Fishing partners Gregg Jenkins and Jay Blakeley, both of Andrews, decided to go offshore during the much ballyhooed eclipse on Monday for some trolling action targeting wahoo.
Jenkins and Blakeley, co-owners of Margaritaville, a 2870 Pursuit, figured this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“We had talked about it the last two months that it would be a neat experience to be wahoo fishing for the eclipse,” said Jenkins.
The only decision to be made was where to fish. They took a look at the eclipse’s path of totality and there was no doubt where they were headed.
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“We fish the (Winyah) Scarp as much as the (Georgetown) Hole, but it was going over the Georgetown Hole,” said Jenkins. “The Hole was just dead center of the path and that made our decision for us.”
Monday dawned overcast with a few showers in the area, but the seas were easily conducive for a run to the vicinity of the Georgetown Hole, located about 48 miles south-southeast of the Winyah Bay jetties.
Joined by Will Morris of Andrews and Rose Foster of Myrtle Beach, the foursome headed for The Hole the morning of the eclipse.
They were greeted by super seas and fabulous fishing.
“There was a little cloud cover, it was overcast but the ocean was gorgeous,” said Jenkins, who is the owner of Chigger Grove Quail Preserve in Andrews. “We had good action all day long. It was great.”
The crew trolled large ballyhoo with Ilander and Sea Witch skirts and wound up with a super catch of five wahoo, three kings and a blackfin tuna. The fish were on the large side, with the wahoo all weighing between 30 and 40 pounds and the kings between 20 and 30.
“For late-summer fishing, that was just a great day,” said Jenkins.
The catch of the day, the largest wahoo estimated to weigh 40 pounds, came at the perfect time.
“We hooked him about 10 minutes before it turned dark,” said Jenkins. “As soon as it went dark good, the wahoo was probably 30 yards behind the boat. We had to turn on the spreader lights (to light up the deck) to see to gaff him.
“By the time we gaffed him and got him in the boat it was starting to get light again. The whole timing of the thing, it was just amazing.”
Blakeley was the angler and Jenkins gaffed the fish.
After a few days to reflect on the excursion, Jenkins was left literally shaking his head.
“Just to get the weather to cooperate for our size boat and to be able to go out there and catch the biggest fish right at the eclipse,” said Jenkins. “Everything just fell into place just perfect.”
Gregg Holshouser: firstname.lastname@example.org