The seasoned crew of Rascal out of Georgetown Landing Marina has accomplished what few boats have in the 26-year history of the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series – winning more than one overall title in the series.
Rascal, owned by Norman Pulliam of Spartanburg and Foster McKissick of Greenville, released three sailfish and one blue marlin to finish second Saturday in the Edisto Marina Billfish Tournament, the fifth and final event of the 2014 series.
When the points were tallied for the series Saturday evening at the tournament’s awards ceremony, Rascal was the winner with 3,875 points, well ahead of the second-place boat, Trick ‘Em, with 3,050 points.
Trick ‘Em, owned by Curtis Whitaker of Atlanta, finished very strong by winning the final two tournaments, Edisto and MegaDock, but couldn’t catch Rascal.
The final results of the series will be certified by the S.C. Governor’s Cup Advisory Board during its September meeting.
Entering the final tournament at Edisto, Rascal had a slight lead over Syked Out and Mr. Pete but finished strong to earn the win.
Rascal previously won the Governor’s Cup series in 2005, a victory highlighted by the crew landing the current state record blue marlin, a 881-pound, 13-ounce specimen, in a tournament out of Patriot’s Point in Charleston.
“We got lucky again,” Pulliam said earlier this week. “I’ve got a good crew and that what it’s all about.”
The crew is headed by a pair of Georgetown natives that go way back and have long been fishing together. Capt. Mark Rogers and the first mate, Capt. Douglas Miller, both attended Georgetown High School and the College of Charleston and have worked together on Rascal for well over a decade.
Another key member of the crew is mate John Lumpkin.
“That’s always the goal, to finish near the top if we can,” said Miller. “Winning is always a goal to shoot for. Mark does a good job of putting us on fish and it’s our job to get ‘em to the boat when he runs over them. He tries to make us look good and we try to make him look good.”
Rascal has been the model of consistency in the series for well more than a decade. The boat was one of six that fished each of the five tournaments in the series this year and has finished in the top 10 boats in the series 11 of the last 14 years.
“While Rascal did not win any of the individual tournaments this summer, they were very consistent, placing among the top boats in every event,” said Wallace Jenkins, Program Director of the Governor’s Cup. “This consistency is what prevailed at the end of the day.”
In the Edisto tournament, Rogers fished about 60 miles offshore to the southeast and Miller’s trolling spread was heavy on ballyhoo with the required circle hooks for natural baits to entice the bites.
“Later in summer, the smaller sailfish start showing up in numbers, so we pull more smaller natural baits,” said Miller. “The small blue (marlin the crew released) hit a ballyhoo.”
Jeepy Ford, also a Georgetown resident and Pulliam’s grandson, 11-year-old Graham Rogers, were other Rascal crew members during the series. Rogers was the second-place youth angler in one of the series’ tournaments, the Carolina Billfish Classic, for releasing a sailfish.
Rascal is one of several boats that call Georgetown Landing Marina their home port and fish in Governor’s Cup tournaments, though the majority of the boats hail from the Charleston area.
Miss Wy, Blue Sky, Big Sky, Christy II, Big Kahuna and Nauti Girl are other Georgetown Landing boats that competed in the 2014 Governor’s Cup. Miss Wy fished all five events and finished eighth overall with 1,875 points.
Pulliam is pleased to represent the Georgetown contingent in winning the series.
“It’s a pride thing,” said Pulliam, who has a home in Litchfield Beach. “All the Georgetown boats that fish, we’re real tight, close friends.”