JOHNS ISLAND -- Bill Ingram has a "For Sale" sign hanging on Reel Passion, his 48-foot Richie Howell-designed boat. But he and his crew had to be rethinking the decision to sell after this week's Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament.
Reel Passion, captained by Gary Richardson with Thomas Garmany serving as first mate, had a billfish grand slam Friday, releasing a blue marlin, two white marlin and a sailfish. On Saturday's final day of fishing, Reel Passion released two more white marlin, scoring an easy victory in the opening
leg of the 2011 South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series.
Reel Passion, which fishes locally out of Toler's Cove in Mount Pleasant, won $22,255.
Blue marlin releases score 600 points in Governor's Cup events; white marlin releases earn 300 points; and sailfish releases are valued at 200 points.
Second place went to Daymaker with 900 points for releasing a blue marlin and a white marlin. Emily Bliss took third, based on time, with two white marlin releases on Thursday.
The reason for Ingram's "For Sale" sign is that he has another boat in Florida that was a day or so away from being ready to fish the Bohicket tournament. And he said he and his crew members have been asking themselves throughout the tournament if they needed to remove the sign.
"This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can't begin to describe how it feels," said Ingram, an investment banker from Charlotte. "And we could have been in position for another grand slam today. We jumped a sailfish and Daymaker caught their blue marlin right in the same area."
Amy Bennett, aboard Rodeo, was the top female angler with a white marlin release on Friday.
In the non-billfish categories, worth $1,500 each, Daymaker caught the top dolphin at 30.6 pounds and Blue Sky had the top wahoo, a 73.8-pound catch, and Mutts & Jeff won with a 9.6-pound blackfin. Emily Bliss received the tournament trophy, however, with an 11.6-pound skipjack. Bohicket rules had specified that only a yellowfin or blackfin tuna was eligible for the cash.
The next Governor's Cup event is the 44th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament, which will be fished May 25-28.