The MegaDock Billfishing Tournament, the final event in the 2015 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series, produced drama and intrigue when it wrapped up at the City Marina.
Artemis, owned by John Darby and captained by Legare Smith, released two blue marlin Saturday for 1,200 points to finish first in the tournament. And Reel Passion, the Series leader going into the MegaDock tournament, released a blue marlin to secure the overall Governor’s Cup championship.
Sportin’ Life, owned by Manly and Graham Eubank and captained by Bobby Garmany, finished second in the tournament with five total sailfish releases, including one sailfish Saturday, for 1,000 points. Can’t Complain, owned by Mullins McLeod and captained by Buddy Aimar, also had 1,000 points with a total of five sailfish releases.
Tournament participants released 12 blue marlin, one white marlin and 17 sailfish.
The non-billfish category winners were: wahoo — Daymaker, 37.6 pounds; dolphin — Can’t Complain, 27.9 pounds; and tuna — Daymaker, 15.4 pounds.
For much of Saturday, Artemis had been reported as releasing one blue marlin with the crew’s second blue being credited to another boat. So it wasn’t until Artemis returned to the dock flying two blue marlin release flags that the confusion was straightened out.
Another boat, Swagger out of Miami, Fla., also released two blue marlin and two sailfish and would have won the title if not for an inadvertent rules violation. The Swagger crew disqualified one of its blue marlin because the fish initially took two different baits, making it an illegal catch under IGFA regulations. Swagger also finished with 1,000 points.
Reel Passion, which won the two previous Governor’s Cup tournaments, won its second Governor’s Cup Series. Reel Passion also was the overall champion in 2011. Bill Ingram is the owner and Gary Richardson the captain of the boat that fishes out of Bohicket Marina.
“It feels pretty good,” said Ingram, whose boat spent the past two seasons fishing in the Dominican Republic. “It’s nice to be consistent. The crew did a nice job today and all year long. It’s all about consistency.
“We have had a great year here. We’ve fished seven or eight times and released nine blues.”
Ingram said no one got nervous Saturday, but the 10:33 blue marlin release did bring a sigh of relief. Second-place Miss Wy released a blue marlin Thursday to close within 900 points, or one blue and one white marlin, of Reel Passion. But Miss Wy was unable to gain any more ground.