Outdoors column: Miss Wy takes top billing in Blue Marlin Tournament

A blue marlin jumps behind the stern of Miss Wy on May 18. The crew went on to release three blue marlin on Saturday to win the 48th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament.
A blue marlin jumps behind the stern of Miss Wy on May 18. The crew went on to release three blue marlin on Saturday to win the 48th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament. Courtesy photo

Let’s just say it was a fun day for Capt. Matt Wilkinson and the crew aboard Miss Wy Saturday on the final day of fishing in the 48th Annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament.

Miss Wy, from host venue Georgetown Landing Marina, released three blue marlin the morning of the final day to win the opening tournament of the 2015 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series.

Miss Wy’s feat was part of a doozy of a final day of blue marlin fishing in the Georgetown tournament, the longest-running billfish tournament in South Carolina. The 41-boat field released 15 blue marlin on the day, to go with three white marlin and two sailfish.

To Wilkinson, who operates Miss Wy for owner Ed Holder, it was just another day at the office.

“We had a good time, it was a fun day,” was the veteran captain’s take on the come-from-behind win.

The Georgetown native has a long history fishing in the Governor’s Cup series. The 51-year-old Wilkinson was part of the Manipulator crew that won the overall Governor’s Cup title in 1992 and finished second aboard Done Diggin’ in 2004.

Miss Wy earned 600 points for each blue marlin release for 1,800 total points, topping Petrel, which finished second with 1,400 points after releasing two blue marlin and a sailfish. Caramba was third with 1,200 points for two blue marlin releases.

The final numbers for the tournament were record-setting for the Georgetown event.

A total of 23 blue marlin were released, which tops the 21 that were released in the tournament in both 2013 and 2008.

According to S.C. DNR records dating back to 2000, the most blue marlin released in a Governor’s Cup event was 31 in both the Charleston Harbor and MegaDock tournaments in 2006.

The Miss Wy crew had no luck on its first day of fishing (Thursday, May 21) with no releases but quickly got rolling on Saturday after taking a lay day on the second day of fishing.

They started off with the first release of the day recorded by the field, releasing a blue marlin at 8:30 a.m.

Then, at about 11:30 a.m., the crew hooked up with another blue marlin, with the release officially coming at 11:44 a.m.

While putting the lines back out in the trolling spread, a third blue made the scene, and they were hooked up again. The third release came at 12:12 p.m. Michael Lalich served as the angler on all three fish.

Wilkinson was fishing an area he described as “northeast of the (Georgetown) Hole,” in rough seas, and “fished down sea.”

Lee Prickett, a mate and the boat’s photographer/videographer, said the action by all three blues was up-close and personal.

“All three fish came up right behind the boat,” said Prickett. “The first two were great teaser bites on the squid chains that then switched to the short rigger and the third came in right by the short rigger. It’s always fun to see them eat that close behind the boat. Matt did a good job of backing down on those fish in those rough seas.”

The final-day flurry capped one heck of a week for the Miss Wy crew. One week earlier on May 16 while fun fishing, they released a blue marlin estimated to be in the 400-pound range. Two days later, on May 18, they released a huge blue marlin Prickett estimated was in the 700-800 pound range.

Prickett posted a video of that release on the Miss Wy page that made quite a splash on Facebook.

“It was a great experience,” said Prickett. “We followed that up with a comeback win Saturday on a pretty rough ocean.”

Another tournament entry, Daymaker, fought a blue marlin for several hours on Saturday and landed the legal-size fish but the crew could not make the weigh-in deadline.

The next Governor’s Cup tournament is the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament, set for June 3-6.

Contact GREGG HOLSHOUSER at 651-9028 or wholshouser@sc.rr.com.

Blue Marlin Tournament results

▪ Outstanding Billfish Boat, First Place | Miss Wy, Three Blue Marlin Released, 1800 points.

▪ Outstanding Billfish Boat, Second Place | Petrel, Two blue marlin, one sailfish released, 1400 points.

▪ Outstanding Billfish Boat, Third Place | Caramba, Two blue marlin released, 1200 points.

▪ Largest Dolphin | 50.4 pounds, Summer Girl, angler Kaleigh Leasure (age 13).

▪ Largest Tuna | 13.2-pound blackfin, Christy II, angler Brad Liles.

▪ Largest Wahoo | 55.2 pounds, Houdini, angler Rich Bermudez.

▪ Lady Angler, First Place | Kelli Ann Roof, Game On, blue marlin release.

▪ Lady Angler, Second Place | Angie Matthews, Nauti Girl, 27.8-pound dolphin.

▪ Lady Angler, Third Place | Maggie Wilkinson, Nauti Girl, 22.4-pound dolphin

▪ Youth Angler, First Place | Bennett Wyatt, Sportsmann, blue marlin release.

▪ Youth Angler, Second Place | Fisher Jackson, Summer Girl, blue marlin release.

▪ Youth Angler, Third Place | Kaleigh Leasure, Summer Girl, 50.4-pound dolphin.

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