Reel Passion lands lead in Carolina Billfish

Reel Passion got off to a good start Friday in its bid to win back-to-back S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series tournaments.

The boat, owned by Bill Ingram and captained by Gary Richardson, released two blue marlin to earn 1,200 release points in the Carolina Billfish Classic being held out of Toler’s Cove Marina in Mount Pleasant.

Reel Passion, which won the Bohicket Marina Billfish Tournament, was second to Miss Wy in the overall standings heading into the Carolina Billfish Classic.

Caramba, owned by Bob Faith and captained by Dale Lackey, is second with 800 points after releasing a blue marlin and a sailfish.

Petrel, owned by Harry Johnson Jr. and captained by Thomas Wynne, also had 800 points for releasing a blue marlin and a sailfish, but Caramba reached the 800-point mark at 1:59 p.m. with a blue marlin release, 12 minutes before Petrel released its blue marlin.

The 28 boats released 16 billfish Friday — nine blue marlin, one white marlin and six sailfish.

The top dolphin was a 40.1-pound catch by Carroll Campbell Jr. aboard Mirage. E.J. Nettles landed the top wahoo, a 34-pound catch aboard Solid Surface, owned by Aaron Nettles and captained by Andy Nettles.

Saturday is the final day of fishing, with the weigh-in at Toler’s Cove scheduled to start at 5 p.m.