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July 18, 2008

'Cerveza' wins again, takes fourth round of Governor's Cup series

"Cerveza" took top honors in the fourth round of the 20th South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series at the Charleston City Marina's HMY/Viking MegaDock Billfishing Tournament, just two weeks after winning the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina Billfish Tournament.

The Series features five tournaments along the coast and began May 14 at Edisto Island Marina tournament and ends next weekend at the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament starting July 23.

Amy Dukes, the Series tournament coordinator for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), noted that 78 participating boats collectively caught and released 83 billfish, including 76 sailfish, five blue marlin, and two white marlin over the course of the three day event. Wallace Jenkins, the Series program coordinator for DNR said, "The MegaDock Tournament was the largest tournament among the 2008 Governor's Cup Series events and everything ran smoothly, despite inclement weather during two of the three weigh-ins during the event. Robbie Freeman, McKenzie Estes, and all of the marina staff were very hospitable and were able to accommodate more boats than ever this year."

Points for Governor's Cup tournaments are awarded as follows: 600 points for a tagged or released blue marlin, 300 points for a tagged or released white marlin, and 200 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 crew of "Cerveza" won top honors and earned 1,200 points for the Outstanding Billfish Boat award, with the release of six sailfish.  Thomas Russell, of Reston Va., owns the "Cerveza" and Butch Davis is captain. The boat was also recognized and awarded the Outstanding Billfish Conservationist for the six billfish releases. Russell's 13-year-old daughter, Nicole, was awarded 1st place Lady Angler and 1st place Youth Angler for releasing five of the six billfish caught during their two days of fishing.

Second place honors for Outstanding Billfish Boat went to "Petrel," owned by Harry Johnson Jr. of Charleston and captained by Thomas Wynne. They earned 100 points for the catch and release of one blue marlin and two sailfish.

"Full Pull" won the third place award for Outstanding Billfish Boat, which is owned by John Floyd of Spartanburg and captained by Ed Keelin. The crew garnered 1,000 points with the catch and release of five sailfish during the tournament.

Angler Jason Zachrich aboard "Reel Patience," owned by James Zachrich Jr. of Hilton Head and captained by Sammy Grayson, won the Outstanding Dolphin award for his 43.5-pound catch.

The Outstanding Tuna was awarded to angler and owner of the "Daymaker," Mark Daniels of Greenville, for his 17.6-pound tuna catch. The boat is captained by Jay Weaver.

The "Palmetto Pride," owned by Anthony McAlister of Mt. Pleasant and captained by John McNamara, won the Outstanding Wahoo award for a 56.6-pound fish caught by angler Billy Ford.

The second place Outstanding Youth Angler was John Dudash, 14, of Isle of Palms, for the catch and release of three sailfish onboard "NOFA," owned by Robbie Freeman of Charleston and captained by Will Freeman.

Thomas Garmany, 15, of Mt. Pleasant, won the third place Outstanding Youth Angler award. Garmany caught and released three sailfish aboard "Benchmark," owned by Stephen Davis of Greenwood and captained by Bobby Garmany. 

Second place honors for Outstanding Lady Angler were awarded to Holly McAlhany of Wando, who caught and released four sailfish on "Syked Out," owned by David Sykes of Isle of Palms, and captained by Dan Wood.

Kate Creech, of Mt. Pleasant, won the third place Outstanding Lady Angler award. Creech released two sailfish aboard "Lil-Bit," owned and captained by Pete Loy of Mt. Pleasant.

The tallied overall point's standings for the 20th Annual South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series after the fourth tournament and with one remaining tournament are:
"Cerveza" - 3,450; "Roulette" - 2,975; "Rascal" - 2,775; "Daymaker" - 2,375; "Houdini" - 1,875; "NOFA" - 1,875; "Petrel" - 1,875; "Miss Wy IV" - 1,675; "Benchmark" - 1,475 and "Evans B" - 1,475.

The remaining tournament date and point of contact for the final Series tournament in the 20th Annual South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series is as follows: 

July 23-26 - Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament (contact Deidre Menefee, 520 Folly Road #330, Charleston, SC 29412, (843) 345-0369, Fax 406-4775, dpmenefee@aol.com.

For more information on the South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series, contact Jenkins at (843) 953-9835 or JenkinsW@dnr.sc.gov, and Dukes at (843) 953-9365 or DukesA@dnr.sc.gov.

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.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina's natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state's natural resources and its people.

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