Got ‘Em On King Mackerel Classic tournament held in Carolina Beach

Big fish bring big prizes at the Got ‘Em On King Mackerel Classic Tournament.
Published: Aug. 7, 2022 at 5:55 PM EDT

CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Big fish bring big prizes at the Got ‘Em On King Mackerel Classic Tournament.

Held in Carolina Beach for more than 40 years, the history of the tournament is rich.

Back in the 1970′s VHF radios off the coast of Carolina Beach would scream “Got ‘Em On,” an indication a fisher had caught a big one. That saying stuck with the community and became a staple, as well as the name of the tournament.

Fast forward to the weekend of August 6th-7th, it is still being held, with an just about 200 boats entering in every year. This year, they shattered the record with 245 boats entering to win the top prize of $20,000.

Got ‘Em On Live Bait Club, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach Fire Departments fund and host the event every year. Becki Heffner, treasurer of the Live Bait Club says the proceeds from this tournament have always gone back into the organizations that host it.

“The big point of it is, that it benefits those two (Fire Departments) as well as Got ‘Em On in this community. Every dime we make from this goes back into Carolina Beach at some point” said Heffner.

“Back in the day, it was just really hard to come up with funds, you couldn’t get a new fire truck or whatever, right. So that money going back there. And then for the Got ‘Em On club, specifically, it is our biggest fundraiser.” said Heffner.

When it comes to the fish that got put on the scales, Joey Crisp- Captain of Wee Doggie says he struck gold in the water early Sunday Morning.

“It was it was our biggest fish of the year so far. Very excited. Extremely.” said Crisp.

Crisp lugged his 43 pound fish to the scales, which was good enough to secure him second place in the competition.

To make sure the anglers are playing fair with the catches, Kevin Aman with the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries says him and his team know what to look for.

“We might find an older fish that, maybe necessarily wasn’t caught that day. And we might find ice packed in a fish down in the stomach cavity. And you know that shouldn’t be there, or some fish that were cut up and jammed in there.” said Aman.

Aman says while most play by the rules, they make sure no foul play is involved. Aman’s team also preps the catch to be used for food. The fish caught in the tournament are sent to a local restaurant, so that nothing is going to waste and the community benefits from the fish.

While Got ‘Em On may only be a two-day tournament, it’s impacts are felt throughout the surrounding community.

Copyright 2022 WECT. All rights reserved.