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Reel Passion Wins 2015 Governor’s Cup; Edisto Tourney Up Next

Reel Passion motors up Bohicket Creek during the 2015 Governor’s Cup. Photo by Jim Reed

Reel Passion motors up Bohicket Creek during the 2015 Governor’s Cup.
Photo by Jim Reed

The 2015 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series wrapped up last weekend at the MegaDock Tournament in Charleston. A total of four events comprised the 2015 Series calendar beginning in Georgetown in May, then traveling on to John’s Island in June and finishing up in Charleston in July. After the final day of fishing, it was a repeat win by Reel Passion, who also won the Series back in 2011.
The first tournament in Georgetown drew the most entries into the field of competition with 41 offshore fishing boats registered. The Georgetown event is the last of the tournaments to gather all the anglers to one location, since remote weigh stations at multiple marinas were in effect for the next three tournaments. The Georgetown-based Miss Wy Sportfishing team dominated that event by catching a large wahoo and releasing three blue marlin on the last day to seize a dramatic come from behind win.
But it was Reel Passion that went on a hot streak beginning at the second event at Bohicket Marina. Their team released two blue marlin and one white marlin to win at Bohicket, and they backed that up by winning the next event too at the Carolina Billfish Classic. The Governor’s Cup Series is about the conservation of billfish species, so they award points for billfish released with blue marlin garnering the highest total of 600 points. A white marlin release is worth 300 points and a sailfish release is worth 200 points, so Reel Passion finished with 1500 points after Bohicket.
The Carolina Billfish Classic was fished June 18 – 20, out of Toler’s Cove Marina, in Mount Pleasant. Reel Passion won that tournament by releasing three more blue marlin, and amassing another 1800 points to add to their cumulative total, putting them ahead of Miss Wy Sportfishing after three events. The top billfish boats that were contending for the 2015 Series title then headed to the MegaDock for a final chance to fish knowing that someone would need to release multiple blue marlins in order to overtake Reel Passion.

Owner and crew of Reel Passion celebrate at the MegaDock Tournament.  Photo by Jeff Dennis

Owner and crew of Reel Passion celebrate at the MegaDock Tournament. Photo by Jeff Dennis

On their first day of fishing at MegaDock, Reel Passion reeled in a skunk, with not a single bite during a long day of fishing that begins with the 8 a.m. Lines In time and stretching until the 3 p.m. Lines Out time. As the temperatures run hot in July, it causes some of the billfish offshore to migrate north, and many of the other boats managed only some sailfish releases during their first day of fishing, which brings less points to any team’s total.
Then on the last day of fishing at MegaDock the Reel Passion managed to catch and release one more blue marlin, essentially sealing the 2015 Governor’s Cup Series victory. Owner Bill Ingram of New Jersey, Captain Gary Richardson and crew members will collect their trophies during a Governor’s Cup Awards ceremony held later in September. The Charleston-based boat Artemis, owned by John Darby of The Beach Company, won the MegaDock tourney with two blue marlin releases.
A boat from Miami by the name of Swagger was fishing at MegaDock in their first Governor’s Cup event, and they actually released two blue marlin and two sailfish on the final day, which would have been enough for the win. However, when they discovered they had made a minor infraction and rules violation when releasing one blue marlin, they voluntarily reported it and disqualified that fish. So Swagger came up empty on the winnings, but they demonstrated that sportsmanship still plays a role in offshore fishing tournaments.
The final offshore tourney of the season is slated for July 23 – 25 at the Marina at Edisto Beach. This longtime tourney is an end of summer tradition for Edisto beachgoers and I have been told they are pulling out all the stops this year. Live music on the docks and lots of activities in Bay Creek Park should keep spectators involved after the daily weigh-ins for tuna, dolphin and wahoo.

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

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (288 Posts)

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