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Carolina Billfish Classic goes to Reel Passion

Bobby Riggs with tuna and Outstanding youth angler, 8-year old Rance Jennings

The third event in the S.C. Governor’s Cup Series, fished out of Toler’s Cove marina, went to Reel Passion for releasing six billfish. The Reel Passion won the Gov. Cup Series overall title in 2011, but this was their best showing so far in 2012. If they aim to defend their title this year, then they will need some fireworks at the Edisto Tournament July 25 – 28.           

Twenty-six boats fished in the Carolina Billfish Classic and they released a boatload of billfish! During the three-day tournament they caught and released a total of 69 billfish, including 7 blue marlin and 62 sailfish. The hotter the weather gets, and it’s going to be plenty hot in July, the more sailfish are present in the waters off the S.C. coast. Look for plenty of sailfish numbers to be racked up at the MegaDock tourney in Charleston on July 11 – 14.

Electing to fish back-to-back days on Friday and Saturday, Reel Passion set the pace for the Governor’s Cup fleet by releasing one blue marlin and four sailfish on Friday. Owner Bill Ingram of Charlotte, Captain Garyy Richardson and mate Michael Runey were somewhat stumped on Saturday however, adding just one sailfish to the tournament tally. “We lost a marlin and a sailfish on Saturday, but despite that tough luck, we were able to hold on and win,” said Runey.

The meatfish bite was fairly steady over the weekend and a good number of dolphin, wahoo and tuna were weighed in. Finishing with the heaviest dolphin was 16-year old angler Steven Craig with a 56.4-pound mahi mahi while fishing onboard the Compromise. The heaviest tuna weighed 25.4-pounds and went to Tommy Hancock fishing aboard Dem Boys. Syked Out brought the heaviest wahoo to the scales on Saturday, after Barry Bleacher reeled in a 50.4-pounder.

Unique to the Carolina Billfish Classic, is their partnership with the S.C. Memorial Reef, raising funds to build a new artificial reef offshore. The premise behind the Memorial Reef is that it will serve to commemorate loved ones who pass away after forging a legacy for loving to fish in the ocean. Located over 50 miles out from the Charleston jetties, the area also known as the Deep Reef, has been approved with permits as suitable for such a reef. The current fundraising will help to purchase and transport reef-building materials to the site.


Jeff Dennis, Contributor (360 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com