The 2017 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Series honored the high-performing and winning boats at its recent awards reception, the conclusion of the South Carolina offshore tournament season, and highlighted a new record for billfish releases.
The series included 82 boats participating in at least one of the five events, which is a 24 percent increase from 2016. The fleet released 341 billfish — including 254 sailfish, 80 blue marlin, five white marlin and two spearfish — to set a new record for the series. There also were three blue marlin landed.
Gryphon, captained by Chucky Moore and owned by Colby Griffin, was the Top Billfish Boat with 13 sailfish releases and eight blue marlin releases, accumulating 7,475 points for the team. This breaks the previous series record of 6,075 points set by Reel Passion in 2011. Mister Pete, captained by Alan Neiford and owned by Bob and Rusty McClam, finished second with 16 sailfish releases and four blue marlin releases for 5,675 points. Toast, captained by Newt Cagle and owned by Ron Martin, placed third with 12 sailfish releases and five blue marlin releases for 5,475 points.
Game On, captained by Trey McMillan and owned by Bubba Roof, won the Outstanding Billfish Award by landing a 500.2-pound blue marlin, worth 501 points. Roof was the angler for the catch.
The Mate of the Year recognition, in its second year, went to Rascal‘s Douglas Miller. The Carroll Campbell Award, which honors individuals and families who have been conservation leaders for South Carolina, went to James S. Johnston, who helped organize the first Georgetown Landing Blue Marlin Tournament. Johnston has participated every year in the tournament for the past 50 years.
Individual awards and additional photos from the reception are below.
Top Youth Angler
First place: Chandler Griffin, 15, with 12 sailfish releases and five blue marlin releases for 5,400 points. He fished aboard Gryphon.
Second place: E.J. Nettles, 15, with eight sailfish releases for 1,600 points. Nettles fished aboard Petrel and Tighten Up.
Third place: Mackenzie Truluck, 15, with five sailfish releases and one blue marlin release for 1,600 points. Truluck fished aboard Salty Maintenance.
Top Lady Angler
First place: Hope Bentley with five sailfish releases and three blue marlin releases for 2,800 points. She fished aboard Home Run.
Second place: Eugenie Barrow with six sailfish releases for 1,200 points. She fished aboard Legal Holiday.
Third place: Whitney Arnold with two sailfish releases and one 412.8-pound blue marlin landed for 813 points. She fished aboard Anticipation and Rare Breed.