The 22nd annual South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series reached its completion with an awards ceremony hosted by Governor Mark Sanford. Caramba was the big winner during the 2010 Series, winning back-to-back tournaments along the way, and owner Bob Faith made a donation of $20,000 toward the 23rd annual season, and challenged future winners to make this a tradition among Governor's Cup Champions.

"That's the biggest donation that we have ever received from anyone and we appreciate it," S.C. Governor's Cup Program Coordinator Wallace Jenkins said.

Faith and Capt. Dale Lackey, both of Mount Pleasant, took home some hardware for the outstanding billfish boat for the most tournament series points, and also for outstanding billfish conservationist for releasing three blue marlin and 10 sailfish during the series.

One blue marlin was harvested during the 2010 series when Blue Sky of Georgetown weighed in a 515-pound blue, earning them the Outstanding Billfish Award. Angler Bill Dial was present, along with owner and Governor's Cup Advisory Board member Greg Smith. The Blue Water Conservation award went to Capt. Thomas Wynne and owner Harry Johnson aboard Petrel for tagging and releasing 22 dolphin during the series.

SCDNR Marine Resources Deputy Director Robert Boyles gave a rundown of the 2010 releases, reporting 208 boats releasing 193 billfish overall – including 156 sailfish, 28 blue marlin and 9 white marlin. Gov. Mark Sanford was recognized by SCDNR Board Chairman Mike McShane for hosting the Governor's Cup Awards for the past six years when he presented him with a marlin plaque for his support and participation.

When the Governor's Cup Billfishing fleet assembles for five events each summer, it is a tight-knit community, but also one that welcomes and promotes youth anglers. There is no statistic that accounts for the number of youth anglers that get exposed each year to offshore fishing via riding along on a sportfisher during the Series.

The 2010 S.C. Governor's Cup Billfishing Series recognized the top three outstanding youth anglers, and in first place was David Aimar of Charleston fishing aboard Splitbill for his release of a sailfish. Second place was Caleb Teske for catching a 36.2-pound dolphin aboard Middleton 58, with third-place winner Taylor Gaton earning distinction by catching an 18.6-pound dolphin aboard Due Course.

For a full awards summary, catch summary by boat and by tournament plus a list of the top 10 boats in the 2010 Series, visit their website here. For a look at photos from the awards ceremony on 9/26 on the tournament forum click here.