2017 Rumble In The Jungle Preview: The Final Qualifier
“The move to Captain Archie’s is a great one, not only for the fishermen, but for the families and the fans. We’ll have more entertainment, more food, and most importantly, more space for the weigh-in.” John Gore, Tournament Director of The Rumble in the Jungle.
Well, folks, it has all come down to this. At the end of the 15th Annual Rumble in the Jungle on Sunday, you’ll know if your Kingfish Cup team is headed to Ocracoke for the Championship or not. The top 3 fish count towards your aggregate, so this is every team’s chance to make up for a possible 0 recorded during early summer’s slower-than-average fishing. The norm for the area is that weight comes from fall tournaments. This year, so far, is proving that to be the rule rather than the exception.
After a strong leaderboard at the U.S. Open, the beach and River Channel fishing took it up a notch for the Fall Brawl. With 285 boats registered in the Fall Brawl King Classic, a bare bones, NC citation king mackerel (30 pounds even) was good for a mere 45th place. In comparison, that same fish would have been good for 12th place in the last Kingfish Cup qualifier, the Got ‘Em On. What a difference a couple of months, cooler water, and a massive bait invasion makes! What remains to be seen is whether the Rumble sees even hotter kingfishing action than the past two weeks, or if the Fall Brawl was the peak of the fall bite. Most likely the Rumble will be the high water mark of the October bite, if not simply with numbers, with the overall size of the fish.
The weather forecast this week calls for northeast winds to peak around the middle of the week, then diminish for the weekend and the event. There should be no major changes to what we have seen in terms of the conditions that whipped the bait and fish into a frenzy recently. In short, everything should stay on, or close to, the beaches of the lower Cape Fear and upper Grand Strand regions. With the new “fish the beach” boundaries of the Rumble in the Jungle and the fishability that comes from a light NE wind, we may be seeing perfect tournament conditions. You will definitely want to bring an extra layer for the cooler, crisp morning, but you might want to consider bringing a few extra rigs as well! Fall beach fishing means an emphasis on having the perfect, liveliest, and often the biggest baits you can put behind the boat. Other tricks that might make the difference include the kite and the chum bag or grinder. What is your team doing to gain (and keep) that competitive edge?
Fishing aside, all teams in the Rumble in the Jungle will see a major difference in the operation of the tournament. After years of operation at Harbourgate Marina, the tournament will shift right next door, to Captain Archie’s. Formerly Poo’s, this venue change will accomplish multiple things. From a fishing perspective, it will streamline the weigh-in process. Instead of just using part of a fuel dock, as was the practice at Harbourgate, the tournament now has easily triple the dock space to work with. There will also be much more going on for the land portion of the tournament as well. Captain Archie’s will host live music throughout the weekend for the spectators, so anyone coming just to watch the weigh in can expect a more vibrant atmosphere than what was historically found at the Rumble. In short, it will be a win for all parties coming to Little River for the event, whether they are fishing or not.
When it all boils down, there is going to be drama this weekend. There will be a team that comes out of seemingly nowhere to clinch their trip to the Cup Championship, and there will almost surely be a team that falls from grace and misses out. The margin may come down to fractional pounds. That’s fishing. The Kingfish Cup was set up to reward consistency, and that concept can often come down to success and failure being measured by razor sharp margins. Let’s see where everything stacks up when the smoke has cleared on Sunday evening. It will definitely be an event you don’t want to miss!
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