Under the guidance of series founder and director, Marc Pincus, the South Carolina Wahoo Series continues to expand northward along the Palmetto State coast.
The original series in 2012 was a small event in the Hilton Head Island area.
But by 2016 the series featured a field of 60 boats, and Pincus noted half of those hailed from Edisto Island and points north.
For the 2017 series, Pincus added a weigh-in station at Toler's Cove Marina in Mt. Pleasant and the field ballooned to 111 boats.
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Before the 2018 series kicked off in February, more expansion was in the works with a weigh-in station added at Georgetown Landing Marina in an effort to entice more anglers from ports such as Murrells Inlet and Little River to compete in the series targeting the big speed demons of the mackerel family.
The result is the largest field yet - 118 boats - for the 7th annual series, which kicked off on Feb. 2 and runs through April 15.
"I wanted to figure out a way to sustain 100 boats in the series," said Pincus. "Georgetown is super excited to have it. It's unique the way this thing has grown."
As winter morphs into spring along the South Carolina coast, cold fronts ushered in by vicious winds are a fact of life in the offshore fishing community. Take this weekend for instance.
The tournament format gives competing boats ample opportunity - well over two months - to find two suitable fishing days, and weigh in one wahoo per day.
The heaviest cumulative weight of two wahoo determines the winner.
Thus far, five boats have claimed a fishing day, with four wahoo being weighed in, two at Georgetown Landing.
The biggest day was a week ago, on Friday, Feb. 23, when four boats fished and three wahoo were weighed in.
Nat Finley's crew aboard Boogie Man out of Beaufort has the early lead with a 61.2-pounder.
Jay Blakeley's crew out of Andrews, fishing aboard Margaritaville, is in second place with a 58.9-pounder weighed in at Georgetown Landing. The third fish weighed on Feb. 23 was a 32.6-pounder caught by Sea Daze of Charleston.
The crew of No Pity was the lone boat to fish on Wednesday, a day before the full moon. Capt. Devin Shirkey along with Dewey Brunson and Rodney Myers headed out on a 27 Onslow Bay to fish the Winyah Scarp.
Shirkey and crew finished with two wahoo on the day, the largest a 33.8-pounder. They came home a bit disappointed after losing a wahoo estimated by Shirkey to be in the 60-pound range at the back of the boat.
The 33.8-pounder, weighed in Thursday, left No Pity currently in third place with plenty of fishing left in the series.
The same cold front that has made it a tough weekend for offshore fishing has caused a postponement in the Student Angler League Tournament Trail.
The second event of the spring was scheduled for Saturday at the Carroll Ashemore Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown but the forecast for high winds caused trail coordinator and founder Rayburn Poston to postpone the event.
The next two events in the series will now be held April 14 and May 5. For more information on the tournament trail for middle and high school anglers, visit www.SALTTfishing.com.