This certainly wasn’t Casual Friday. The 52 boats fishing Day Two of the 17th Annual VBBT put on a light-tackle clinic with several scoring five or more billfish for their efforts. But it was Game On that really had their game faces on. The 66 Spencer scored two sails, a blue marlin and five whites to take the day’s top honors. The bite was steady and 126 billfish were released for the day.
“We just got lucky,” Capt. Bennett Griffin says. “We hung a pair of sails about 9 am and the boat’s builder, Paul Spencer, was one of the anglers. We had just put the engines back in gear when about a 300-pound blue ate and started doing a windshield wiper with its bill. Paul got after it quick and 41 minutes later he caught his white marlin for a personal grand slam. We kidded him about it the rest of the day about how long it took him.”
Griffin said they were pulling the “standard issue white marlin spread” of two dredges, two daisy chains and four dink ballyhoo baits. Game On, based in Charleston, South Carolina, is heading back to boatyard tomorrow after finishing their second day of competition.
“But I’d much rather go fishing,” Griffin said with a laugh. This marks the first year the former mate has fished the VBBT as a captain. Another newcomer also had a productive outing Friday.
“We had a very good day,” says Capt. Shane Brafford on Carolina Time, a 55 Gwaltney based in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. The team’s five white marlin were all caught on ballyhoo behind the canyon surrounded by a lot of other boats.
“I’m loving it [the VBBT] so far,” Brafford said. Carolina Time is currently in second place with 700 points, based on time.
Builder’s Choice, Don’t Panic and Triple “S” all logged six white marlin releases apiece on Friday. Triple “S” will be laying to the dock on Saturday, the last day, while Builder’s Choice and Don’t Panic have another chance to add more points.
Blue Sky, a 60 Spencer, is yet another first-timer to the Rudee Inlet contest. The boat calls Georgetown, South Carolina home. Capt. Jay Weaver is Blue Sky’s helmsman.
“We were offshore of the Norfolk Canyon, in between the inshore and offshore crowd by ourselves. I was marking bait all day and we were also pushing flyers (flying fish), the most we’ve seen this week. It was an exciting day of fishing and a fun experience. The tournament crew has done a great job under the conditions, above and beyond!”
David Biggs (Sea Toy) brought in the new dolphin leader, a 30.3-pounder. Karl Knudsen, fishing aboard Smoker, has the top tuna so far at 62 pounds. No wahoo have been recorded.
Sea Toy added four more white marlin to its tally on Friday, for an overall score of 910 points to maintain the lead going into the final day. The other top nine boats have also fished their mandatory two days. All will be watching the leader board closely Saturday, hoping luck—beginner’s or otherwise—takes a weekend break.