Reel Passion Takes Top Honors in the Carolina Billfish Classic

Multiple billfish releases earn the team win in Leg Three of the South Carolina Governor’s Cup

team reel passion at the 2018 carolina billfish classic
The Reel Passion team is happy with their finish — they currently are sitting in ninth for the series after this week's win.Courtesy Cameron J. Rhodes / South Carolina Governor’s Cup

For 20 years, the Carolina Billfish Classic has been steeped in family and tradition. The tournament took time during the event to honor two Charleston fishing community members, who were lost earlier this year. Invited were the families of Manly Eubank and Capt. Buck “Tojo” Morris, for a special ceremony to celebrate their lives and dedicate a plaque — designed by artist Michael Forbes — in their honor, now displayed at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina in memory.

Fishing families from all areas of the Carolinas were on hand to take advantage of the good bite in this third leg of the Governor’s Cup Series in Charleston, South Carolina.

Team Reel Passion, captained by Gary Richardson, were in the sails — releasing seven — and also had a white marlin kicker to win the tournament. Second-place was awarded to Graham Eubank's team on Sportin' Life, with two blue marlin and two sailfish releases. And in third, was Capt. Larry Branham's team on Grander, who managed two blue marlin and one sailfish release.

The dolphin bite was also red-hot and brought many bulls over 40 pounds to the scales — the largest weighing in at 54.4 pounds caught by the team aboard Legacy.

Holly McAlhany earned the top lady angler award with one blue marlin release for her team, Syked Out and River Simmons of the Rare Breed team took top youth angler, also with one blue marlin release.

The 2018 Carolina Billfish Classic hosted 55 teams, who released 17 blue marlin, 48 sails and three white marlin for a total of 68 billfish in the three-day event. No blue marlin met the qualifying 105-inch requirement for weigh-in.

The Megadock Billfishing Tournament is the fourth leg of the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series, and will be held July 11-14, 2018 in Charleston, South Carolina.

team sportin life at the 2018 carolina billfish classic
The second-place team, Sportin' Life is sitting pretty for the Governor's Cup Series, occupying the third-place position.Courtesy Cameron J. Rhodes / South Carolina Governor’s Cup
team grander at the 2018 carolina billfish classic
The Grander team with their third-place award is also in the hunt for the series championship, sitting in fourth.Courtesy Cameron J. Rhodes / South Carolina Governor’s Cup
angler holding mahi at 2018 carolina billfish classic
Several slammers were brought to the scales this week, including this 54.4-pounder, who took a buggy trip to the weigh-in for the team aboard Legacy.Courtesy Cameron J. Rhodes / South Carolina Governor’s Cup
top female angler at the 2018 carolina billfish classic
Holly McAlhany accepts her top female angler award for her hard work aboard Syked Out.Courtesy Cameron J. Rhodes / South Carolina Governor’s Cup
top youth angler at the 2018 carolina billfish classic
The top youth angler, River Simmons released a blue marlin for his team on Rare Breed.Courtesy Cameron J. Rhodes / South Carolina Governor’s Cup
fleet of yachts at the 2018 carolina billfish classic
The “Red Sky at Night” made good fishing for the fleet of 55 at the five-star Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina.Courtesy Hugh McLaren