The South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series opened its 19th season with the Edisto Marina Tournament over the weekend. The Series features five tournaments along the coast beginning May 9th at Edisto Island and ending July 25th with the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament.
“The weather kept everyone in port on Thursday of the tournament, but Friday and Saturday were beautiful,” said Tom DuPré of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, who coordinates the Governor’s Cup Series. “We had a super turnout for the tournament, which spotlighted an upgraded facility at the Edisto Marina. Hundreds of spectators came to see the daily weigh-ins, and everyone seemed to have a great time. Buddy Smith and all the folks at the Edisto Marina put on another fun event,” noted DuPré.
33 boats participated in the Edisto Marina Tournament, with 7 blue marlin and 1 sailfish released during the 2 days of fishing.
Points for Governor’s Cup tournaments are awarded as follows: 600 points for a blue marlin released in good condition, 200 points for a released white marlin, and 100 points for a released sailfish. In addition, boats are awarded 25 participation points for each Series tournament entered up to a maximum of three events. The minimum size for Series points or awards consideration for landed blue marlin in 110 inches measured in a curved line along the body from the fork of the tail to the tip of the lower jaw of the fish.
The Best Billfish Boat was awarded to “Northstar,” owned by Anthony McAlister of Mt.Pleasant. John McNamara captained the winning boat, which caught and released a blue marlin and a sailfish on Friday to take the first place award for 700 points.
Finishing in second place at the Edisto Marina Billfish Tournament for releasing a blue marlin was “Artemis,” owned by John Darby of Charleston, and captained by Buck Copleston. “Artemis” caught and released a blue marlin on Friday to earn 600 points.
Third place for the Best Billfish Boat was awarded to “Fin-Addict,” owned and captained by Danny Massalon of Camden, for the catch and release of a blue marlin on Friday to garner 600 points.
Angler Matt Martin of Edgefield caught a 52.6-pound wahoo aboard James Martin’s boat “Southern Accent,” to earn top honors for the Largest Wahoo Award.
The Largest Dolphin Award went to angler John Cleveland of Greenville, who reeled in a 35.2- pound dolphin on “Overspray,” owned by Foster McKissick and captained by Mike McClamrock.
Angler Cliff Altman of Chapin won the Largest Tuna Award for reeling in a 42.7-pound yellowfin tuna on “Boatyard Blue,” owned and captained by Mark Parish.
Outstanding Female Angler Award went to Ginger Speaks of Chapin, for the catch and release of a blue marlin on “Fin-Addict,” owned by Danny Massalon, also of Camden.
The Outstanding Youth Angler Award went to Kasey Dantzler, age 15, from Elloree, for a catch and release of a blue marlin on Friday aboard “Dough Boy,” owned by Ben Dantlzer, also of Elloree.
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 email@example.com.
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.