Edisto Marina rounds out summer for the S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
The final chapter of 22nd SC Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series was completed last weekend during an end of summer "Beach Blast" on Edisto Beach. This year the Edisto Marina Billfish Tournament returned to the end of the Series schedule, July 28-31. When the Series was initiated, the Edisto Marina Tournament was the last event. Over time, with encouragement from the Town of Edisto, it started being held in mid May before the peak of the vacation season. During the intervening years, finding suitable weather days for fishing became problematic and as a result the tournament requested to be moved back to its traditional mid-summer dates. As hoped, the weather for this year’s event was excellent and there were three beautiful days for fishing. In addition, 29 boats participated in the Tournament, 41 billfish were caught and released, including 40 Sailfish and 1 Blue Marlin.
"The atmosphere was exciting as the Town of Edisto and the Marina welcomed the fleet and because two boats Caramba, and Daymaker came into this final event only 200 points apart in series standings," said S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologist and Program Coordinator Wallace Jenkins.
Points for Governor's Cup tournaments are awarded for billfish releases as follows: 600 points for a blue marlin, 300 points for a white marlin, and 200 points for sailfish.
The crew of Rascal won top honors in the tournament by earning 800 release points to win the Outstanding Billfish Boat award, with the release of four sailfish. Norman Pulliam of Spartanburg, SC owns the vessel which is captained by Mark Rogers. Rascal was also recognized and awarded the Outstanding Billfish Conservationist for the four billfish releases.
Second place honors for Outstanding Billfish Boat went to Game On, owned by Victor "Bubba" Roof of Lexington, SC and captained by Trey McMillan, which also finished with 800 points for four sailfish releases but was beaten on time by Rascal. Lil Bit, owned and captained by Peter Loy of Mt. Pleasant, SC finished third with 600 points for releasing one blue marlin.
Angler Peyton Stilp aboard Trick’em, owned by Curtis Whitaker and Robert Williams and captained by Jeff Carter, won the Outstanding Dolphin award for his 35.4 pound catch.
The Outstanding Tuna was awarded to angler Cage Blue for his catch of a 15.6 pound blackfin tuna aboard Fat Boy, owned by Allen and Kathy Hall and captained by Allen Hall.
The Outstanding Wahoo award was won with a catch of a 44.2 pound fish by angler Brain Cannon aboard Can’t Complain, owned by Mullins McLeod and captained by Frank Thornhill.
First place for Outstanding Lady Angler went to Edisto native Linda Lawley aboard Full Strut, owned and captained by Greg Roumillat, for her sailfish release.
Second place Outstanding Lady Angler was Kelli Ann Roof who also released a sailfish aboard Game On. While the third place Outstanding Lady Angler award was presented to Blair Bartleson aboard Micabe, owned by Mike Larrow and captained by Chris Jennings.
The first place Outstanding Youth Angler was David Aimar, 15, aboard Split Bill owned by Charlie Aimar and Charlie Rivers, captained by Charlie Aimar. It should be noted that David’s sailfish release makes the first billfish released by a youth since the SC Governor’s Cup Tournament Guidelines returned to follow IGFA Rules which requires the angler to strike and reel the fish with no assistance.
Second place Outstanding Youth Angler was awarded to 6 year-old Rance Jennings aboard Micabe. Rance’s father, Chris Jennings is the captain of the vessel and his grandfather, Mike Larrow, is the vessels owner. Third place Outstanding Youth Angler was presented to Clay Lee, 14, aboard Reel Hooker, owned and captained by Lee Clarke.
When the dust settled after the three days of fishing, Caramba had maintained and extended its Series lead by another 200 points, finishing the Series in first place with 3875 points for billfish releases. Daymaker and Game On finished in second and third with 3475 and 3275 points, respectively.
For more information on the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series, contact Wally Jenkins at (843) 953-9835 or JenkinsW@dnr.sc.gov, or Amy Dukes at (843) 953-9365 or DukesA@dnr.sc.gov. By encouraging live release, the Series has focused attention on the population status of Atlantic billfish and encouraged conservation and proper management of all marine resources.