Outdoors column: Full Pull nabs big win with marlin catch

In John W. Floyd’s view, his crew aboard Full Pull picked the right tournament to win in the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series.

Floyd and his dad, John F. Floyd, owners of Full Pull, were part of the crew aboard the 57-foot, custom-built Bobby Croswait that released three blue marlin and a white marlin to win the 47th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament out of Georgetown Landing Marina on Saturday.

Full Pull, captained by Ryan Riggs, compiled 2,100 release points to finish ahead of Syked Out and Rascal, both with two blue marlin releases for 1,200 release points. Boats earn 600 points for the release of a blue marlin, 300 for a white marlin and 200 for a sailfish.

“If you’re going to win one in South Carolina, that’s the one I want to win,” said Floyd. “Forty-seven years of it. It’s nice because you win with blue marlin, not sailfish – that’s nice. All in all it’s just a great tournament.”

The big stir at the weigh-in came on Saturday afternoon when the crew of Sportin’ Life, owned by Manly and Graham Eubank, weighed in a 448.2-pound blue marlin, earning them 449 points.

The field of 29 boats released 15 blue marlin, three white marlin and one sailfish, to go with the blue marlin landed by Sportin’ Life. Billfish action was down from the 2013 tournament when the 33-boat field landed two blue marlin and released 21 blue marlin, 10 sailfish and 7 white marlin.

Rascal, a Georgetown entry, was the only boat in the field that fished Thursday (May 22), with all other boats fishing last Friday and Saturday.

“Friday was beautiful and it was pretty rough Saturday,” said Floyd, who noted Full Pull fished the Southwest Banks both days.

Full Pull had a fantastic day on Friday, releasing two blue marlin and a white marlin. On Saturday, the crew wrapped up the victory by releasing another blue marlin.

“`The blue marlin were 200 to 300 pound fish,” said Floyd. “We caught two of the blues on 30-pound (tackle). One blue hit a lure and we caught everything else on ballyhoo.”

Aside from the Floyd father-son duo and Capt. Riggs, the Full Pull crew also included mate George Campsen, Jay Sims, Lee Hutchins, Chris Lupo, Reid Bost and Dale Lackey.

The tournament marked the first of five events in the 2014 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series. The next tournament in the series is the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament, set for next week, June 4-7.

Cobia mania

The last two weeks have marked the height of the cobia run in the near-shore waters off the Grand Strand, and numerous local anglers have been getting in on the action for the hard-fighting, tasty bruisers.

Count Capt. Jay Sconyers of Aces Up Fishing in Murrells Inlet among them.

“We get that big push from the south when they migrate,” said Sconyers. “In another couple weeks it’ll be over.”

Three straight days late last week combined, Sconyers produced cobia weighing 72, 55, 54, 45 and 41 pounds.

Last Friday, Sconyers, Capt. J Baisch of Fishfull Thinking Charters and local angler “Dancin’ Joe” Nelligan combined to land six cobia ranging from 22 to 72 pounds, including three over 50.

The fish were caught on Paradise Reef (3 miles east of Murrells Inlet) and along the beach in the vicinity of schools of menhaden.

Although most cobia are landed on live bait, Sconyers caught some of his fish on a Yozuri plug.

Rotary Flounder Tournament

The 2014 Murrells Inlet Rotary Flounder Tournament will be held June 7 at Crazy Sister Marina in the inlet.

Captains meeting is set for June 6, at 6 p.m., at the marina. Lines in is at 6 a.m. on June 7, with weigh-in at the marina beginning at 3 p.m.

The seven largest flounder weighed in will earn cash prizes, including $1,000 for the largest flounder.

Entry fee is $60 per angler. For more information, contact Chris Hawley at 843-455-0371 or chawley@gmail.com.