Governor’s Cup

The Governor’s Cup is upon us again. It’s another year of the top catches, as participating boats and teams strive for the record-breaking finishes.

The Governor’s Cup is a series of billfishing tournaments that test the participants’ skills in tough waters, that stress their patience and momentum across a series of challenges. The tournaments provide them a platform to take everything they learned up to now into besting the competition.

It’s an exciting family-friendly event with entertainment, food, and activities everyone and one of the top draws to the Crystal Coast each year.

Below is a guide to the Governor’s Cup as well as a breakdown of this year’s schedule and how you can get involved.

billfishing competition north carolina

How the Governor’s Cup is Constructed

The full title is the North Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Conservation Series, and it is a collection of eight major billfish tournaments compiled under a single umbrella.

Participants are set to meet specific catching challenges under various conditions and locations. The various tournaments are divided by type, such as charter or private boat, as well as location, such as Hatteras or Swansboro. Further tournaments require a specific catch, the time frame, and more.

Participants are encouraged to let catches go after photographing and recording them, but fish can be kept if they meet certain restrictions. Participants are rewarded prizes based on the size of their catch and other metrics, with awards going to the top junior fisherman and fisherwoman as well as best Lady Angler, among others.

While many tournaments in the series may be designed around one impeccable top catch, others value cumulative catches with points awarded for rarity, size, etc. Some tournaments revolve around the largest blue marlin catch, wahoo, most dolphin (mahi-mahi) caught, and more.

Overall, the tournament series is a battle of wits and determination, carrying competing enthusiasts in a format of their choice.

The Seasonal Schedule

There are eight tournaments through the season, running from mid-May and leading into mid-August. Eager participants can visit the official Division of Marine fisheries website to register for any tournament. The below full schedule is posted below for the 2018 season.

Hatteras Village Offshore Open
May 15 – 19
Phone: (252) 986-2203

Swansboro Rotary Memorial Day Blue Water Fishing Tournament
May 24 – 27
Phone: (252)-241-0669

Cape Fear Blue Marlin Tournament
May 30 – June 2
Phone: (910)-256-6666

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
June 9 – 16
Phone: (252)-247-3575

Hatteras Grand Slam Tournament
Morehead City
July 5 – 7

Boys and Girls Club Billfish Classic
July 12– 14

Ducks Unlimited Billfish Tournament
July 18– 21
Phone: (910)-452-2898

Pirates Cove Billfish Tournament
August 13– 17
Phone: (252)-305-3610

Contact Randy Gregory with the N.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Conservation Series at 252-726-7021 for any specific details not covered in the schedule above.

govenors cup crystal coast billfish

More Information

Each tournament has its own selection of smaller mini-events for attendees to enjoy. For example, the Cape Fear Tournament covers four days, with a Pizza Night Meeting on June 1st, an open bar with live music entertainment on May 30th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., as well as a fishing weigh-in period from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. after the May 31st fishing session.

The tournament as a whole is structured and organized to keep it fair and designed to be one of the greatest and most ambitious things to do for fishing enthusiasts of all ages.

There is an entry payment typically ranging from $1,500 to $500 depending on the level of competition and category (yellowfin is a lower level than blue marlin).

The big potential prizes (and the fun) draw in participants. The prizes vary from about $54,000 for total billfish catches to $2,000 for second place in each category.

As every tournament offers different prize allocations and details, it is important to review the official page for each tournament within the Governor’s Cup series which further clarifies information regarding each one.

The Governor’s Cup is a one of a kind event that takes fishing on the beautiful Crystal Coast and transforms it into something competitive, new, exciting and thrilling for all ages.
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Contact us at 252.247.7610 for details about the top vacation rentals on the Crystal Coast to stay in as you enjoy the upcoming Governor’s Cup.