Acceptance of Rules | Captain’s
is the sole responsibility of participating boat owners, captains, anglers, crews,
and guests to know and abide by these printed rules. Any rule changes or
additions at the Captain’s
Meeting will take precedence over these printed rules.
participants enter at their own risk.
All sponsors, officials, committee members, and all persons connected
with the tournament shall be exempt from liability for loss, damage,
negligence, harm or injury suffered by participant, entrant sport fisherman,
his/her companions, boat captain, vessels and equipment which may occur during
Fishing Days | Times | Weather | Territories
Thursday, June 23–Saturday,
may compete a maximum of two days. If all three days are non-fishable then
Sunday will become a fish day. One day
of fishing constitutes a tournament. Any
day a participating boat leaves the dock will be counted as a fish day unless
withdrawal and/or a lay day is reported by radio to a Committee Boat and/or
Charleston Harbor Marina by "lines in" that same day.
Lay Days must be reported to Tournament
by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
or Amy Dukes at DukesA@dnr.sc.gov.
OR you may text Loyd at 843.568.5230 or Amy at 843.209.9053.
8 am - 3 pm each day
Station Hours 5 – 7 pm each day*
Boat must be within the breakwaters of the marina by 7 pm.
fishing is not permitted and no lines or teasers in the water prior to fishing
hours. No fishing before 8:00 am or after 3:00 pm during
tournament fishing days. Scanning sonars will be allowed; however, they cannot be
used prior to lines in at 8:00 am or after lines out at 3:00 pm. All boats must return to docks at the end of each
day’s fishing hours.
Late Hook-ups & Arrivals
must return to Charleston Harbor Marina each day to weigh any fish eligible for
the tournament. In the event of a blue
marlin hook-up prior to the close of fishing, the fish may be fought to
completion outside of tournament fishing hours provided the Committee Boat has
been notified. Any landed fish must be weighed
in during scheduled
weigh-in times unless an exception is granted by the tournament rules committee. If a boat has legitimate mechanical or
serious medical problems and notifies the Committee Boat or the Marina of its
problem, an extension for that boat's weigh-in may be granted except for the
last fishing day. All others must meet
scale closing times. Weigh master will
be as flexible as possible in allowing all eligible fish to be weighed when an
exception has been granted; however, no exception will be made on the last
Governor’s Cup Series does not allow the substitution of boats; however, the Carolina
Billfish Classic will allow a substitute of a boat provided:
the originally registered boat has not entered any fishing lines into the water;
2) the Tournament Director is notified immediately upon realizing need for
In consideration for the safety of all participants,
the CBC has adopted the use of a posted NOAA Weather Service "Small Craft
Advisory" (winds 25 - 33 knots and/or seas 6 feet or higher)
to cancel that day's fishing. The tournament director or committee boat captain
will announce each day’s weather conditions by 6:00 am on VHF Channel 71.
The safety of the participating vessel
is ultimately the responsibility of the captain.
are no territorial limits set for this tournament. However, tournament boats must return to Charleston
Harbor Marina by the prescribed weigh-in hours to have any boated fish considered
for competition. Eligible fish must
return on the boat on which it was caught unless an exception is granted by the
Tournament Rules Committee.
All fish must be caught in accordance with all state
and federal laws, and under IGFA Rules with the exception of passing rod to
qualify to earn SC Governor’s Cup points/awards. In addition, every individual
(age 16 and above) aboard the vessel must have a valid official S.C Saltwater Recreational
Fishing License in their possession. After a fish strikes,
the rod may be passed to one angler one time as soon as possible. All anglers may have the rod passed one time
to them. After the rod has been passed,
only the angler is allowed to touch the rod/reel/mainline. Once the
leader is brought within the grasp of the crew member or is wound to the rod tip,
then the angler may have assistance to catch and release or boat the fish. Series points will accrue towards series
awards for these fish. Vessels may
provide assistance to other vessels for boating fish. Violations of state or federal law will
lead to disqualification of all fish caught on that fishing day, and the day
will be counted as an eligible fish day for the tournament.
