As one of eight North Carolina Governor’s Cup participating tournaments, the Cape Fear Blue Marlin Tournament will kick off May 28-31.
The major billfish tournaments are held from May through August and are managed by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Marine Fisheries.
The blue marlin tournament is in its 41st year, while the Governor’s Cup is in its 24th year.
“It’s pretty cool to have events that have been going on that long,” said Randy Gregory, biologist with the division of marine fisheries.
With the economic downturn, there has been a decline in the eight tournaents’ participation, but Gregory said they are looking to build the tournaments back up to where they were a couple of years ago.
Registration is $1,500 for the level 1 registration fee, with three additional levels available for entry up to a total of $3,500 possibly yielding cash prizes.
“The fishing will be two out of three days,” Gregory said.
Those days will be left up to the captain’s choice, from Friday through Sunday.
“Some folks look at weather,” Gregory said. “If you have a big boat, you look at fishing conditions, what you’re seeing with the water conditions and where the fish might be and try to predict the day the fish are going to bite best.”
There is a game fish category for dolphin fish, tuna and wahoo. Most participants catch and release the fish.
Gregory said dolphin fish are running big right now, and it will probably take a 40-pound fish or heavier to win.
“The Cape Fear Blue Marlin Tournament usually is really competitive in the dolphin category, because there’s so many big fish around right now,” Gregory said. “So it may take a really nice fish to win that tournament, so there will be some big dolphin for sure.”
The wahoos could range from 30-100 pounds.
“Hopefully somebody will catch a few tuna,” he said. “They’re always cool to see. I think the average tuna run under about 50 pounds.”
There is always a chance a blue marlin will be brought to the dock.
The awards ceremony is held at Lumina Hall, and the weigh ins are held each day of the tournament around 5 p.m. at the Wrightsville Beach Marina docks.
“This is one of the coolest little tournaments we do with the Governor’s Cup,” Gregory said. “It’s the most Southern tournament we do.”