Team Miller Time Charges to the Kingfish Cup 2018 Angler of the Year Award
Brent Gainey (Captain)
After a mostly forgettable Jolly Mon, followed by a strong 34.03 pounder in the East Coast Got ‘Em On, Team Miller Time found themselves with an aggregate of just over 50 pounds for qualification, which was good, but certainly not assuring themselves of anything. The season changed, and Captain Brent Gainey seems to have not only found the switch, but has flipped it on. Shuffling to keep up with changing dates following the hurricanes, Miller Time found themselves fishing three tournaments in the final two weeks, two of which being Kingfish Cup qualifiers. Their non-qualifier, the Shallotte Point KMT, didn’t go as planned, but they found exactly what they were looking for in both the Rumble in the Jungle and the Fall Brawl, in big fish and strong payouts. Two out of three ain’t bad, and this team certainly picked the right two events to do well in! Their 116.18 pound aggregate, dropping a 16.5 was almost twenty pounds heavier than second place. In addition to the individual payouts, Team Miller Time gaffed a $5,000 check for being named Angler of the Year, along with a shiny piece of hardware.
Miller Time chose Sunday as their fish day for the Rumble, based on the wind direction. They ran south following the checkout at Little River all the way to just off of Garden City, where they netted bait in 30 feet of water, then started back up the beach. They eased up towards Apache pier, along with a good number of boats, but decided to fish inshore of the bulk of the fleet. Even though the water was dirtier inshore, they attempted to stay in the same depth that they had caught their bait. It took about 45 minutes, but one of their single naked pogies got nailed and the reel started screaming.
The only boat in the vicinity of Miller Time at the time of the bite was Wahooligans, and they were aware that Miller Time had a fish on. Wahooligans immediately radioed Brent to see if his fish was in any danger of fouling up in their spread. Brent, keeping an eye on the fish, said that he didn’t any potential problems. At the time, the fish was coming directly to the boat. However, that would change when their fish could finally see the boat through the dirty water, which happened at a distance of approximately 15 to 20 feet. Realizing what was going on, their fish streaked offshore. Brent hailed Wahooligans back, and they were instantly courteous enough to reel in their downrigger balls. The next time the fish got near, it was not so lucky. The gaff was sunk, and a 43.8 pounder came over the gunwale, into the boat, and very quickly into a fish bag after that.
Being so early in the fishing day, Miller Time kept right on trolling. They gave it another two solid hours, but they had no other takers in the shallow, dirty water. However, Brent wasn’t about to leave a spot that had already paid off, especially hearing as little as he did on the VHF. Just after the two hour mark, they made the call to run to the scales, leaving plenty of margin for error. They got to Captain Archie’s 15 minutes before the weigh-in began. There was little drama. Miller Time took first place for the tournament by over 3.5 pounds. At this point they were already qualified for the Kingfish Cup Championship, but why quit having fun at this point?
Following a disappointing Saturday in the Shallotte Point KMT, Miller Time found themselves fishing the final qualifier for the Kingfish Cup exactly one week later, the Sunday of the rescheduled Fall Brawl. They decided to head well south again, and kept going past the spot of their Rumble victory. They stopped just past Murrell’s Inlet to catch fresh bait, which they added to their previously penned bait from the week. Brent had a spot where he had caught fish in the U.S. Open that he wanted to try. The water had cleared dramatically since then, so they set out their baits. Within 5 minutes, they had caught a 20 pounder. The catching continued at a reasonable rate through the morning and into the early afternoon, but nothing spectacular happened for a while. Then it did.
At approximately 2:30, two lines began screaming with a double header. Thankfully, they headed off in opposite directions. Another 20 pounder came to the boat first, but their money fish was still out there. A few more minutes, coupled with some smooth boat handling ensured that the day’s money fish, a 38.35 pounder, made its way into the team’s Onslow Bay 27. This time, Miller Time gave it only another hour before packing it in and heading back for the scales. They did, however, call a few friends into the area, letting them know what had just transpired. Whether that act helped their karma is unknown, but the fish was good enough for second place overall in the Fall Brawl, along with virtually all of the calcutta money in the event. This time around, their check was for over $34,000, which isn’t even counting the Angler of the Year money!
Brent summed up the success as saying, “I guess it was just our day, again.” This writer respectfully disagrees. It’s more like it was their year! While it may be a wide open field at Ocracoke for the Kingfish Cup Championship, Capt. Brent Gainey and Miller Time are on a roll. It would not be far-fetched at all to see their streak continue at the Outer Banks.
Congratulations to team Miller Time, along with all of the other qualifiers who make up the field at the Kingfish Cup Championship. You have more than earned your trip to what is often ground zero for trophy king mackerel fishing. Good luck and catch ‘em up!