The 2019 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series got rolling last weekend with the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament, but for the first two days of fishing in the 31st annual series, the billfish apparently didn’t get the memo.
Only one sailfish was released in the first two days of fishing (May 2-3), with eight boats in the field of 33 fishing the first day and 26 the second day.
Last Saturday action picked up a bit on the final day of the tournament with 32 boats releasing three blue marlin, two sailfish and one white marlin.
The billfish activity was quite different a year ago in the series opener at Bohicket Marina, located south of Charleston on John’s Island, when 24 blue marlin, eight sailfish and one white marlin were released.
With the venerable Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament up next on the docket, what does the slow start mean for the oldest billfish tournament in South Carolina?
“The migration doesn’t wait on tournaments, it happens when it happens,” said Ed Keelin, Operations Manager of Georgetown Landing Marina. “It may just be a couple weeks behind. I’d imagine in the next two weeks it’s going to be happening.
“I’m hoping, anticipating a lot of billfish to be caught out of Georgetown for the tournament.”
Fishing in the 52nd annual tournament gets underway Thursday, with boats able to fish two of three days through next Saturday. The event always draws a nice crowd to Georgetown Landing Marina to soak in the scene, but it ramps up significantly if a blue marlin is brought to the scales.
Boats have to release sailfish, white marlin and spearfish for points during the series, but a blue marlin measuring a minimum of 105 inches can be brought to the dock.
“If a blue marlin is coming to the dock, word will be out and there will be a big crowd of people,” said Keelin.
After the Captains Meeting on Wednesday, fishing will be held Thursday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. The scales open at 5 p.m. and close at 7 p.m. for dolphin, wahoo and tuna, but, as Keelin says, “if they catch a blue, we’ll wait on it.”
Keelin noted the 11th annual Georgetown Meatfish Slam, which was postponed due to weather conditions in late April, has been rescheduled for June 6-8.
Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament
Three boats each released a blue marlin last Saturday in the series opener to tie for the lead with 600 points.
The Syked Out crew released its blue marlin first, at 8:28 a.m. and was declared the winner. Sportin’ Life released its blue at 12:09 p.m. and finished second with Home Run releasing a blue at 2:41 p.m. to finish third.
For complete results of the Bohicket Tournament, visit www.govcup.dnr.sc.gov.