Reel Passion released a pair of blue marlin and a white marlin to top the field in the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament Saturday, the second stop in the South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series.
The three releases earned Reel Passion 1,500 points, ahead of two boats – My Three Sons and Mutts & Jeff – that both released a pair of blue marlin for 1,200 points. My Three Sons earned its 1,200 points first and claimed second place.
After two of four events in the series, Miss Wy, out of Georgetown Landing Marina, leads the overall standings with 3,050 points.
Miss Wy won the series opener, the Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament, three weeks ago by releasing three blue marlin on the final day of fishing. At Bohicket, Miss Wy released two more blues but didn't finish in the top three based on the time the fish were released.
Bohicket winner Reel Passion is in second in the series standings with 2,750 points followed by My Three Sons (2,450), Caramba (1,650), Petrel (1,425), Bad Becky (1,250), Mutts & Jeff (1,225), Legal Holiday (1,225), Sportin’ Life (1,150) and Anticipation (950).
In the meatfish categories at Bohicket, Summer Girl landed the biggest dolphin, a 36-pounder and Legal Holiday weighed in the largest wahoo, a 55.6-pounder. No tuna were weighed in.
Ten-year-old Brian Ingram aboard Reel Passion was the top youth angler after releasing a 10-pound dolphin. Holly McAlhany aboard Syked Out was the top female angler after releasing a blue marlin and a sailfish.
The 20-boat field at Bohicket released 17 blue marlin, two white marlin and eight sailfish.
The next Governor's Cup tournament is the Carolina Billfish Classic, set for next weekend, June 18-20, with Toler's Cove Marina in Mt. Pleasant serving as tournament headquarters.
Georgetown Landing Marina is also a tournament weigh-in site and any meatfish (dolphin, wahoo, tuna) can be weighed there. Any blue marlin brought to the dock must be weighed in at Toler's Cove, however.
The Governor's Cup finale is the MEGADOCK Billfishing Tournament July 8-11 out of Charleston City Marina.
King Or Spanish?
It's late spring headed into summer, and there are Spanish mackerel along with king mackerel roaming the near-shore waters.
In some instances, juvenile king mackerel are mixed in with the Spanish mackerel which can cause issues for anglers trying to determine whether a fish is a keeper.
Spanish mackerel have a minimum size limit of 12 inches to tail fork and for kings the minimum size is 24 inches.
The problem is, juvenile kings near or below the minimum size of 24 inches tend to have gold spots just like Spanish do.
Anglers need to be sure the fish they have caught is a Spanish or king before making the important decision between releasing it or putting it in the cooler.
There are two distinguishing characteristics to look for, one identifying a Spanish and one a king.
Spanish mackerel have a black spot on the front portion of the dorsal fin. To see it better, gently pull the front of the dorsal forward toward the fish’s head.
Both fish have a lateral line that runs along the body of the fish toward the tail but on king mackerel, the lateral line makes a distinct drop, similar to a step. The lateral line on Spanish has no such drop.
In short, if you catch a mackerel that has gold spots and is under 24 inches, you'd better be sure it's a Spanish before you add it to the cooler, or a hefty fine could await.
Contact GREGG HOLSHOUSER at 651-9028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.