Red-hot blue marlin fishing highlighted the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament, an event celebrating its 27th anniversary and also kicking off the 2017 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series. On the first day of the tournament, the participating fleet released 16 blue marlin and brought three qualifying blues to the scales at Bohicket Marina, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in over 10 years.
Gryphon, owned by Colby Griffin and captained by Chucky Moore, topped the fleet with three blue marlin releases. The Mister Pete team had a pair of blues and a sailfish for second place, and Salty Maintenance landed in third with two blue marlin releases.
But the arrival of three blue marlin to the docks really drew a crowd of spectators. Game On, captained by Trey “Cricket” McMillan, won the Outstanding Billfish award with a 500.2-pound blue caught by Game On owner Bubba Roof. Home Run earned second with a 438.4-pound blue marlin, and Rare Breed was third with a 412.8-pound blue.
The Governor’s Cup series advocates conservation by facilitating data exchange between participants and scientists. Blue marlin must be at least 105 inches in length in order to be landed, well exceeding the federal legal limit of 99 inches. The fish that are brought in are iced and cleaned for consumption, while biologists from South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources collect otoliths, determine sex and maturity, record measurements, and investigate the fish’s stomach contents. They also interview each participating team for additional information about their fishing. The collected data is used to form a better understanding of the life history and biology of blue marlin off the South Carolina coast.