South Carolina….A True Blue Water Angler’s Sportin’ Life
The 53rd annual Georgetown, SC Blue Marlin Tournament 2021 has made the history books. The Veterans weekend tourney shatters all records for the popular SC Governor’s Cup Blue Marlin Series. In just two days, 68 boats caught and released a whopping 44 Blue Marlin, with a single large one also brought to the hill at 445 lbs!!! Georgetown’s last record was 23 fish with this year exceeding that catch by 21 fish. Hopefully, this year demonstrates that conservation works and that our offshore environment is healthy at the top of the pelagic food chain.
The largest fish was caught by my good friend, Capt. Mike Glaesner aboard the Charleston-based vessel, Sportin’Life, owned by the fine family of Graham Eubanks. Mike is no stranger to this tournament as this is his 3rd time over the years of landing the largest Blue Marlin in 2008, 2013, and 2014 during the Georgetown BMT. Impressive fishing for sure!!! Several boats had 2 and 3 releases over the two days creating an atmosphere where literally everyone had a shot, pulled a hook, or was successful. White release flags dominated the docks at Georgetown Landing Marina, where war wagons outriggers tip to tip waved in the southwest breeze. An awesome sight as I was there to witness the excitement of many friends and fellow fishermen. I too had the privilege of bringing in the 1st Blue to Georgetown Landing Marina and was blessed with the weigh-in of a 495 Lb Blue in the 1986 tourney with my beloved father on our vessel, the “Berry-Cuda”. Yes, this place, this tournament is and always will be a special memory. But Georgetown represents what’s 55 miles offshore that’s so special—perhaps the best bottom and water regimes on the east coast.
The Sportin’ Life caught their fish down south fishing a Gulf Stream break on a back loop eddy just west of the Bubble Rock. Other anglers were successful in the famous Georgetown Hole and also up to the north along the 100-fathom break which I named the “Winyah Scarp” on Maps Unique.
To me, it was no surprise that this year’s tourney would be the best ever. Roff’s data showed a glorious situation where the Gulf Stream was up on the 30 to 100-fathom break for the entire southeast. Plus there were 6 major eddies on the western wall of the current producing ideal conditions for upwelling’s, color and temp breaks, and Sargasso weed lines. Our weekly forecast at www.saltwateranglerfish.com predicted this and I was pleased because science showed it to be so and it was indeed.
It will be interesting to compare the upcoming Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament to Georgetown. Big Rock is always hot and it is perhaps the best well-known historic Marlin tournament in the world. Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras are where the mighty Gulfstream collides with the cooler Labrador Current. It represents the best habitat in the world for Blue marlin, Bluefin Tuna, and other prized pelagic species. But the Big Rock tourney fishes twice the days than Georgetown. It will be a challenge for Big Rock to reach a 44 Blue marlin count in 2 days. We shall see!!!
But the good news to all stakeholders that fish blue water, Georgetown this year displayed its prominence as a world-class fishery. I also pray that this situation shows that our offshore fisheries are healthy and sustainable. That should be every angler’s gold standard. We need a healthy environment where fisheries are well managed and not only sustainable but increasing in healthy stocks of all species.
The best days of my life occurred during the time that my late father, Dr. J.B. Berry, and I bonded in blue water. That is also the place where I found all truth and God’s many blessings. I hope that many more families and friends bond in blue water as I did with my father and friends. And hopefully, all will become conservationists to this special place. You must be present to experience it and you must be present to win!!!
A special note: Capt. Jim Johnson, owner of the “Blue Sky” (also released a fish this year at Georgetown) is ported in Georgetown. Jim and his fishing partner, Capt. Boney Peace showed me how to rig a large swimming Mullet for Blue Marlin many years ago. On my 1st charter trip as a new captain on 6/17/1978, I caught my 1st Blue Marlin which changed my life. I had 3 Blue Marlin in my Mullet spread for five minutes and out of frustration, I finally free-spooled one. Yes, I hooked my 1st Blue and caught it. Thanks, Jim and Boney—you changed my life!! Thanks for your many years to host and promote the Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament. Your efforts are noticed and appreciated.