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> Georgia's Presence is Felt at the Shoot-Out in Carolina, By Bill Jarrell
post Jan 14 2006, 10:43 PM
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Georgia's Presence is Felt at the Shoot-Out in Carolina
Published June 2000

A historical moment took place in Charleston, S.C. on April 28th and 29th. Georgia took some folks by surprise while making it's first appearance in the prestigious blue water fishing tournament, the"Shoot-Out" between N.C., and S.C. Georgia is given little if any recognition for itís blue water fishery. So, not many expected we would flash our ability to compete in this
two-day championship tournament. Each state sends their five best boats from their blue water Governor's Cup Series to this annual sporting event. Five boats fish together as a team, competing against the teams from the other two states.

Qualifying order of the boats proudly representing Georgia were "Just Teasin" lead by Capt. Tommy Williams, "Hoo Hunter" by Capt. Eric Traub, "Over Time" owned by Billy Tysinger and captained by Bert Kline, "Stress Factor" by Capt. Richard Guerard, and "Bow Tie" by Capt. Robbie Franklin. Standing by as an alternate was Dr. James Dewberry with his
boat the "Lazy Bonz." It's an honor being invited to this elite tournament for the opportunity to score points for your state in the catching and releasing of beautiful billfish; the sailfish (100-points), white marlin (200) and the large blue marlin (300).

This was a billfish affair. Other prized blue water predators often referred to as "meat fish" like the yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dolphin would normally warrant high esteem. During this contest they were of little importance. The meat fish at best would only be considered if needed to break a billfish tie.

The First Day
Starting out, the tournament looked grim for our Georgia Team. Strong winds combined with 8 to 10-foot seas. Only 2 of Georgia's boats dared traveling out on the first day to fish. They were "Hoo Hunter" and "Over Time." Both boats took a pounding in the rough seas. The Hoo Hunter boated a 40-lb wahoo in 800-feet of water, and landed a small yellowfin tuna.
Steve Ward of the Hoo Hunter sighted a leaping blue marlin, "A small tuna came up on our teaser. The marlin was after the tuna." Completing the first day N.C. held the tournament lead with the catch and release of one billfish, a blue marlin.

Second and Final Day
The seas during the second day were totally different, which is not uncommon for blue water fishing. All 15-boats comfortably fished in 2 to 4-foot seas. Making a statement in the late morning was the "Hoo Hunter." Aboard the Hoo Hunter, I witnessed the blue marlin making an entrance and a lasting impression in my mind. The first marlin repeatedly exploded above the surface, savagely thrashing it's head in protest and shimmering in the sunlight. It streaked through the water, back and
forth, running to each side of the boat before Capt. David Canady muscled it in. A few feet from being wired and qualifying, the fish made an abrupt deep dive. Minutes later the hook pulled loose. All of this action of exploding water, powerful fish jumping, and screaming drag, felt like a fishing fantasy. In less than 90-minutes we had four blue marlin in our baits, battled three of them to the boat and landed two of them. A fifth marlin free jumped in front of our bow.

The crew worked with precision. To say it was intense would be an understatement. One of our crew members, Lamar (Monster) Collins described the intensity, "It'll bring out the dog in you!" Shortly before noon Georgia was leading the tournament. A little later we heard a S.C. boat (the Mar Jen) landed and released a blue marlin. Still we maintained the lead. Then another blue marlin was landed (Trouble Maker) tying S.C. with us for first place. In the final hour of the tournament the radio announced a Georgia boat (Just Teasin) hooked up a sailfish, but it threw the hook. Again a S.C.boat reported a billfish landing. This was the Rookie IV with a sailfish to place S.C. as the top finisher and give them bragging
rights. The point totals were S.C. with 700, GA. 600, and last year's champion N.C. finished with 300 points.

The Blue Marlin
This species is a world renown, streamlined giant of the blue water, highly prized as a powerful game fish with quick acceleration and superb jumping ability. Ernest Hemmingway wrote in detail about a blue marlin as a huge awesome creature in the timeless story of the Old Man and The Sea. It's the largest of the billfish family. Average size landed and released by recreational anglers is between 200 to 400-lbs each. Larger ones are not uncommon.

How large can they get? In 1972, with a rod and reel off the coast of Hawaii, a blue marlin was caught weighing 1805-lbs (not a world record because it took more than one person to fight it to the boat). Japanese commercial fishermen claim they've weighed some exceeding 2,000-lbs. Females attain much larger sizes than their male counterparts. The male
blue marlin rarely reaches 300-lbs.

Georgia's Governor's Cup Bill-fishing Series
This tournament series is already growing in popularity. Completing one year, the series has doubled it's number of tournaments. Last year we held two on the Georgia coast, and now four this year. Golden Isles Marina at St. Simons Island held the opening tournament this season with an entry of 23 boats, up from 13 last year.

For further tournament information about the Georgia Governor's Cup Bill-fishing Series, call either Andrew Dewitt at (912) 659-7079, Tommy Williams at (912) 655-0300 or check their website at: http://web.archive.org/web/20010926185040/http://www.ga-governors-cup.org/

Final Thoughts
Reflecting on Georgia's first appearance in the billfish "Shoot-Out" competition, and experiencing three blue marlins hooked up back to back, each fighting differently, Monster turned towards me aboard the Hoo Hunter and said, "You just don't see this kind of action. Not three blue marlin in an hour." Don't let anyone fool you into thinking Georgians can't blue water fish.

About the Author: Bill Jarrell (Fish-Man) is a passionate fishing journalist living 20-years on the Georgia Coast. From trout to blue marlin, Bill stays busy fishing for them all. e-mail address: fishmanGA@InfoAve.Net
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