The 2016 MegaDock Billfishing Tournament was a mega-success.
Fueled by a phenomenal sailfish bite, the North Carolina-based boat Hammer Time soared to victory. Hammer Time, owned by Steve Mozeley and captained by Austin Eubank, released eight sailfish Saturday to go along with two sailfish releases on Thursday to finish with 2,000 points. Hammer Time had the first sailfish release Saturday at 8:16 a.m. as well as the last at 2:59 p.m., just a minute before lines had to come out of the water.
Twenty-eight boats entered in the tournament released 78 billfish – 71 sailfish, six blue marlin and one white marlin, an average of 2.78 billfish per boat. Saturday’s tally was 37 sailfish along with one blue and one white. The three previous S.C. Governor’s Cup events produced a total of 39 sailfish, seven white marlin and 11 blue marlin, all but two of which were released. Hammer Time won a total of $75,165.
Second-place went to first-day MegaDock leader Electric Bill which fishes out of Toler’s Cove Marina in Mount Pleasant. Electric Bill, owned and captained by Chad Sanders, added one sailfish Saturday and finished with 1,200 points after releasing two sailfish and a blue marlin Thursday.
Take Five, a North Carolina boat owned by Van Narron and captained by Teak Bell, finished third with six sailfish releases for 1,200 points. Take Five had three releases Thursday and three Saturday.
In the non-billfish categories, Houdini won the dolphin division with a 54.0-pound catch; Miss Wy won the tuna division with a 24.3-pound blackfin; and Coverage had the top wahoo at 25.9 pounds.
Chandler Griffin, 14, fishing aboard Gryphon, was the top youth angler with four sailfish releases. Rance Jennings, 12, aboard Micabe, was second with three sailfish releases. Graham Rogers, aboard Rascal, was third with one sailfish release.
Susannah Nelson, aboard Artemis, was the top female angler with three sailfish releases. Alana Redd, aboard El Tejano, was second with one sailfish release and Hanna Sharpe, aboard Sea Tiger, was third, also with one sailfish release.
The final 2016 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series tournament is the Edisto Invitational Billfish Tournament July 20-23.