The last time a billfish was landed in a South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series event was 2007, when Game On landed a 550-pound blue marlin that netted the crew $124,800 from the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina Billfish Tournament's optional entry levels.
There have been 63 blue marlin released but none landed since Game On's big catch. But there's a good chance the long drought could end beginning with this week's Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament.
The minimum size limit for Governor's Cup events has been dropped from 110 inches to 105 inches based on the measurement from the blue marlin's lower jaw to the fork of its tail, still longer than the federal minimum size limit, but enough of a change that it might mean more blue marlin being landed.
"We're expecting 26 boats or more," said Meg Watson of Bohicket Marina. Scales at the marina will be open from 5-8 p.m. today and Friday and from 5-7 p.m. Saturday. Participating boats can fish two out of three days, captain's choice. First place in the regular tournament category will pay $8,000, second $5,000 and third $3,000. The top dolphin, tuna and wahoo will earn $1,500 each.
Bohicket returns to the Governor's Cup after a one-year absence and in a new slot, opening the series rather than ending it. The marina was undergoing a change in ownership when last year's event was scheduled.
The remainder of the Governor's Cup Series includes: May 26-29, 43rd annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament; June 23-26, Carolina Billfish Classic (out of Charleston Harbor resort, Georgetown Landing and Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island); July 7-10, HMY/Viking MegaDock Tournament; and July 28-31, Edisto Marina Billfish Tournament.