Outdoors column: Blakely tops partner, takes Rotary Flounder title

Conway angler Bill Blakely figures if he can just beat his fishing partner and enjoy a little luck, he’s got a pretty good shot at winning the annual Murrells Inlet Rotary Flounder Tournament.

Last Saturday, Blakely landed a 4.06-pound flounder and did edge his partner, Tommy Padgett, who finished third with a 3.50-pounder, to win the tournament for the third time in five years. Blakely also barely edged second-place finisher Brunson Miller who weighed in a 3.90-pounder.

“I fish Murrells Inlet a lot,” said Blakely. “In a tournament when a big fish is the prize, luck does play a large factor in it. It takes some skill and experience to know where to go and what to use. It just takes experience. I love fishing and catching is just a bonus.”

Blakely’s bonus for winning the tournament was $1,000 for the largest flounder, plus the Calcutta.

Blakely caught the winning fish, which measured 22 inches, in Oaks Creek using artificials. When targeting large flounder, the veteran angler offered a few suggestions.

“I look for dirty water and deep water – it protects them,” said Blakely. “If the water’s clear you can forget it, there’s people gigging out here every night.”

Blakely and Padgett have taken turns winning the tournament over the last five years, with both placing in the top three each year.

“If I can beat Tommy, I’ve got a pretty good chance of winning,” said Blakely. “We both fish hard.”

Jim Helig finished fourth with a 2.85-pounder and Charles Beverly was fifth with a 2.77-pounder. Shaun Bess was sixth with a 2.75-pounder and John Rowe seventh with a 2.60-pounder.

Nine-year-old C.J. Collins of Murrells Inlet was the top youth angler with a 2.80-pound flounder followed by Ava Heise (2.25 pounds) and Carson Bess (1.90-pounder).

Kayla Webb was the top lady angler with a 2.05-pounder.

S.C. Governor’s Cup

Billfish action was slow in the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament last weekend out of Seabrook Island.

A total of 10 billfish were released by the 22-boat field, including seven sailfish, two blue marlin and one white marlin in the second of five tournaments in the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series.

Syked Out won the tournament with 800 points by releasing a blue marlin and a sailfish followed by Game On with 700 points for releasing two sailfish and a white marlin. Georgetown Landing Marina entry Miss Wy finished third with 600 points for a blue marlin release.

Cotton Picker weighed in the largest dolphin, a 51.6-pounder. There were no award winners for wahoo or tuna.

The next Governor’s Cup event is the Carolina Billfish Classic, set for June 18-21. All meatfish weigh-ins and events in the tournament will be held at Toler's Cove Marina and Georgetown Landing Marina, but blue marlin weigh-ins will be held at Toler's Cove, the tournament headquarters.

Jolly Mon King Classic

The tournament, the first event of 2014 in the Southern Kingfish Association’s Division 9, will be held out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center June 19-22.

The event features a Captain’s Choice format, where entrants can fish one of two days, either June 21 or June 22 (Saturday or Sunday).

Entry fee is $215 through Friday and $250 until registration closes on June 20.

The event will also feature a Rock the Dock event on June 19, which precedes the Jr. Jolly Mon tournament to be held on June 20.

For more information, call 910-575-3474.

Flounder regulations

On July 1, the daily bag limit per person on flounder changes to 15 fish per person per day and the boat limit becomes 30 fish per boat per day in South Carolina waters. These limits were passed by the General Assembly in 2013, but implementation was delayed for a year