MOUNT PLEASANT -- A good day of fishing turned outstanding for Caramba during the final 30 minutes of the inaugural Carolina Billfish Classic being fished out of Charleston Harbor Marina at Patriots Point along with Harbour Town Yacht Club on Hilton Head Island and Georgetown Landing.
Caramba, owned by Bob Faith, had just released its third sailfish of the day but was in fourth place in the tournament and was frantically trying to find more sailfish to move up in the standings as the 3 p.m. deadline approached.
Captain Dale Lackey began screaming to his crew members that a blue marlin (worth 600 points versus 200 for sailfish) was darting through the baits.
"We had one 80 (-pound rod and reel) out, and fortunately it hit that one," Lackey said.
Faith said Caramba was in a pod of boats working the sailfish, and asked the other participants for room and they obliged.
"It couldn't have happened any better," Lackey said. "Game On had just landed its fourth sailfish, and the only way for us to move up was to land a blue marlin."
This was the second straight win in the South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series for Caramba, which won the Georgetown Landing Blue Marlin Tournament a few weeks ago by releasing two blue marlin. And Caramba did it again at the expense of Daymaker, owned by Mark Daniels and captained by Jay Weaver.
Daymaker finished second in the Georgetown tournament with a white marlin and two sailfish, and was leading the Carolina Billfish Classic going into Saturday, having caught a white marlin and six sailfish for 1,500 points through its two allocated fishing days. Caramba finished the Carolina Billfish Classic with 1,600 points for five sailfish and one blue marlin.
Caramba won a total of $61,872, while Daymaker earned $30,936. Game On, which had 1,000 points, finished third and earned $7,812 from the tournament within a tournament.
Southbound won the under-40 division with a sailfish release and 200 points, worth $7,500.
There was one change in the meatfish division with the first wahoo brought to the dock, a 52.4-pound catch by Matt Watson aboard Chaos. Anne Brady Moore Carlson had the top dolphin at 62.4 pounds. Monty Montgomery, aboard Fat Boy, won the the tuna division with a 12.2-pound catch.
Kelli Roof, aboard Game On, was the top lady angler, followed by Carlson aboard Rascal and Jessica Geiges on Shark Byte. Dylan Wallace, aboard Scout 34, was the top youth angler followed by Rance Jennings.
Reach Tommy Braswell at firstname.lastname@example.org.