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July 2, 2008

"Cerveza" wins third round in Governor's Cup Series

"Cerveza" took top honors in the third round of the 20th Annual South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina Billfish Tournament. The Series features five tournaments along the coast and began May 14th at Edisto Island Marina tournament and ends July 26th at the Bohicket Marina Invitational.

Amy Dukes, the Series Tournament Coordinator for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), noted that 54 participating boats collectively caught and released 51 billfish, including 48 sailfish, 1 blue marlin, and 2 white marlin over the course of the tournament weekend. Fishing was restricted to Thursday and Friday, as a small craft advisory prevented fishing on Saturday. Wally Jenkins, the Series Program Coordinator for the DNR added, "In spite of fishing being limited to only two days, there were a record number of billfish releases during Charleston Harbor tournament.  During the two previous tournaments, only 5 billfish were released during the Edisto tournament, and 34 released at the Georgetown tournament, with no billfish being landed during a tournament 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 by releasing 11 sailfish, earning 2200 points for the Outstanding Billfish Boat award.  Thomas Russell, of Reston VA, owns the "Cerveza" and Butch Davis is captain.  The crew, made up of mostly family members including Mr. Russell's father, Jim Russell, his brother Jeff, and his two children, 10-year-old Jessica who received awards for 1st place Outstanding Female Angler and 2nd place Outstanding Youth Angler for her two sailfish releases; and 15-year-old Mathew who was awarded 1st place Outstanding Youth Angler for his 4 sailfish releases.  The "Cerveza" was also recognized for their 11 billfish releases and presented the award for Outstanding Billfish Conservationist Boat.

Second place honors for Outstanding Billfish Boat went to "Rascal," owned by Norman Pulliam, of Spartanburg, and captained by Mark Roger. They earned 2100 points for the catch and release of 9 sailfish and 1 white marlin.

"Daymaker" won the third place award for Outstanding Billfish Boat, which is owned by Mark Daniels and captained by Jay Weaver.  The boat fishes out of Georgetown.   The crew acquired 1200 points with 6 sailfish caught and released during the tournament.

The Outstanding Dolphin award went to "Short People," owned by Aaron Nettles of Sullivan's Island.  Angler Will Tayloe caught a 43.7-pound dolphin for the award.

"Full Pull" won the award for Outstanding Tuna which was landed by angler and owned John Floyd, of Spartanburg, and weighed in at 17.8-pounds.  The captain of the boat is Ed Keelin.  

Angler and owner Billy Barnwell, of Mt. Pleasant, won the Outstanding Wahoo award for a 38.3-pound catch onboard "Bak Bar", captained by Tommy Lewis.

Phillip Marshall, 12, of Charleston, won the third place Outstanding Youth Angler award, for the catch and release of one sailfish on "Blue Heaven," owned and captained by Blake Pearce, also of Charleston.

Anne Carlson took home second place honors for Outstanding Female Angler, for her 35.7-pound dolphin caught aboard the "Rascal," owned by Norman Pulliam.  

Lori Raggazzini won the third place Outstanding Female Angler award. Fishing on "Haphazard", owned by Hap Kennerty of Charleston and captained by Scott Malindzak, Raggazzini landed the 25.8-pound dolphin to win the award. 

Dukes detailed the overall point's standings for the 20th Annual South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series after the third tournament, with two remaining tournaments:  "Roulette" - 2300; "Cerveza" - 2200; "Rascal" - 2100; "Daymaker" (G'town) - 1700; "Houdini" - 1600; "Dem Boys" - 1200; "Overspray" - 1200; "Trashman" (SC) - 1200; "NOFA" - 1200; "Evans B" - 1200.

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

The remaining tournament date and point of contact for the final Series tournament in the 2008 20th Annual South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series is as follows: 

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.

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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