Despite windy conditions that derailed the opening day of fishing, the 50th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament got underway Friday with solid billfishing out of Georgetown Landing Marina.
Fishing on Thursday was blown out by a Small Craft Advisory, leaving the 44-boat field with only two days to fish two, Friday and Saturday. The tournament is the second of five legs in the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series.
Amy Dukes, coordinator of the Governor’s Cup for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, reported that 41 or 42 boats headed offshore on Friday to fish amid 7-8 foot seas.
“(Friday) morning was definitely a little sporty but it started to lay down this afternoon,” said Dukes. “They at least had a favorable (westerly) wind this morning to ride out in.”
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Dukes said that at one point 52 boats were set to fish the prestigious 50th edition of the tournament, but some pulled out due to the marine forecast and others had mechanical issues.
As of 4 p.m. Friday, the committee boat had reported 13 billfish were caught and released by the field including seven blue marlin, four sailfish and two white marlin.
Legal Holiday, with a homeport of Bohicket Marina, was the only boat to release multiple billfish – two sailfish and a white marlin.
Dukes stressed the catches reported by the committee boat were unofficial and had not been confirmed as of press time.
Dukes did not anticipate any blue marlin being brought to the dock on Friday.
The federal minimum size limit for blue marlin to be landed is 99 inches, but they must measure 105 inches to be eligible for Governor’s Cup competition. White marlin and sailfish are eligible for release points only.
A blue marlin release is worth 600 points, white marlin 300 points and sailfish 200 points.
Seas were expected to subside to 3-5 feet, according to the NOAA Marine Forecast, for the final day of fishing on Saturday.
The public is welcome to the dock at Georgetown Landing Marina for weigh-ins of wahoo, dolphin, tuna and possibly blue marlin beginning at around 5 p.m.
Visit www.govcup.dnr.sc.gov for updates on releases of billfish during the tournament.
Marlin Quay Carolina Slam
The weather also played havoc with this meatfish event. Originally scheduled for two days, Chris Lawhon of Marlin Quay Marina extended the event for a week ending last weekend to allow boats to get one day of fishing in.
“We had a lower turnout this year because the weather just wasn’t in our favor,” said Lawhon, who had a field of 20 boats.
Snap Hooked, captained by Greg Plummer, won the tournament by weighing in the heaviest aggregate of wahoo, dolphin and tuna. Snap Hooked’s winning weight was 66.05 pounds for a 55.20-pound wahoo and a 10.85-pound dolphin.
Lolligag, captained by Myles Herring, was second with 47.40 pounds including a 26-pound tuna and 21.25-pound dolphin.
On the Hook, captained by Jimmy Bass, finished third with 41.40 pounds including a 22.60-pound dolphin and 18.80-pound tuna.
Snap Hooked’s 55.20-pounder was the largest wahoo weighed in, Lolligag landed the largest tuna (26.15 pounds) and Jones’n, captained by Ron Jones, weighed in the largest dolphin, a 48.60-pounder.
Far Out Shootout
This meatfish event out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center was originally scheduled for seven days but was also extended, to 15 days, due to uncooperative sea conditions.
Sea P.A. topped the field of 41 boats with an aggregate of 70.25 pounds including a 24.35-pound wahoo, 29.85-pound dolphin and 16.05-pound tuna caught.
Sea Bandit finished second with 67.8 pounds followed by No Quarter in third with 67.45 pounds.
Mac Attack caught the largest tuna, a 25.3-pounder, Conference Call caught the largest dolphin, a 34.25-pounder, and No Quarter caught the largest wahoo, a 37.95-pounder.
CCA Star Tournament
The CCA South Carolina Star Tournament is underway featuring 101 days of fishing from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, on Sept. 4. Anglers will try to catch tagged redfish with a chance to win a 2017 Sea Hunt boat.
Gregg Holshouser: email@example.com