Bluewater," owned by Smythe McKissick of Greenville, won the Charleston Harbor Marina Resort Billfish Tournament, the sixth leg of the prestigious South Carolina Governor^s Cup Billfishing Series held July 7-10 at Mt. Pleasant. "Bluewater" released three blue marlin worth 900 total points to win the largest tournament in the history of the 11-year-old Series, one which saw many angling records fall in frenzied fishing activity off the Palmetto State coast.
Finishing in second place at Charleston Harbor was "Rookie IV," owned by Eddie Buck Sr. of Charleston, with 837.4 points for tagging and releasing a blue marlin and a sailfish and landing another blue marlin. "Rookie IV" now leads the overall Governor^s Cup Series in the Outstanding Billfish Boat category with 1,991.4 total points and has the Outstanding Billfish at 479 pounds with one event left to fish. Finishing third in the tournament with 700 points for tagging and releasing two blue marlin and one sailfish was "Pisces IV," owned by Richard LeVecchia of Charlotte.
"Rookie IV," landed the event^s largest blue marlin at 437.4 pounds, caught by angler Michael Runey. Two other boats landed blue marlin; "Big Kahuna," owned by Rhett Spencer of Florence caught one weighing 372 pounds and "Risky Business," owned by Ken Cannon of Mt. Pleasant boated one weighing 337.4 pounds. One hundred and seventeen boats fished this sixth leg of the seven-tournament Governor^s Cup Series. A total of 87 billfish were caught: 36 blue marlin, 4 white marlin and 47 sailfish. All but three billfish were released. The Charleston Harbor tournament eclipsed its own records set last year, posting new records for total boats fishing a single event, total number of billfish caught in a single day, total number of blue marlin caught in a single event and total number of sailfish caught in a single event.
More billfish were caught in this one tournament than in the previous five Governor^s Cup tournaments combined. Compared with North Carolina^s world-famous Big Rock tournament, the Charleston event posted a 0.37 billfish caught per boat day fished while Big Rock anglers only caught 0.13 billfish per boat day fished.
Teresa Gabrish tagged and released two blue marlin aboard the "Trouble Maker" owned by husband Jim Gabrish of Charleston, to take the Outstanding Female Angler award and move her into the Outstanding Female Angler lead in the overall Series. Brian Williams, 15, won the Outstanding Youth Angler award with a 39- pound dolphin caught on the "Winner^s World," owned by Rudy Williams of Murrells Inlet.
Grant Bentley landed the largest wahoo of the event and the Series at 93.4 pounds on the "Blue Boy", owned by Douglas Heaton of Charleston. Greg Roumillatt caught the largest dolphin of the tournament and the Series at 60 pounds aboard the "Never Enough," owned by Bubba Simmons of Bonneau. The largest yellowfin tuna, 70.4 pounds, was caught by Jay Holder aboard the "Sea Ya II," owned by Mel Miles of Greenville.
In second place in the overall 1999 Governor^s Cup Series is "Mar Jen," owned by Ron Motley of Charleston with 1,750 points. "Mar Jen" also leads in the Outstanding Billfish Conservationist category for tagging and releasing the most billfish. "Trouble Maker" is in third place overall with 1,750 points. ("Mar Jen" holds second place because it earned the points earlier than "Trouble Maker.") "Lucky Devil," owned by Lin Smith of Murrells Inlet, leads in the Bluewater Conservation category with 3,150 points for tagging tuna, dolphin and wahoo.
Billy Tysinger IV, 12, leads the Governor^s Cup Outstanding Youth Angler category with two white marlin tagged and released. Lucas Drake leads the Series with his 72.4-pound yellowfin tuna.
The South Carolina Governor^s Cup, in its 11th season, is an umbrella event encompassing billfishing tournaments along the Palmetto State^s coast. The Series encourages tag and release angling, conservation of South Carolina^s marine resources and promotes coastal tourism.
The final tournament in the S.C. Governor Cup Billfishing Series will be held at Edisto Marina, Edisto Beach July 21-24.
- Written By Jim Goller -