-way. Complaints of blocked driveways and other infractions were frequent. Now there is generous parking log and a concrete ramp, as well as a fishing pier open for public use, thanks to a group of individuals, state and county agencies working together.

For locations of all Commission boating access areas, visit www.ncwildlifelorg.

Donations from NCPAF, INC. to the Oak Island Pier

Friday, February 12th, 2010

NCPAF, Inc. supporters have raised a total of $3,655.99 for Town of Oak Island’s public access needs, including:

$1518.50 donated to Oak Island’s Save the Pier Fund by the 2008 NCPAF, Inc. Dog Days Tournament.

$100.00 donated to the Save The Pier Fund at the 2009 Oak Island Pier Grand Opening raised through a single donor .

$2037.49 donated to the Save The Pier Fund and to Oak Island’s boat ramps raised by the 2009 NCPAF, Inc. Brunswick Islands Saltwater Classic.