Montana Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament 2023


The Montana Governor’s Cup walleye tournament kicked off Friday in Garrison Bay. One hundred sixty-one two-man teams will compete over two days.

After several passes, the boys could identify areas for concentration on tournament day. Once this focus had been placed, they concentrated on these spots and quickly had another over.

Table of Contents


The Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament in Northeast Montana is an annual fishing event open to all anglers. A particular highlight of this tournament is a fun Calcutta held each Thursday and Friday evening at Kiwanis Park in Fort Peck – providing participants with opportunities for cash, prizes, and merchandise wins! Additionally, families can share an outdoor experience while attending.

This year’s tournament featured an unprecedented field of 207 teams from seven states. Many groups comprise family members competing together across generations; it provides an excellent way to spend quality time together while simultaneously helping promote fishing as a sport.

Matthew and Cody Hostler caught a 91-pound striped bass to take first place in the private boat category and win first prize, taking home $25,000, two rod and reel combinations, as well as having their names permanently inscribed onto the Governor’s Cup, always displayed at Island Beach State Park.

Pam McGee took home first place in the high school team category with her 37 1/2-inch striped bass catch, earning a prize package including two rod and reel combinations and a plaque and qualifying for participation in the 2023 Series championship tournament.

As well as receiving cash prizes, each participating team also earns Series points for billfish that meet tournament minimum size requirements – both those caught and released – awarded during each category tournament. The top 10 teams in each category will receive trophies and may be eligible to claim the grand prize of $100,000.

The Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament is organized annually by NJDEP Fish & Wildlife, NJ State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, and Jersey Coast Anglers Association, and proceeds go toward beach and surf fishing instruction programs and equipment purchases for use at state parks across New Jersey. Over $135,000 has been raised since 1991, when this event started, while private sponsors donated an additional $30,000.


The Montana Governor’s Cup walleye tournament occurs annually in beautiful Fort Peck, Montana, and offers high school-age students an exciting and competitive fishing environment. Winning teams receive plaques donated by The Fisherman to display back at their schools; entry and park admission is free for student teams. Co-sponsored by Reel Seat, Fish Hawks Saltwater Anglers Club, Shark River Surf Anglers, Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs New Jersey, and Shark River Surf Anglers; co-sponsored tournament categories include High School Team Categories which welcome students that belong to formal fishing clubs or groups affiliated with Hooked On Fishing – Not On Drugs New Jersey or Shark River Surf Anglers to compete.

To be eligible for awards, participants must register online or by mail before June 1. Adult registration fees for teams is $100, while registration of children aged 3-12 is free; early registrants will save money while being eligible for additional prizes.

All registrants must present their boat information and photo identification at the Captain’s Meeting. VHF channel 72 will serve as the tournament communication channel; an alternate channel may also be designated. Any hook-ups or releases should be reported immediately to the Committee Boat via radio; also, keep a log of any caught and boated fish. If unable to reach them directly, contact must be made with another boat to relay information.

On June 24th, all registered boats and their occupants must appear for a polygraph exam conducted by an independent examiner. Failure to appear for this test will result in disqualification from the tournament; their decision is final and binding.

Eligible billfish species for this tournament include Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish, Dolphin, and Wahoo. Blue Marlin must reach at least 105 inches of curved body fork length to qualify as legal; all blue marlin must be brought directly to Charleston Harbor Marina dock for weigh-in; if released without meeting minimum series size requirements, points will be deducted from that boat’s overall score.


The Governor’s Cup 2023 features raffles and prizes galore for its participants, such as Yeti Coolers and Big Green Egg Grills as grand prizes. There is also a $500 gas raffle and free entry into the tournament for the first 100 registered people – not forgetting free food and drinks available all day! Plus, this event provides an excellent opportunity to meet fellow fishermen while getting involved with local communities!

Entrants compete in various age groups and fish species categories. Those who catch the overall largest fish earn the “Governor’s Award,” with their name permanently inscribed on a Governor’s Cup displayed at Island Beach State Park. New this year is a high school team category where students from multiple schools can compete against one another.

No matter the harsh economic climate, Governor’s Cup participation remains robust each year. Many participants return each year and enjoy attending this tournament despite its challenges. Not only does the Governor’s Cup raise funds, but it also gives back to its local communities through charitable donations; this year, the tournament will benefit Angel Flight NE, Barnstable Police K9 Foundation, Cape Abilities, Duffy Health Center, Joslin Diabetes Center May Institute Tommy’s Place and WellStrong through charitable donations made at this tournament.

Coastal Marine Management Association is proud to host this summer’s Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series tournament, which has raised over $1.1 million over its seven-year run and donated all profits directly to non-profit charities like Yarmouth Police Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod and Islands, WellStrong, and YMCA Cape Cod.


Participants can win various prizes at the Governor’s Cup Surf Fishing Tournament. The fisherman with the most significant catch will take home the Governor’s Award and have his name etched onto a Governor’s Cup, permanently displayed at Island Beach State Park. Funds raised through this tournament go toward improving beach access and surf fishing instruction programs at Island Beach State Park; it’s sponsored by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Fish & Wildlife division and State Parks Forests Historic Sites division as well as Jersey Federation Sportsmen Clubs and New Jersey Surf Fishing Association – three organizations which come together to put on this annual event!

Prize money at this Tournament is divided amongst the top ten catches for private and charter boats, plus points awarded based on how many billfish were caught and released during three fishing days. Teams may enter one fun fish (dolphin, tuna, or wahoo) daily for an additional cash prize.

After an intensive day of pre-fishing, Mason and Nick were able to quickly narrow down areas and identify top spots for tournament day. Mason continued bottom-bouncing deeper water with Mack’s Lure Smile Blades while Nick began trolling crankbaits along various points and break lines, producing overs and quality slot fish.