The third tournament in the 19th season of the South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series took place over the weekend at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina Billfish Tournament. The Series features five tournaments along the coast and began May 10th at Edisto Island Marina tournament and ends July 25th at the Bohicket Marina Invitational.
Tom DuPré, Series coordinator for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said, "The billfishing was pretty hot with 8 blue marlin, 2 white marlin, and 28 sailfish being caught. As is usual, the tournament hospitality was great, with lively entertainment and good food throughout the weekend."
Points for Governor's Cup tournaments are awarded as follows: 600 points for a tagged or released blue marlin, 200 points for a tagged or released white marlin, and 100 points for a tagged or released sailfish. In addition, boats are awarded 25 participation points for each Series tournament entered up to a maximum of three events.
The tournament's Outstanding Billfish Boat was awarded to "Cerveza," owned by Tom Ruston, of Reston, Virginia and captained by Butch Davis. The winning boat earned 1,000 points for the catch and release of one blue marlin and 4 sailfish over the course of the tournament weekend. "Cerveza" was also awarded the Conservationist Award.
"Juncanewt," owned and captained by John Cagle of Sullivan's Island earned second place Outstanding Billfish Boat, with 800 points, for the catch and release of one blue marlin and 2 sailfish.
Third place honors for Best Billfish Boat went to "RussellHatt," owned by Lee Russell of Salisbury, NC, and captained by Robert Mintz. "RussellHatt" caught and released one blue marlin to garner 600 points.
"Summer Girl" was the Blue Water Conservation winner. Owned by Leasure, Smith and Hooker, of Charleston, and captained by Stevie Leasure, "Summer Girl" tagged and released 15 dolphin over the course of the tournament.
Outstanding Billfish was awarded to "Game On," owned by Victor O. Roof, Jr. of Lexington, and captained by Dennis Brookshire. Roof, also the angler, landed a 550.6-pound blue marlin, which was the only landed billfish during the tournament.
"Special Lady," owned by Ed Kosnik, of Columbus, OH, earned honors for the Outstanding Dolphin. Ben Polk captained the boat and caught the 63-pound dolphin.
"Miss Wy IV" took the Outstanding Tuna award. Owned and captained by Ed Holder, of Greenville, a 77.9-pound tuna was caught by Stokely Holder for the win, also of Greenville.
The Outstanding Wahoo award was earned by "My Three Sons," owned by Hunter Edwards of Cornelius, North Carolina, and captained by Randy Ragland. Angler Richard Sear caught a 61.6-pound wahoo.
Outstanding Youth Angler was awarded to James Johnson, 14, of Mt. Pleasant. Johnson caught and released a sailfish on "Petrel," owned by Harry Johnson, Jr. of Charleston and captained by Thomas Wynne.
Top honors for Outstanding Youth Angler also went to Hunter Clifton, 11, of Lyman. Clifton released a 59-pound dolphin on "YoYo," which also took third place for Best Billfish Boat.
Sue Hardenberg, of Mt. Pleasant, earned top honors as Outstanding Female Angler for a sailfish release on "Data Point," owned and captained by Scott Malindzak of Mt. Pleasant.
Lauren Leasure, 12, of Charleston, won second place as Outstanding Female Angler for a sailfish release onboard "Summer Girl." "Summer Girl" also won the Blue Water Conservation Award.
Polly Poulnot, of Mt. Pleasant, won third place Outstanding Female Angler for a sailfish release on "Patriot," owned by Gary Early, Jr. of Mt. Pleasant and captained by Mike Hightower.
John Cagle, of Sullivan's Island, dedicated his 2nd place Outstanding Billfish Boat finish to Nan Jenkins, a former DNR fisheries biologist who also worked closely with the Governor's Cup Billfishing Series. Cagle donated $2,500 to the Charleston City fireman's fund in memoriam to Jenkins. The Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, and the billfish tournament committee donated $2,500 to the fireman's fund. Several other boats participating in the tournament donated to the fund as well.
Overall standings for the 19th Annual South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series after the third tournament and with two remaining tournaments are as follows: "Game On" 1225.6 points, "Big Game" 1225 points, "Cerveza" 1025 points, "NorthStar" 875 points, "Juncanewt" 825 points, "Barrier Island Marine" 775 points, "Artemis" 750 points, "YoYo" 725 points, "Dough Boy" 675 points, and "Fin Addict" 650 points.
For more information on the South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series contact Tom DuPré of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remaining tournament dates and contacts for the upcoming 2007 19th Annual South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series are:
Boats participating in the Series amass points for billfish either landed or caught and released. Tagging is optional and not required for Series points. 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).By encouraging live tag and release, the Series has focused attention on the sharp decline of Atlantic billfish and encouraged conservation of all marine resources.