MOUNT PLEASANT -- Daymaker released a white marlin and two sailfish and grabbed the lead Thursday after the opening day in the inaugural Carolina Billfish Classic being fished out of Charleston Harbor Marina, Harbour Town Yacht Club on Hilton Head Island and Georgetown Landing.
Daymaker, a 52-foot Viking owned by Mark Daniels and captained by Jay Weaver, has 700 points, while Rascal and Second Love III each have 600 points for releasing three sailfish. Rascal, a 50-foot Hatteras, is owned by Norman Pulliam and captained by Mark Rogers. Second Love III is a 43-foot Hatteras owned and captained by Arthur Swygert.
The Carolina Billfish Classic is the third of five events in the South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series. Boats earn 600 points for a blue marlin release, 300 for a white marlin and 200 for a sailfish. The participants released a total of 14 sailfish and the one white marlin Thursday.
The tournament continues through Saturday, with boats allowed to fish two out of three days, captain's choice. The weigh station is open from 5-8 p.m. today and 5-7 p.m. Saturday.
The 50 boats participating in the tournament are competing for almost $250,000 in the various categories. First place, based on points, pays $20,000, and second pays $10,000. But there is another $78,120 up for grabs in the optional catch and release division.
There also is a $10,000 top prize for boats in the 40-feet and under category, with the Scout 34 team leading that competition with a sailfish release.
Twenty-four boats are participating in the Million Dollar Classic division and are eligible for a $1 million prize if they break the state record in any of four categories -- blue marlin (881 pounds, 13 ounces); dolphin (77-8); wahoo (130-5); or yellowfin tuna (241-12).
In the non-billfish categories, Anne Brady Moore Carlson caught a 62.4-pound dolphin aboard Rascal, topping another monster dolphin, 54.2 pounds, caught by Abraham Kuhn aboard Sportin' Life. Monty Montgomery, aboard Fat Boy, leads the tuna division with a 12.2-pound catch. No wahoo were weighed.