On Friday, November 1st the Division of Marine Fisheries hosted the 2019 NC Governor’s Cup Awards Banquet in downtown Morehead City.

The North Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Conservation Series is an annual sportfishing series operating cooperatively with eight major billfish tournaments held along the Tar Heel coast. The Series promotes conservation, protection, and preservation of our marine resources.

Participating boats are awarded Series points for billfish caught & released and for billfish taken which met tournament minimum size requirements. Penalty points are assessed for undersized fish taken, the emphasis being on fish released. This year, the field of 43 participating boats racked up 134 qualifying billfish: 57 blue marlin- 46 of which were released, 20 white marlin releases & 57 sailfish releases totaling a 91.79% release rate!

Trophies are awarded to boats with the most points in both the “Private Boat” and “Charter Boat” categories. Our 61st Annual Big Rock (record-breaking) WINNER, TOP DOG, won 1st Place overall with 3984.4 total points! THE GENERAL took home 2nd place overall and 1st place in the charter boat category with 3664.5 points.

Individual awards are given to the outstanding junior boy, outstanding junior girl and lady anglers. Brown Gaddy (THE GENERAL) and Banks Downing (FIN PLANNER)  were the 2019 outstanding junior boy anglers & Landt Smith (THE GENERAL) and Brooke Smith (DOUBLE B) won outstanding 2019 lady angler awards! Brooke Smith was the angler of a 497.6 lb. blue marlin caught aboard DOUBLE B, a 54′ Jarrett Bay, during this year’s Big Rock Tournament! (There were no junior girl anglers for 2019)

In addition, trophies are awarded for the largest blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dolphin. To no surprise, TOP DOG’s 914 lb. (record-breaking!) catch won them largest blue marlin & PIRACY followed in 2nd with a 655.9 lb. blue caught during the Hatteras Village Tournament. JOB SITE’s 53.7 lb. dolphin caught during the Big Rock Tournament held on through the summer for largest dolphin! Our very own Will Hanley, Jr. Angler & son of 2017 Big Rock winner Matt Hanley, won largest wahoo with his 56.5 lb. catch during this year’s tournament! Big Rock participant, J&B, claimed largest tuna.

Congratulations to the 2019 NC Governor’s Cup winners & to ALL on an awesome season! We thank you for your continued support to our tournament & this sport- looking forward to next year!

To view the 2019 NC Governor’s Cup final standings, click here.