The Carolina Billfish Classic that starts Thursday promises to be the biggest South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series tournament thus far with 40 boats expected to fish out of Toler’s Cove Marina in Mount Pleasant and Georgetown Landing.

The previous numbers were 33 at the Georgetown Blue Marlin tournament and 18 at the Bohicket Marina Invitational, which was hampered by Tropical Storm Andrea.

All five of the top boats in the series are entered. Showtime, which fishes out of Toler’s Cove and is owned by Fred Hardwick, is the top boat with 3,550 points. Rascal has 2,560, followed by Sportin’ Life, 2,285; Cacique, 2,250; and Game On, 2,050.

Governor’s Cup participants earn 600 points for each blue marlin released, 300 for white marlin releases and 200 for sailfish releases. Blue marlin that are brought to the dock to be weighed must measure at least 105 inches and are worth one point per pound.

Fishing is Thursday through Saturday with boats allowed to fish two of the three days, captain’s choice. Weigh-ins are 5-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 5-7 p.m. Saturday.

Also on Saturday, the fifth annual South Carolina Memorial Reef Auction, which will begin at 7 p.m. at Goldbug Island, located across from Toler’s Cove Marina. Admission to the auction is $30 per person or $50 per couple. Proceeds benefit the South Carolina Memorial Deep Reef Project ( The structure for the reef, located about 50 miles off Charleston, is scheduled for deployment next month.