Knowingly fishing on
a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD - is defined by NOAA as a floating object(s)
that is designed and strategically placed to attract pelagic fish) during a series
tournament is prohibited and will lead to disqualification. Burden of proof
falls upon the protesting vessel, and clear and convincing evidence must be
provided by the protesting vessel to the individual Tournament Rules Committee.
Disqualification for fishing on a FAD shall be determined by the Tournament
angler who has not passed his/her 16th birthday by April 1 of the current year
may fish in the Youth Angler division. Any
angler in this category is in this category only (i.e. An Angler that is
female and under sixteen years
of age on April 1 of the current tournament
year is a Youth Angler, not a Lady Angler.) It
is the responsibility of the angler to identify a catch as eligible for the
Youth angler award. This is typically
done at the time of weigh-in.
angler who has not passed his/her 10th birthday by April 1 of the current year
may fish in the Junior Angler division.
Junior anglers are eligible for all other awards unless they choose not
to follow IGFA rules. Those choosing not
to follow IGFA rules will only be eligible for Junior Angler awards. Junior Anglers may be assisted as needed to
boat a fish for Junior Angler awards only.
Eligible Species | Points |
Billfish Species in this tournament are Blue Marlin,
White Marlin, Spearfish, and Sailfish.
eligible species are Dolphin, Wahoo, and Tuna. To remain consistent with the SC Governor’s
Cup Series, eligible Tuna Species include Yellowfin, Bluefin, Blackfin, and
Dolphin - Creel limit - 10 per
angler per day with a limit of 54 per boat per day, with a minimum size
limit of 20 inches fork length
Tuna - Creel
limit - 3 per angler per day with a minimum legal size of 27 inches curved body
fork length.See current federal
size and creel limits for other Tuna species
Wahoo - Creel limit - 2 per person per day
Note: Size or creel limits will
automatically be changed in SC Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series tournaments to
reflect changes in federal or state laws.
registered boats and anglers must be in compliance with vessel registration / documentation
and with Federal (HMS Permit) and State Regulations (saltwater fishing license)
regarding recreational fishing, as well as SC Governor’s Cup Tournament Series Fishing
HMS compliance guide published April 2019, anglers fishing from Atlantic HMS
permitted vessels and participating in Atlantic billfish tournaments must use
only non-offset circle hooks when deploying natural bait or natural
bait/artificial lure combinations. A billfish tournament is defined as any
fishing tournament that awards points or prizes for billfishes, even if
billfishes are not the main species targeted in the tournament. Billfish
tournament anglers may deploy “J”-hooks only if they are fishing with
Catch and Release
marlin, sailfish, and spearfish are catch and release only. Tagging is optional
and not required for points.
blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, and spearfish are eligible for billfish
catch and release points. Billfish boated for any reason will not qualify for
release points. Scoring for billfish caught and released in good condition is
Blue Marlin | 600 pts | *If Landed, see below under Boating
White Marlin | 300
Spearfish | 300
Sailfish | 200
billfish is considered caught and points awarded when all the following have occurred:
1) the leader is grasped by
the crew or the leader is wound to the rod tip (a leader may be no longer than
2) the billfish is positively identified through
digital photography/videography (if species cannot be determined yet it is
identified as a billfish, 200 points will be awarded); and
3) the fish is released in
a healthy condition and the fish is no longer attached to the boat/line. Boats should attempt to remove the hook or to sever
the leader as close as possible to the hook.
dictates: 635.21 (a) All Atlantic HMS fishing gears. (1) An Atlantic HMS harvested
from its management unit that is not retained must be released in a manner that
will ensure maximum probability of survival, but without removing the fish from
the water. (2) If a billfish is caught by a hook and not retained, the fish must
be released by cutting the line near the hook or by using a dehooking device,
in either case without removing the fish from the water.
Registered boats will have the option of boating only Blue Marlin over the course of the
event, providing the fish meets or exceeds the prescribed tournament minimum
length requirement (105”).
