Officials with the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series have plenty of reasons to smile with the 48th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament kicking off the series Thursday.
The fishing forecast look great, and fishermen are anxious to get back to competing as evidenced by the 41 entries.
That’s 12 more than participated at Georgetown last year, which was the largest tournament in the 2014 series.
“This is the first time since 2009 that we’ve had more than 40 boats in a tournament,” said Wallace Jenkins, program coordinator for the Governor’s Cup.
“I think fuel prices being down, the economy is definitely making an upward turn and people are ready to fish,” explained Amy Dukes, tournament coordinator for the Governor’s Cup. “We’ve had quite a few really strong fishing days the last couple of weeks. I’ve had a dozen or more billfish releases (reported), and most of those were blue marlin. Several of them were large, 500- to 600-pound blue marlin.”
The tournament runs through Saturday, with participants allowed to fish two out of three days, captain’s choice. Boats earn points in the Governor’s Cup for the release of billfish — blue marlin, 600; white marlin, 300; sailfish, 200 — or receive one point per pound for blue marlin that are weighed. Only blue marlin can be weighed and they must meet the Governor’s Cup minimum of 105 inches fork length (from tip of lower jaw to fork of the tail). The federal minimum size limit is 99 inches.
Dates (including registration days) for the remaining 2015 Governor’s Cup are: June 3-6, Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament (Johns Island); June 18-20, Carolina Billfish Classic (Toler’s Cove, Mount Pleasant); and July 8-11, MegaDock Billfishing Tournament (Charleston City Marina). The Edisto Marina tournament is not on the 2015 schedule.
The Governor’s Cup plans to post live updates on its Facebook page during tournaments and unofficial results each evening.
Last year’s Georgetown tournament was won by Full Pull, owned by John Floyd and captained by Ryan Riggs, which piled up 2,100 points by releasing three blue marlin and one white marlin. Full Pull won $42,205.
Sportin’ Life, owned by Manly and Graham Eubank and captained by Mike Glaesner, earned the biggest payday, bringing in a 448.2-pound blue marlin that was worth $57,000. In 2013, Sportin’ Life won the tournament with a 534.2-pound blue, two more blue marlin releases and a white marlin release.
The Georgetown boat Rascal, owned by Norman Pulliam and Foster McKissick and captained by Mark Rogers, was the top boat in the 2014 series, scoring 3,875 points by releasing four blue marlin and seven sailfish.