The South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series ended its 18th season over the Fourth of July holiday weekend with ‘Home Run’ winning the Charleston City Marina’s HMY/Viking Megadock Billfish Tournament.
The final tournament was a big hit on many levels, and S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Series Coordinator Tom DuPré noted that, “The facilities were top-notch, and the tournament staff did a superlative job to put on an outstanding event.” A tournament record for the number of anglers catching billfish was also reached, which DuPré said stemmed from “absolutely fantastic fishing. Many of the participating anglers commented that they had not experienced such excellent fishing conditions as were found last weekend out on the water.”
For more information on the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series contact Tom DuPré by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or check the Website at http://govcup.dnr.sc.gov/.
Over the course of the MegaDock tournament, 81 boats participated and fished two out of three days. 131 billfish were released, which surpasses the Series record of 90 billfish caught during the 1999 Charleston Harbor Marina & Resort Billfish Tournament. The billfish record included 31 blue marlin, 37 white marlin and 63 sailfish. Last year’s MegaDock tournament netted 82 billfish releases. No billfish that were caught were brought to the dock during this year’s MegaDock tournament.
Points for of the Governor’s Cup tournaments are awarded as follows: 300 points for a tagged or released blue marlin, 150 points for a tagged or released white marlin, and 100 points for a tagged or released sailfish. Boats are also awarded 25 participation points for each Series tournament entered up to a maximum of three events.
The crew of ‘Home Run’ won top honors earning 1300 points for catching and releasing 2 blue marlin and 7 sailfish. ‘Home Run’ is owned by Steven Mungo of Columbia and captained by Grant Bentley. Crewmember Bennett Griffin reeled in 2 blue marlin and 6 sailfish, and owner Steven Mungo caught 1 sailfish for the winning team.
Second place for Best Billfish Boat went to ‘Bentley’s Best,’ owned by Steven Deese of Lexington, and captained by Jimmy Moore. ‘Bentley’s Best’ caught and released 3 blue marlin, 1 white marlin, and 1 sailfish to earn 1150 points.
Third place for Best Billfish Boat was awarded to ‘Blue Sky,’ owned by Greg Smith, for catching and releasing 2 blue marlin and 3 white marlin to earn 1050 points.
The Outstanding Wahoo Award went to Rusty Carter’s ‘Stream Weaver,’ for a 79.6-pound wahoo catch by angler David Thomas.
Thomas McCook’s ‘Shorter Pie’ won top honors for Outstanding Dolphin for a 54.0-pound dolphin caught by angler Paul Thompson.
Honors for the most Outstanding Tuna was awarded to John Cagle’s ‘Juncanewt’ for a 46.4-pound yellowfin tuna by angler Rick Link.
Libby Kosnik won first place for the Outstanding Female Angler Award for a blue marlin and a sailfish catch and release on ‘Special Lady,’ owned by her father Ed Kosnik. She earned 400 points to win the award.
The second place Outstanding Female Angler Award went to Morgan Montgomery onboard Doug Hinson’s ‘High Current’ for amassing 300 points for her blue marlin catch and release.
Third place Outstanding Female Angler Award was awarded to Whitney Jeffrey, who earned 300 points for a blue marlin catch and release on Ed Renken’s ‘Sea Fox.’
The Outstanding Youth Angler during the MegaDock tournament was 14-year old Al DeLeon, onboard his father Al DeLeon’s boat ‘Emotional Rescue,’ for catching and releasing 4 sailfish. He earned 400 points to win top honors.
Morgan Montgomery, 11, finished in second place in the Outstanding Youth Angler category. Montgomery released a blue marlin to earn 300 points on Doug Hinson’s ‘High Current.’
Third place honors for the Outstanding Youth Angler was awarded to Hunter Clifton, 11, who earned 100 points for a sailfish release onboard ‘Yo Yo,’ owned by his father Kenneth Clifton.
In addition to the MegaDock results, DuPre tallied the results for the 2006 Shootout Tournament. South Carolina, with 1550 points, won this year’s award against North Carolina, who tallied 450 points. South Carolina’s participants included ‘Chicora,’ ‘Houdini,’ ‘Petrel,’ ‘Rascal,’ and ‘Rookie IV.’ North Carolina participants included ‘Desperado,’ ‘Instigator,’ ‘Reel Love,’ and ‘Stream Weaver.’
From the South Carolina team, ‘Chicora’ released 3 sailfish; ‘Houdini’ released a blue marlin, a white marlin, and a sailfish; ‘Rascal’ released a blue marlin and a sailfish; and ‘Rookie IV’ released 2 white marlin. From the North Carolina team, ‘Desperado,’ ‘Instigator,’ and ‘Reel Love’ each released a white marlin.
Boats participating in the Series amass points for billfish that have been either landed, tagged, or released. Anglers compete for four major awards: Outstanding Billfish (single heaviest billfish), Outstanding Billfish Boat (most accumulated points) and Outstanding Billfish Conservationist (most points for tagged or released fish), and the Blue Water Conservation Award (most accumulated tag and release points for dolphin, wahoo, and yellowfin tuna).