105 inches exceeds the federally mandated minimum size limit. Should the federal
size limit be increased, the minimum size for blue marlin eligible for weighing
in S.C. Governor's Cup Series tournaments
be increased automatically to exceed the new minimum size by two (2) inches if
earn One Point per Pound and fraction of a pound for their SINGLE Heaviest Blue
minimum size has been set for Blue Marlin (105” – measured in a curved line along
the body from the fork of the tail to the tip of the lower jaw).
billfish may not be brought into the boat unless it is to be brought to the
dock for weigh-in. Any boated Blue Marlin must be weighed in at Charleston Harbor
A penalty of 600 points will be assessed against a boat for each blue marlin
brought to the dock not meeting minimum SC Governor’s Cup Series size requirements.
penalty of 600 points will be assessed against a boat for each billfish if it
is determined that the fish was boated and subsequently released.
billfish gaffed or otherwise injured in an attempt to boat the fish will not
qualify for catch and release points.
if the gaff crosses the vertical plane of the boat in an attempt to land a blue
marlin yet it is unsuccessful, the boat will not qualify for catch and release
landed fish are to be iced or refrigerated until such time as the edible tissue
can be processed and the carcass disposed of. Boats landing Blue Marlin
will have a maximum of three hours to complete this task after the fish is
released by Series staff or Tournament officials.
found guilty of wanton waste of fish taken will be disqualified from earning
points in tournament.
Prizes will be awarded
to the boat accumulating the most points during the competition.
points are awarded at the time of release or landing (boated). Ties between points are broken by the time of
release/landing. The date of the
release/landing is based on the boat’s fishing day (Day 1 or Day 2).
will be awarded for the heaviest eligible meat fish species measured to the nearest
tenth of a pound.
tournament committee boat must be notified on the radio immediately after an
angler hooks up and releases or boats a billfish. Release and boated times will
a tie-breaker. The Tournament Committee Boat
will acknowledge the report over the airways and keep a log of all hook-ups,
losses, releases, and boated fish. Boats
which cannot make radio contact with the Committee Boat for any reason should
contact another boat for a relay. Radio
failure will not disqualify a participant.
(Release time will serve as a tie breaker).
channel 71 shall be the primary radio channel during this tournament. In addition, an alternate VHF channel will be
chosen at the captain's meeting. The
primary channel is to be reserved for all official tournament announcements and
angler reports of hookups and releases and boated fish meeting minimum requirements.
a vessel to qualify any billfish for points, every person aboard the vessel who
is 18 years of age or older, must sign an affidavit swearing that all rules and
regulations were observed in reference to the described fish. Failure of any person to sign the affidavit,
for any reason, disqualifies that fish.
To sign an affidavit under false pretenses is an act of fraud punishable
under state law.
affidavits and photos must be submitted and verified to DNR Staff no later than
one hour after scales close on the day the fish was caught, except when a medical
emergency involving the boat’s crew prohibits completion of the form or when a
mechanically disabled boat cannot return within the prescribed weigh-in period.
In these instances, the forms must be completed and returned within three days
of the catch.
designated DNR check station may be located at the host marina to
receive/qualify affidavits and photos/videos.
If fishing out of an alternate marina (other than the host marina), affidavits
and photos/videos must
delivered to the DNR check station, or may
be submitted via email to Amy Dukes DukesA@dnr.sc.gov.
No call-ins or text messages will be
released billfish must be clearly digitally photographed or videoed (preferable
photo would include a visible dorsal fin) by each vessel using a digital/video
camera provided by the vessel. The image
must include a time and date stamp that corresponds to the time of release recorded
by the tournament designated committee boats.
Photos/videos must be provided on a removable storage device, and will
be used to confirm species identification, release information, and will be
used to resolve conflicts or formal protests.
boat is required to keep their billfish photography available to the tournament
and DNR for up to ten days after the conclusion of the event.
Judging | Protests
Official Tournament Judges
official tournament judges are the Tournament Rules Committee. Violation of the tournament rules will
subject the boat and angler to disqualification from the entire tournament
conduct during the tournament or at any function will be grounds for immediate
Only a registered boat’s owner or captain may
protest any fish entered in the tournament. All protests must be
submitted in writing to the Tournament Director on the day of the protested
catch no later than one hour after scales close. The Tournament Director
will convene the official Tournament Rules Committee to consider the protest. The
ruling of this Committee is final. All protests must be accompanied
by a nonrefundable cash fee of $1,000. The individual(s) who submit any
protest must provide indisputable evidence to prove the infraction.