Offshore fishing reports are going from good to great right now, especially considering that the first blue marlin was caught and released on April 19. Capt. Douglas Heaton aboard the "Blue Boy" was fishing straight out of Charleston when the blue marlin crashed a bait, and Mitchell McKenzie grabbed the rod and reeled in the early bird billfish.

"We were fishing in about 350 feet of water, and it was a flat calm day, almost too calm," Patrick McKenzie said. "My son Mitchell was watching the lines with the mate, and we had no bites the first couple of hours of this fishing trip, so most of us were up in the cockpit.

"Then from out of nowhere the blue marlin jumped on a smaller red-and-black Sea Witch and put a charge into our day."

The fish was hooked and released in water that was 70 degrees, and the fight lasted about 20 minutes.

"After the blue marlin tired, towards the end of the fight, it sounded and became tail-wrapped briefly," McKenzie said. "When the fish was reeled in, the mate and captain took great care to revive her until she was ready to swim off on her own."

The fish was estimated to be 90 inches in length and weigh around 150 pounds.

Heaton continued trolling the "Blue Boy" and found a patch of 72-degree water with quite a bit of grass associated with it. His crew spent the rest of the day reeling in eight dolphin of various sizes and one mako shark. They lost a wahoo after it cut their line.

To report a billfish release, contact Amy Dukes with SCDNR at 843.953.9365.

Dukes confirmed the blue marlin release and also the release of a white marlin aboard the "Game Day" on April 23. Three sailfish releases have also been reported.

The first leg of the Governor's Cup Billfishing Series begins on May 11-14 at the Bohicket Marina Invitational Tournament. Find the entire schedule on the Governor's Cup site.