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51st annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament

A crew member aboard Mister Pete watches a blue marlin breach the surface during last weekend’s 51st annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament out of Georgetown Landing Marina. Mister Pete released three blue marlin in two days of fishing to win tournament, which was the second of the 2018 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series. Courtesy of Mister Pete crew
This crew is off to a dominating start in S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

June 01, 2018 05:28 PM

It’s two down and three to go for Bob and Rusty McClam’s crew aboard Mister Pete in the 2018 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series.

The McClam brothers of Chapin, owners of the 58-foot C&L with Capt. Alan Neiford at the helm, have dominated the 30th annual Governor’s Cup series thus far, winning the series opener at Bohicket Marina on May 12 and then the 51st annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament last weekend out of Georgetown Landing Marina.

After releasing four blue marlin in the Bohicket tournament, Mister Pete followed it up by releasing three blue marlin to capture the prestigious Georgetown tournament, the oldest billfish tournament in South Carolina, last Saturday.

The series totals through two events reveals just how dominating Mister Pete has been. Mister Pete leads with 4,250 points, followed by Sportin’ Life with 2,450 and Full Pull with 2,250.
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“We’re extremely pleased with the results,” said Neiford.

Glazed and Syked Out both released a blue marlin and a white marlin to finish with 900 points, but Glazed reached its point total first to claim second place.

Glazed, owned by Miles Herring of Murrells Inlet, released its blue marlin Saturday at 10:45 a.m. to get to 900 points, before Syked Out released a white marlin a little over an hour later, at 11:50 a.m., to reach 900.

Blue marlin releases earn 600 points, white marlin 300 and sailfish 200 in Governor’s Cup events.

Mister Pete released one blue marlin on the first day of fishing (May 24), then released two on the second day (May 25) to compile 1,800 points. Entering the third and final day of fishing, Mister Pete held a 1,200-point lead over numerous boats tied for second place with 600 points.

From there, the Mister Pete crew, which also included Terry Caulder, mates George Campsen and J. Rhode, had to sit on the hill and wait to see if the lead would hold up while 26 boats of the field of 58 fished Saturday.

“The suspense, it was terrible,” said Neiford. “We definitely thought there were more than enough people out there with ability to catch us. There’s a lot of talent out there. We were on pins and needles until 3 p.m. (lines out time), but I have a couple happy bosses.”

The 58 boats combined to release 17 blue marlin, 11 sailfish, two white marlin and one spearfish. No blue marlin were brought to the dock.

On the first day of fishing, Neiford headed 80 miles south-southeast of Georgetown to fish an area near the South Carolina Memorial Reef.

Bob McClam was the angler on the lone blue marlin the crew caught and released that day, as the fish hit a deep bait.

The decisive stretch of the tournament came the next day when the Mister Pete crew had three blue marlin encounters in a little over two hours.

They released one blue marlin at 11:10 a.m. and, just after missing the second fish, released another blue at 1:27 p.m.

After fishing well to the south a day earlier, Neiford had changed it up and was working an area just south of the Georgetown Hole, about 50 miles south-southeast of Georgetown.

“In the morning we couldn’t find the water we were looking for,” said Neiford. “We headed north to intercept the good water and we came across the bait that was holding fish. All three (blues) came off the pods of bait.”

Caulder was the angler on the first blue while Sen. Chip Campsen was the angler on the second. Both fish hit trolling plugs.

With a good head start on the field, the Mister Pete crew is in it for the duration with plans to fish all five events in the series, which was inaugurated three decades ago as the brainchild of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell.

“We can’t say how happy we are with the Governor’s Cup and all the sponsors that make all this happen,” said Neiford. “The Georgetown Tournament was great.”

The third event in the series is the Carolina Billfish Classic, scheduled for June 20-23 out of the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina in Mount Pleasant.
Award Winners

The award winners in the Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament:

Outstanding Billfish Boat – 1st Place: Mister Pete.

Outstanding Billfish Boat – 2nd Place: Glazed.

Outstanding Billfish Boat – 3rd Place: Syked Out.

Outstanding Billfish Conservationist: Mister Pete.

Outstanding Dolphin: Brian McCaffree, Game Changer, 41.3 pounds.

Outstanding Tuna: Carlyle Willis, Christy II, 15.8 pounds.

Outstanding Wahoo: Ryan McFaden, Daymaker, 27.2 pounds.

Outstanding Youth Angler – 1st Place: Chandler Griffin, Gryphon, one blue marlin release.

Outstanding Youth Angler – 2nd Place: Rance Jennings, Micabe, one sailfish release.

Outstanding Youth Angler – 3rd Place: Iain Rhye, Grander, 29.4-pound dolphin.

Outstanding Female Angler – 1st Place: Holly McAlhany, Syked Out, one blue marlin and one sailfish released.

Outstanding Female Angler – 2nd Place: Eugenie Barrow, Legal Holiday, one blue marlin and one sailfish released.

Outstanding Female Angler – 3rd Place: Kathy Baxley, El Tejano, one blue marlin released.