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August 11, 2008

2008 Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series Captured By ‘Cerveza’

“Cerveza” is the 2008 S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series’ Outstanding Billfish Boat, with the catch and release of 21 sailfish throughout the Series’ tournaments.

After fishing in only the last three of the five tournaments of the 2008 season, the crew of “Cerveza” took the top honors accruing 4,275 points, with competitors “Roulette” and “Daymaker” following closely behind, each with 3,775 points. The Series began May 14 and featured five tournaments that spanned through July 26. Participating boats earned points for tagged or released billfish, including blue marlin (600 points), white marlin (300) and sailfish (200).

Visit the Web site at http://govcup.dnr.sc.gov/ to learn more about the S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series.

This year’s Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series marked the 20th anniversary, a sequence established by Gov. Carroll Campbell in 1988 to promote the state's billfishing tournament industry, increase coastal tourism and encourage the conservation of ocean resources through the tagging and release of billfish. This year, the Series reached a notable accolade with a 100 percent release rate of billfish caught during the Series. The program is coordinated by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), with Wallace Jenkins serving as the program coordinator, and Amy Dukes as the tournament coordinator. The Series has accomplished much towards the enhancement of marine resources conservation, and serves a critical role towards ensuring the health and future of pelagic fisheries with the promotion of management and preservation of these stocks for future generations.

This year’s winner, “Cerveza,” based out of Pirates Cove, N.C., is owned by Thomas Russell of Reston Va., and captained by Butch Davis. Prior to fishing in the South Carolina Series, “Cerveza” took top honors in the Bahamas Billfish Championship in June. The Bahamas championship has a similar structure to the S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series, in regards to accumulation of points through a series of tournaments. “Cerveza’s” crew comprised mostly of family members including Russell’s father, James, brother, Jeff, and his three children, Matthew, 15, Nicole, 13, and Jessica, 9. All of the children received awards during the Series for Outstanding Youth Anglers, and Nicole and Jessica were also recognized as Outstanding Lady Anglers.

The battle for this year’s title of Outstanding Billfish Boat began at the Edisto Marina Billfish Tournament. Bad weather only allowed boats to fish one out of the three tournaments days, with “Hoy Boyz,” owned by John Hoy and captained by Jack Hoy, securing the win with a release of a blue marlin and earning 600 points. Just two weeks later, “Rouelette” surged past the field with an impressive two days of fishing at the Georgetown Marina Blue Marlin Tournament. The boat, owned by Richard Pingree of Beaufort, and captained by Mike Glaesner successfully released three blue marlin, one white marlin and one sailfish, to earn 2,300 points.

The Series moved to the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina Billfish Tournament, where “Cerveza” released 11 sailfish during the event, earning the boat 2,200 points. “Rascal,” owned by Norman Pulliam and captained by Mark Rodgers, provided “Cerveza” with tough competition with the release of nine sailfish and one white marlin, earning the boat 2,100 points. “Daymaker,” owned by Mark Daniel of Georgetown and captained by Jay Weaver, had a good showing at the Charleston Harbor tournament with the release of six sailfish to add to their boat’s one white marlin and one sailfish, both released at Georgetown earning the boat 1,700 points. At the MegaDock Series tournament, “Cerveza” once again dominated with a notable six sailfish released, pushing their tally of accumulated points to 3,400. “Daymaker,” “Roulette” and “Rascal” each released three sailfish, bringing “Roulette” up to 2,900 points,“Rascal” to 2,700 points, and “Daymaker” to 2,300 points.

This set the stage for the last tournament of the Series, the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament. “Cerveza,” “Daymaker” and “Rascal” fished on Thursday, and “Cerveza” released four sailfish pushing the point lead to 4,200, and “Daymaker” and “Rascal” each released three sailfish, giving “Daymaker” 2,900 points and “Rascal” 3,300 points. “Cerveza” decided to fish on Friday along with “Roulette,” but only the “Roulette” was successful with the release of two sailfish making its point total 3,300. Now with the “Cerveza” fished out and holding the lead with 4,200 points, it had to wait it out with “Daymaker,” “Rascal” and “Roulette” all fishing on Saturday to either end the Series with a win or a defeat. “Rascal” did not release any additional billfish; “Roulette” released two sailfish; and “Daymaker” released four sailfish to win the Bohicket Tournament. Both contenders fell just short of overtaking “Cerveza” to win the overall Series.

Additional award winners for the 2008 S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series include “Summer Girl” as the Blue Water Conservationist with the tag and release of 27 dolphin; “Daymaker” and angler Ryan Riggs winning the Outstanding Dolphin award; “Legal Holiday” and angler Fred Bergen Jr. earning the Outstanding Tuna award; and “Blessed Adventure” and angler Ruby Robbe with the Outstanding Wahoo honors. Of particular note to DNR coordinators, this year marks the first in Series history that no yellowfin tuna were landed over the course of the slated tournaments. Additionally, the Outstanding Tuna was not awarded for the catch of a yellowfin tuna, a species internationally distributed and federally managed. As such, the S.C. Natural Resources Board has asked staff to look into the paucity of catch rates for yellowfin tuna, which may be attributed to fluctuations in temperature.

At the close of the 2008 S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series, Dukes and Jenkins thanked the sponsors and their support towards DNR’s coordination of the annual Series: our corporate sponsor Palmetto Ford Inc., and major sponsors HMY Yacht Sales, W.W. Williams, The Charleston Angler, The Charleston Visitor Bureau, and Wachovia Wealth Management as well as contributions from the Advisory Board of Directors. DNR also thanks newsletter sponsors, Albury Brothers Boats, Blanchard Power Systems, CCA of S.C., Cannon Container, Haddrell’s Point Tackle and Supply, Hanckel Marine, MegaDock Billfishing Tournament, Palmetto Props, and Spencer Yachts Inc.

For more information on the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series, or to inquire about future sponsorship and support, contact Jenkins at (843) 953-9835 or JenkinsW@dnr.sc.gov, and Dukes at (843) 953-9365 or DukesA@dnr.sc.gov.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina's natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state's natural resources and its people.


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