A Day with The Reel Deal Charters out of Charleston SC
January 27, 2012
Torqeedo Powers Inflatable Sea Eagle Tender
January 27, 2012

Caramba Wins The Carolina Billfish Classic

My day began at 7 am on a Saturday. The anticipation of the events ahead of me was excitement enough to set off the obnoxious internal alarm clock that I have. Today was the final day of The Governor’s Cup Series, Carolina Classic Billfish Tournament. The Captain’s dinner and Awards Ceremony was held at one of my favorite places to go to in Mount Pleasant called Shem Creek. at an event facility referred to as Cottage on the Creek.  It is a beautifully quaint area that is aligned with shrimp boats, restaurants and charter boats.

I arrived there early and decided to stroll along the creek and grab some lunch. I stumbled on a boat called The Teaser 2  that had just come in with the days catch and some happy patrons aboard. Teaser 2 is a 45′ custom built sportfisherman and is captained by Mark Brown. The boat is powered by two 460 horsepower Lugger diesel engines and rigged for trolling or bottom fishing. Depending on what time of year it is as to whether they concentrate on meatfish, sportfish or bottom fish. Today they concentrated on bottom fishing and had the catch to prove it, with lots of black sea bass and vermilion snappers . Enough to make me hungry! Which led me to my next destination…

Shem Creek Bar and Grill. It is nestled along the creek with 100 yr. old oak trees in the front and a boardwalk leading you to a cabana with a floating dock below. I was greeted with true southern hospitality as Drew Whetzeo shucked my little helper (Hunter Cushman) and I some local oysters. We dined on She Crab Soup, Shrimp and Grits (a lowcountry favorite) and a Seafood Pasta which hit the spot! Off to the Toller’s Cove Marina for the final weigh in.

The seas were calmer than the day before which is a help to the fisherman but can be a hindrance on the catch, as we all know. The leaderboard was looking promising but these guys had a two hour window for weighing in their fish and alot can change in two hours. I waited alongside two young brothers as looked out over the marina for new boats to come in. Their brotherly love is enviable and I can’t help but smile over the fact that the older brother is proudly wearing a Guy Harvey T-shirt at this event!

I headed back before the final weigh in to set up my booth for Guy Harvey Sand Carved Glass by Lex Melfi. I changed clothes for the third time and put on my party dress. I thought a bathing suit top would not suffice for the big event by some peoples standards. Cottage on the Creek was the perfect setting for the 31 boat captains and their crew to celebrate and accept their awards.

Deidre Menefee, tournament director for CBC, did a spectacular job in gathering sponsors and arranging for all of us to be so comfortable. I managed to get Lex Melfi (the Sand Carved Glass Artist who is depicting Guy Harvey’s work onto glass) to show up, even though Lex is somewhat of an introvert when it comes to large crowds but one of the most incredible people that you will ever meet. He did well, showing off his portfolio to a female lady angler who was amazed by his fine work. We displayed another piece of his glass, a 28″ diameter sand carved octopus, that was illuminated for all to see and admire.

The crowd was fed well once again by Charleston Outdoor Catering with terriyaki beef tenderloin, deviled crab, grilled mahi with an herbed lemon butter, cajun grilled shrimp and a variety of fresh fruit with brie. Jamie Wessendorf, the owner of this catering company has been doing catering for fishing tournaments and in business for over 40 yrs and knows just what to feed us after a long, hot day out on the boat.

Back to fish talk…

Two boats were in close competition for the CBC title. Sportin’ Life, which won the last Governor’s Cup event at Gerogetown, was ahead of Caramba by 100 points by Day 2. However, Caramba which had three sailfish releases and one blue marlin release on Day Two, ended up releasing three more sailfish on the final Day!! Bob Faith, the owner of Caramaba and Dale Lackey is captain. The same team that won the 2010 CBC. The unofficial results gave Caramaba the CBC title with a total of 1800 points.

Sportin’ Life released a blue marlin and a sailfish on Day Two, and added a white marlin release and two more sailfish releases on Day Three. Daymaker had four sailfish releases on Day One and added two more sailfish releases on Day Three. Rascal had three sailfish releases on Day One.

The weigh-in included two changes in the meatfish divisions. Chip Jones brought a 12.8-pound tuna to the docks, giving the tuna division to Syked Out. While Full Pull angler Lenny Cannon delivered a 52.2-pound bull dolphin to take the top spot in the division. Matt Key’s Day One wahoo held up to win that division for El Tejano.

Carolina Billfish Classic FINAL RESULTS

1st Place Youth Angler
Cordes Johnson
3.8 lb Dolphin

2nd Place Youth Angler
Conner Teske
Double Eagle

1st Place Lady Angler
Amy Bennett
White Marlin – Released

2nd Place Lady Angler
Cissy Bonifay
El Tejano
19.8 lb Dolphin

Dolphin – 1st
Lenny Cannon
Full Pull
52.5 lbs

Tuna – 1st
Jeff Jones
Syked Out
12.8 lbs

Wahoo – 1st
Matt Key
El Tejano
27.8 lbs

Billfish Division
1st – Caramba 1800 pts
2nd – Sportin Life 1500 pts

Look for my next blog where I am covering The Megadock Tournament and will be fishing this one! Nothing like on the boat action reporting. It’s a good thing that I am a multi-tasker with a pen in my mouth, a rod in my hand and a camera around my neck, I should be just fine. 


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