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Report from 2 local fishing tournaments

image: men fishing
Crew of ‘Wasted Time’ finds timing perfect for prized 100-pound wahoo
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

A pair of spring fishing tournaments, one focusing offshore in the blue water and one inside Murrells Inlet, concluded last weekend.
S.C. Wahoo Series
Owner Wally Lee of Bishopville and Capt. Danny Carey of Myrtle Beach are breaking in Wasted Time this spring after Lee purchased the 2004 58-foot Buddy Davis convertible in December.
After a pair of initial voyages went awry due to engine and electronics trouble, the crew’s initial offshore trolling venture aboard the boat on March 29 was one to remember.
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“The first two days we didn’t make it past the jetties, so the third time was the charm,” said Carey, who runs the boat out of Marlin Quay Marina in Murrells Inlet.
Competing in the South Carolina Wahoo Series, Wasted Time weighed in a 100.5-pound wahoo to take over the lead in the tournament that ran from Feb. 3 through April 22 with boats allowed to fish two days.

Wasted Time’s crew followed up their inaugural voyage with their second trip on April 11 and weighed in a 53-pounder for a 153.5-pound total to win the state-wide tournament over an outstanding field of 111 boats.
“Looking at the people fishing in that tournament, Jay Sconyers, Ned Campbell, Brant McMullan among others, it was a good tournament,” said Carey. “We felt really good how it turned out for us. That field was heavy.”
The Wasted Time crew found superb fishing on both days, trolling an area about eight miles north of the Georgetown Hole on both trips.
On the first day, the crew started by catching the winning tuna of the tournament, a 29-pound blackfin, and wahoo in the 40-to-50 pound class. Carey knew those were nice wahoo, but weren’t going to be tournament-winning fish. He switched to high-speed trolling.
“We caught two 50-pounders and then five minutes after that we caught the 100-pounder,” said Carey, who noted Jonathan Stanton of Murrells Inlet served as the angler on the fish.
“We knew 97 pounds was leading the tournament,” said Carey. “I’ve caught plenty of 80-pounders in my day and I knew it was more than that. The guess was mid-90s on the boat. It weighed 102 pounds at Seven Seas Seafood (in Murrells Inlet). We knew we had a contender.”
The next day, on official tournament scales at Toler’s Cove Marina in Mt. Pleasant, the fish weighed 100.5 pounds, and Wasted Time was in the lead.
The crew still needed a quality second wahoo, and they got it on April 11, weighing in the 53-pounder on a day where they caught 11 wahoo and a nice mix of tuna, dolphin and king mackerel.
Aside from winning the overall championship and catching the largest tuna, the crew also won awards for Senior Angler (Wally Lee) and Lady Angler (Katherine Carr). Carr was the angler on the 53-pounder. The crew won the top prize of $20,000 and earned over $60,000 for the win.
Rounding out the top five boats were Hay Fever (140.5 pounds), Vindicator (136.5), Gross Tonnage (134.2 pounds) and Team Yellowfin Only/OIFC (127.5).

image: man with flounder
Scott Wilkerson of Orrum, N.C., shows off the 5.89-pound flounder that won the 2017 Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers Flounder Tournament. Contributed photo

GSSWAA Flounder Tournament
Scott Wilkerson is a big fan of the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers Flounder Tournament, and has fished the 16-year-old tournament the last eight years.
The resident of Orrum, N.C., in Robeson County, a short drive from Murrells Inlet, finished third in the event a few years ago, but has longed to catch the largest flounder in the tournament over the years.
Last Saturday, Wilkerson finally got it..
Wilkerson, fishing with his father, John Wilkerson, and 15-year-old son, Jonathan, caught and weighed in a 5.89-pound flounder to earn the first-prize of $1,500 for the top flounder weighed into the tournament.
“I’ve been chasing this for a long time and I’m glad to get it,” said Wilkerson. “I’m really happy with this, very proud.”
Wilkerson and company rented a house in Inlet Harbor for the tournament, allowing easy access to the inlet for the tournament. It’s become a yearly event.
“This tournament has been good to us,” said Wilkerson. “This year we had 15 in the house, adults and kids. I really like the fact that when we go, a lot of the guys that put this thing on, they recognize us. It’s just like a hometown deal, we feel at home going.”
It didn’t take the Wilkersons long to hook into their winning fish on the windy Saturday.
“I’ve been fishing Murrells Inlet for 12 years, and I’ve got a couple secret spots,” said Wilkerson.
The Wilkersons started off fishing one of those spots and quickly caught several throwbacks under South Carolina’s 14-inch minimum size limit while slow-trolling mud minnows on two-hook rigs, on a rising tide.
After catching multiple small fish, Wilkerson was surprised when he got the big bite.
“When I hooked up with it I had no idea it was going to be as big as it was,” said Wilkerson. “Everything on the boat was out of position and I did everything wrong to net him. I hit him with the net, I netted him tail first, but I was able to get the net under him. It was definitely a heart-pounding moment.”
After he had the doormat in the boat, Wilkerson had to take a break.
“After I netted him and realized what we had done, I let the boat drift into the marsh to gather my thoughts,” said Wilkerson. “We had only been fishing for a little while when I got him. To get something like that in a tournament in the first hour, it was like, ‘What did I just do?’ ”
Kenny Jacobs finished second with a 5.43-pound flounder to win $600. The top two fish both measured 23 inches. Haslin Rogers finished third with a 3.7-pound flounder.
Nathan Vereen won the Youth Division with a 1.97-pound flounder followed by Myra Leach (1.88 pounds) and Ben Purdue (1.70 pounds).
Mark Scott won the bluefish division with a 1.25-pounder. A special tagged flounder – caught, tagged and released before the tournament – was not caught by any of the 268 adult or six youth anglers fishing in the tournament. A total of 52 flounder and 10 bluefish were weighed in during the competition.