Jun 09 2014

Bohicket Invitational Billfish Tournament

Bohicket Marina hosted the 2nd leg of the Governor’s Cup this past weekend with the Bohicket Invitational Billfish Tournament.  Twenty-two boats, filled with crew and their Captains, competed for points in this catch and release program centered around blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish.  The Cup contains 5 separate fishing tournaments that accumulate points based on the size and amount of billfish that have been released.  Any captured or killed fish may be weighed upon return to the marina.

The purpose of the program is preservation of billfish.  Billfish may live up to 15 years.  Unlike meat fish, spawning of billfish doesn’t occur until around their 8th year.  Points are awarded based on a documented “catch and release” via video or other verifiable method showing that the fish was indeed caught and released back into the ocean.  Depending on the size of the fish, it may indeed be captured and brought to shore for a weigh in.  The point system was created to dissuade trawlers from bringing in young fish in an attempt to receive higher points for their release.  Throughout the Bohicket Tournament, 4 billfish were released, and none were brought in to shore.

Information from captured and killed billfish is collected by the DNR for scientific research, such as collection of the inner ear bone.  Similar to trees, circles formed in the ear bone offer information to scientists as to the age of the dead fish.    Other information may also be gained from information gathered on deck.

Cash prizes were handed out for the largest meat fish captured, such as dolphin, wahoo and tuna.  Lady anglers, young fisherman and the top leaders in the tournament won prizes of up to $10,000 for their haul.  For instance, the largest dolphin captured weighed in at 51.6 pounds to Chris Brown from the boat Cotton Picker.  The top lady angler, Holly McAlhany, released 1 blue marlin and 1 sailfish, on the boat Syked Out for 800 points.  The top youth fisherman on the boat Sportsmann, Bennett Wyatt (14 years old), brought in a 33.4 pound dolphin.  The boat with the largest points, Syked Out, won 800 points, with Captain Dan Woody at the helm.  Second runner up with 700 points was Game On, with Captain Trey McMillan.  Third runner up, Miss Why, capture 600 points for their catch under Captain Matt Wilkinson.

The third leg of the tournament will be held at the Carolina Billfish Classic at 1625 Savannah Highway.  Watch this space for further news about this exciting tournament and see how the anglers top out by the end of the series.  As the weather warms up, more bills should be biting, and the meat fish will become even more active.  Good luck to all competitors!

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