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

May 19, 2011

1st round results SC Governor's Cup Billfishing Series–
Bohicket Marina Invitational Tournament

The first tournament in the 23rd season of the South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series took place last weekend at the Bohicket Marina and Market on Seabrook Island. The Series features five tournaments along the coast, which began May 11th with the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament, and will end July 30th at the Edisto Marina Billfish Tournament.

Wally Jenkins, Series Program Director for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said, "The billfish bite was good, with three blue marlin, eight white marlin, and one sailfish releases by 21 registered vessels. The winning vessel, Reel Passion even released a Grand Slam (plus one) during their Friday fishing trip: one blue marlin, two white marlin, and one sailfish. As usual, both the Bohicket Marina and Market staff were very hospitable and Red's Ice House was a perfect venue from which to watch the sunset each evening."

Points for Governor's Cup tournaments are awarded as follows: 600 points for a released blue marlin, 300 points for a released white marlin, and 200 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 tournament's Outstanding Billfish Boat and the Outstanding Billfish Conservationist were awarded to Reel Passion, owned by Bill Ingram, of Charlotte, NC and captained by Gary Richardson. The winning boat earned 2,000 points for the catch and release of one blue marlin, four white marlin, and one sailfish. Even thought the owner was the angler on two of the billfish releases, he gave all the credit to the other three anglers, Thomas Garmany, Bruce Gallup, and Will Thornhill, as well as to his captain, Gary.

Daymaker, owned by Mark Daniels of Greenville, SC and captained by Jay Weaver, earned second place Outstanding Billfish Boat, with 900 points awarded for the catch and release of one blue marlin and one white marlin.

Third place honors for Outstanding Billfish Boat went to Emily Bliss owned by Mike Chukusky of Edisto, SC and captained by Abe Kuhn. The crew caught and released two white marlin to garner 600 points.

Rock N Reel, owned by Susan and Allen Bell of Bennett's Point, SC and captained by their son Chris Bell, was the Blue Water Conservation winner with the tag and release of three dolphin over the course of the tournament.

Blue Sky, owned by Greg Smith of Pawleys Island, SC and captained by Steven Crammer, earned honors for the Outstanding Dolphin. Greg Smith was the angler that caught the 30.6-pound dolphin.

Emily Bliss took the Outstanding Tuna award. The 11.6-pound Skipjack tuna was caught by John Crislip.

The Outstanding Wahoo award was earned by Big Sky, owned and captained by Jim Johnston of Georgetown, SC. Angler Stokley Holder caught the 73.8-pound wahoo.

Amy Bennett of Charleston, SC earned top honors as Outstanding Lady Angler for the release of one white marlin aboard Rodeo, owned by Michael Bennett of Charleston, SC and captained by John McNamara.

Second place Outstanding Lady Angler went to Helen Yochum of Johns Island, SC for her 10-pound dolphin catch fishing aboard Trinty V, owned and captained by Frank Feltham of Seabrook Island, SC.

An 8.2-pound dolphin earned Molly Bundy of Mt. Pleasant, SC third place Outstanding Lady Angler. She was fishing on Miss Grace, owned and captained by Pat Welsh of Charleston, SC.

Overall standings for the 23rd Annual South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series after the first tournament are as follows: Reel Passion (2,025), Daymaker (925), Emily Bliss (625), Rodeo (625), Can't Complain (625).

For more information on the South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series contact Amy Dukes, Tournament Coordinator for the Series and with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources by e-mail at DukesA@dnr.sc.gov, or by phone at (843) 953-9365.

Remaining tournament dates and contacts for the upcoming 2011 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.

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