The crew of Cacique, a 64-foot Viking out of Virginia Beach, Va., had been wanting to fish the Charleston Angler MegaDock Billfishing Tournament for several years but it didn't quite fit into their schedule until this year.
The Charleston City Marina turned out to be a convenient stopping point on the trip home from the Bahamas Billfish Championship, and Cacique made the most of its opportunity, releasing five sailfish Thursday on the opening day of the event, the fourth of five tournaments that comprise the South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series.
Cacique, owned by Larry Edwards and Paul Coury and captained by Harvey Shiflet, earned 1,000 points and holds a 200-point advantage over Jabez, owned by Carl Ulm, which released four sailfish. Full Pull is third with 700 points after releasing two sailfish and a white marlin.
Forty-two of the 48 boats entered in the tournament fished Thursday and released 42 billfish -- 40 sailfish and two white marlin.
Game On leads the dolphin division with a 30.4-pound catch; Rodeo has the top tuna, 21.4 pounds; and El Tejano has the top wahoo, 42.4 pounds.
Shiflet said he fished the Charleston area shortly after graduating from South Carolina but had not fished here in more than 20 years. He relied on information from other boat captains to find the general area and then found some good water to work. In addition to the five sailfish released, Cacique jumped off white marlin and saw three more sailfish.
Fishing runs through Saturday with boats allowed to fish two out of three days, captain's choice. Daily weigh-ins run from 5-7 p.m. Public parking is located at the corner of Lockwood Boulevard and Broad Street with free shuttle service.