Last Chance

Thursday’s leaderboard needed a big Magic Eraser as several boats scored releases to inch up only to be replaced a short while later. But at the end of the day that tallied 71 billfish among the 68 boats fishing, one name remained solidly in first place: Builder’s Choice. The 64 Jarrettt Bay and its New Bern crew grabbed the early lead with a monster blue and one white release on Tuesday and has not been seriously threatened since. And Harris Huddle, Capt. Brent Gaskill and crew still have Friday left to fish.

Glazed, a 58 Dean Johnson run by Capt. Jay Weaver made a serious charge by going five for five on whites. The boat is owned by Miles Herring of Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina, and is named after his Krispy Kreme donut franchise.

“It was typical green water and we weren’t pulling anything special, just dink baits and dredges,” said Herring, who is fishing the PCBT for the first time aboard this boat. “These are all my friends and we’ve been fishing together since 2000, so this is cool. The competition is good. No, tough is a better word. But we’re going to go again tomorrow and hope for the best.” Glazed won the daily jackpot with their five fish, followed by Obsession with four releases. Capt. Jeff Ross is on the throttles of the 55 Sheldon Midgett.

Katherine Anne, Bi-Op-Sea and Sea Toy all padded their points total on Thursday. Sea Toy is now in second with 900 points, followed by Bi-Op-Sea with the same score but third based on time. Katherine Anne is fourth with 850, but all three will be taking their mandatory lay day on Friday.

Sea Toy caught and released four white marlin for the day, including a triple and single. The 59 Paul Spencer is owned by Jimmy Bayne and run by the seasoned local skipper, Capt. Bull Tolson.

“We were out there, right in the middle of the fleet,” Tolson explained back at his slip. “It was like God dropped a bomb from the sky. It was calm, the water was a little green but overall it was a great day.”

When asked if he thought the team would hold on to second place, he had a quick response.

“No, I don’t. There’s too many good fishermen out there and too much time left. We’re just glad we finished up where we did.”

Speaking of time, there are exactly 6.5 hours of fishing left in this year’s contest. It starts again at 8:30 am Friday. Like Sea Toy did today, a couple triples or several doubles could change the scoreboard in a hurry. But the guys aboard Builder’s Choice probably won’t be looking over shoulders too much as they eye the spread.