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

August 3, 2011

Edisto Marina rounds out SC Governor's Cup Billfishing Series

The final chapter of 23rd SC Governor's Cup Billfishing Series was completed last weekend at Edisto Beach. The weather for this year's event was excellent and there were three beautiful days of fishing. While participation was down somewhat from the previous year, good things come in small packages, and what resulted was a very intimate fun-filled event.

Evening social events were held at the newly constructed waterfront park adjacent to the marina on Big Bay Creek. Local and state government dignitaries made an appearance, including the town Mayor Burley Lyons, several S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Board members and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley with her family.

"It was especially rewarding to have the Governor attend her first event and get some perspective on what the Series is about. In addition, the First Gentleman, Michael Haley got the opportunity to go offshore fishing aboard Rascal." said DNR biologist and Program Coordinator Wallace Jenkins.

A total of 20 boats participated in the tournament, 54 billfish were caught and released, including 53 Sailfish and 1 Blue Marlin. "Fishing was excellent, with billfish release numbers up 35 percent over the previous year even though the number of participating boats declined by 30 percent," said DNR biologist Amy Dukes.

The crew of Reel Passion earned top honors in the tournament for earning 1,800 release points to win the Outstanding Billfish Boat award, with the release of nine Sailfish. William Ingram of Charlotte, NC owns the vessel which is captained by Gary Richardson.

Second place honors for Outstanding Billfish Boat at the Edisto Tournament went to Sadie Beth, owned by Gage Blue of Mt. Pleasant, and captained by Howard Moseley, which finished with 1,600 points for eight sailfish releases.

Lil Bit, owned and captained by Peter Loy of Mt. Pleasant, finished third for the second year in a row with five sailfish releases earning them 1,000 points.

Angler Todd Savage aboard Frayed Knot, owned by R. B. Corbin and captained by Rusty Corbin, won the Outstanding Dolphin award for his 30.0 pound catch.

The Outstanding Tuna was awarded to angler Peyton Stilp for his catch of a 19.8 pound Blackfin Tuna aboard Trick 'em, owned by Whitaker Farms and captained by Kevin Stafford.

The Outstanding Wahoo award was won with a catch of a 41.4 pound fish by angler Cam Werntz aboard Laff-A-Lot, owned and captained by Frank Thornhill.

First place for Outstanding Lady Angler went to Keegan Kennedy aboard Sea Trace, owned and captained by A. J. Kennedy, for her catch of a 17.6 pound Blackfin Tuna. Second place Outstanding Lady Angler was Brittany Bogus who landed an 11.0 pound Skipjack Tuna aboard Billfishin', owned by Bill Turbeville and captained by Thomas Rivers. The third place Outstanding Lady Angler award was presented to Sue Cushman for landing a 5.0 pound Blackfin Tuna aboard Crystal Blue, owned by Sam Hankins and captained by Will Austin.

The first place Outstanding Youth Angler was 14-year-old Chance van Haastrecht, for a 16.4 pound Blackfin Tuna caught aboard Miss Beth III, owned by and captained by John van Haastrecht. Second place Outstanding Youth Angler was awarded for a 9.6 pound Blackfin Tuna caught by 14 year-old Harry Bissell fishing aboard Lil Bit. Third place Outstanding Youth Angler was presented to Karlie Boggus, age 13, for landing a 5 pound Dolphin aboard Billfishin'.

When the dust settled after the three days of fishing, Reel Passion had maintained and extended its Series lead, finishing with 6,075 points and eclipsing the previous high of 4,275 points (recorded by Cerveza in 2008) by 1,800 points. Sportin' Life, owned by Manley and Graham Eubank and captained by Mike Glaesner, and Daymaker, owned by Mark Daniels and captained by Jay Weaver, finished in second and third with 4,175 and 3,775 points, respectively. Rounding out the Series top five were Sadie Beth and Rascal, both accumulating 3,575 points. Points for Governor's Cup tournaments are awarded for billfish releases as follows: 600 points for a blue marlin, 300 points for a white marlin, and 200 points for sailfish.

For more information on the South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series, contact Wally Jenkins at (843) 953-9835 or JenkinsW@dnr.sc.gov, or Amy Dukes at (843) 953-9365 or DukesA@dnr.sc.gov. Visit the website to learn more about the South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series and see this year's overall standings plus archived data.

By encouraging live release, the Series has focused attention on the population status of Atlantic billfish and encouraged conservation and proper management of all marine resources.

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