The crew of Blue Sky, which won the Megadock Billfishing Tournament last weekend out of Charleston City Marina, brings a blue marlin to the boat. Submitted photo
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After missing ‘hometown tournament,’ Pawleys Island fishing crew makes up for lost time
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
After a rocky start to the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series aboard his new edition of Blue Sky, it all came together for Pawleys Island’s Greg Smith and crew last weekend at the Megadock Billfishing Tournament out of Charleston City Marina.
Smith is breaking in a 2017 60-foot Spencer yacht and had designs on fishing in four of five tournaments in the series.
Working the kinks out of the custom-built yacht caused the Blue Sky crew to miss the 50th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament in May and one day of fishing in the Carolina Billfish Classic in June, the second and third events of the series.
“We’ve just been shaking out some new boat problems – they just seem to happen at the wrong time,” said Smith. “Hopefully that’s all behind us now.”
As a Georgetown County resident, missing the 50th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament was a bummer for Smith.
“We’ve been in Georgetown since 2001 and that’s my hometown tournament,” said Smith, who docks the boat at Hazzard Marine in Georgetown. “That being number 50, it was pretty hard. We’ll be back there next year.”
The Blue Sky crew finally fished a complete tournament in the Megadock, releasing a total of 10 sailfish and one blue marlin in two superb days of fishing to win the fourth of five events in the Governor’s Cup series.
“We were happy to get everything behind us and get to do the whole tournament and do well,” said Blue Sky Capt. Jay Weaver, also a Pawleys Island resident. “Winning it made us all feel a lot better with the troubles we’ve had.”
Blue Sky released four sailfish and the blue marlin on the first day of fishing before releasing six sails last Friday on their second day to finish with 2,600 points, tied for most points in a series event this year.
Current Governor’s Cup leader Gryphon finished second with 2,200 points after releasing five sails and a blue marlin.
Gryphon holds a commanding series lead – 5,875 points to second-place Mister Pete’s 3,875 – heading into the series finale, the Edisto Invitational Billfish Tournament scheduled for next week (July 19-22).
Weaver is in his first year as captain of Blue Sky, after years of serving as skipper of Charleston-based Daymaker. The Governor’s Cup veteran had four naked ballyhoo on small rods for sailfish and a lure for blue marlin on an 80-pound class rod in his trolling spread.
“It was a really good sailfish bite,” said Weaver. “We fish naked ballyhoo on circle hooks. Once this time of year comes around and there are less marlin, we go to all naked.”
For more information on the tournament and the series, visit www.govcup.dnr.sc.gov.
Conway Bassmasters Tournament
Patrick Cook and Joey McLean weighed in a five-bass limit of 14.47 pounds to win the Conway Bassmasters Annual River Fest Bass Tournament last Saturday out of Bucksport Marina.
Cook and McLean, of the Hemingway area, finished atop a field of 57 teams to earn $1,400.
“We paid out just over $6,000. It was a good turnout and a good payback,” said tournament director Chris Jones.
The husband-wife team of Ricky and Karen Bellamy of Longs finished second with a five-fish limit of 13.17 pounds to win $800. The father-son team of Timmy and River Squires of Conway won third place and $600 with a five-fish limit of 12.46 pounds.
The big fish, a 5.97-pounder, was weighed in by Ryan and Wayne Marsh of Myrtle Beach, earning $300.
Anglers interested in competing in future bass tournaments out of Conway can contact Chris Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.