Rascal crew returning to home turf with eyes on another big win

Henry Eddy of Conway and Eric Mitchell of Murrells Inlet show off a 59.83-pound wahoo caught aboard Seabatical during the inaugural Marlin Quay Carolina Slam out of Murrells Inlet.
Henry Eddy of Conway and Eric Mitchell of Murrells Inlet show off a 59.83-pound wahoo caught aboard Seabatical during the inaugural Marlin Quay Carolina Slam out of Murrells Inlet. Submitted photo

The crew of Rascal was victorious in the opening leg of the 2016 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series, and now returns to its home turf, or waters, with the early lead in hand.

Rascal, owned by Norman Pulliam with local Capt. Mark Rogers at the helm, released two blue marlin worth 600 release points each to win the Carolina Billfish Classic out of Toler’s Cove Marina in Mount Pleasant last weekend.

Next week, Rascal will join a field of 50-plus boats in the 49th Annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament, fishing out of its home marina, Georgetown Landing Marina.

The tournament, founded by the late Wallace Pate in 1968, is the oldest billfish tournament in South Carolina and gets started with the Captain’s Meeting on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Fishing will follow on Thursday through Saturday (May 26-28), with boats allowed to fish two of the three days. Scales open for weigh-ins at 5 p.m. the first two days of fishing and from 5-9 p.m. on the final day. The Awards Party begins after the weigh-ins are complete next Saturday.

On Friday afternoon, preparations were underway for the event with some boats planning pre-fishing trips in the next few days.

“Everybody is trying to get their last shake-down trips done,” said Johnny Manning, Dockmaster at Georgetown Landing Marina. “They’re trying to get the boat ready for the tournament and find the fish.”

Manning said 52 boats are entered in the tournament thus far, with entries accepted through the Captain’s Meeting. The weigh-ins are a big event at the marina.

“We’ll probably have 600 people down here on the dock,” Manning said.

In the Carolina Billfish Classic, Sportin’ Life finished second with a blue marlin and a sailfish release, good for 800 points. Electric Bill was third with two sailfish releases, for 400 points.

In all, the 24-boat field released four sailfish, three blue marlin and one white marlin. No blue marlin were weighed in.

Marlin Quay Carolina Slam

The Garden City Beach crew of Seabatical landed excellent specimens of all three target species to win the inaugural tournament out of Marlin Quay Marina.

Seabatical weighed in a 59.83-pound wahoo, 16.79-pound dolphin and 11.39-pound blackfin tuna for a winning aggregate of 88.01 pounds last Saturday to top a 27-boat field.

Crew member Henry Eddy of Conway said Seabatical was fishing north of the Winyah Scarp and all three fish hit dark Sea Witches, either blue-black or purple-black. The crew finished a superb day with five wahoo, five dolphin and three tuna.

Other crew members were Capt. Hal Lewis of Garden City Beach, Eric Mitchell of Murrells Inlet, Chanan James and Dennis Walker.

On The Hook finished second with an aggregate of 66.06 pounds including a 30.14-pound wahoo, 18.96-pound tuna and 16.96-pound dolphin.

Lolligag caught the largest tuna, a 25.65-pounder, Wasted Time (Boat 1) landed the largest dolphin, a 27.55-pounder and Wasted Time (Boat 2) caught the largest wahoo, a 64.54-pounder.

Kathryn Carr was the top Lady Angler aboard Wasted Time. Sully Jones aboard Jones’n was the top Youth Angler.

Far Out Shootout

The crew of MacAttack, captained by William McCann, caught the biggest wahoo and won the tournament held out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.

The MacAttack crew’s wahoo weighed 58.5 pounds and they added an 18.1-pound dolphin and a 12.4-pound tuna for a winning aggregate of 89.0 pounds to top the field of 27 boats.

A year ago, MacAttack also weighed in a 58-pound wahoo in the tournament but finished second overall.

Team OIFC finished second with an aggregate of 69.35 pounds after weighing in a 29.55-pound wahoo, 20.1-pound dolphin and 19.7-pound tuna.

Hail Yeah/OIFC weighed in the largest dolphin, a 25.15-pounder and Reel Fast produced the largest tuna, a 24.0-pounder.

Boats competing in the tournament were able to fish one of eight days, May 7-14.

Gregg Holshouser: wholshouser@sc.rr.com