After two years and one week of bad weather cancellations, student anglers from South Carolina were able to get offshore last Friday for the 29th Annual Coastal Carolina Invitational. The University of South Carolina fishing team, under the direction of Jerry Hilbish, professor of biological sciences, won for the first time in eight appearances.
Coastal Carolina University's host team finished a close second, followed by Francis Marion University's anglers. Clemson University was not able to field a squad due to fall break. (The match had been postponed from its original October date because of eight-foot seas.)
Students and coaches drift-fished on the "New Captain Bill" out of Captain Dick's Marina in Murrells Inlet. Five king mackerel were boated, plus numerous amberjack and black sea bass. (One amberjack head weighing 19 pounds was boated. Since a shark had cut off the body of the fish, it could not be counted toward the championship under International Game Fish Association rules.)
The awards dinner at Murrells Inlet's Hot Fish Club featured the kings and blackfish caught by the students. The tournament is sponsored by the Coastal Educational Foundation. Conway National Bank provides T-shirts for all student competitors. Rods and reels were donated by Penn, Shakespeare, and Wright & McGill tackle companies.