** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

May 9, 2009

21st Annual S.C. Governor's Cup Billfishing Series kicks off May 13

The South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series will commence its season events featuring four tournaments along the coast beginning May 13th at Edisto Marina Billfish Tournament and concluding July 22-25 at the Bohicket Marina Billfishing Tournament.

The Series continues its strong conservation ethic to protect the pelagic species off our coast, by promoting the catch and release of billfish and other species throughout the various tournaments. Each tournament helps to stimulate coastal economic growth and tourism through the sportfishing industry, and highlights the great fishing opportunities that are available off South Carolina's coast.

The Series which is beginning its 21st year has implemented some rule changes for this fishing season.  First, in order to be eligible for Series points or awards, all anglers, including Youth Anglers (under sixteen years of age on April 1 of current tournament year) and Lady Anglers (over sixteen years of age on April 1 of the current tournament year), must strike their own fish.  After a fish strikes, only that angler is allowed to touch the rod.  Second, as a rules clarification, if the gaff crosses the vertical plane of the boat and the intent of the crew is to land the fish, yet the attempt is unsuccessful, the boat will not qualify for catch and release points.

Last year 126 individual vessels participated in the Series. There were 224 billfish caught in 2008 and all were released alive.  This total catch eclipsed the 2007 mark of 181 billfish caught and was the highest total catch in the 20 year history of the event.  Sailfish made up the largest portion of the billfish catch with 185 released; while 31 blue marlin and 8 white were released. 

Advisory Board Chairman Graham Eubank said, "As our fishery off the coast of South Carolina continues to improve so does our Governor's Cup Billfishing Series.  We had an incredible year last year and expect this one to be even better.  Bring your crew and come join the fun as we eclipse last year's record catch!"

Tournament dates and contacts for the upcoming 2009 21st Annual South Carolina Governor's
Cup Billfishing Series are:

Boats participating in the Series amass points for billfish, landed, tagged, or released.

Participating boats compete for four major Series awards: Outstanding Billfish (single heaviest billfish), Outstanding Billfish Boat (most accumulated points), 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 tuna).  Additionally, Series awards are presented for single heaviest tuna, dolphin, and wahoo caught by boats participating in the Series, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place Youth Angler, Lady Angler awards. 

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

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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