The VBBT made a historical feat on day one. With 66 boats that went out, they released more billfish in one day than has ever been released for an entire VBBT tournament to date.
The big number: 237.
Most of those releases were mostly white marlin. The closest year was 2009, when 194 billfish were released for the entire tournament.
Julia Brakhage of Tournament Control says she isn't clear of why so many were released, but she is looking forward to possibly even breaking their own record.
"The guys I talked with said they saw more marlin than they caught," she says. "Some places were hot. When they came, they came hot and heavy - lots of doubles. The weather has been wet here for some time but yesterday was nice – temps in the 80s, sunny, wind SSE at 3-7 kts and 1 ft seas. It’s a full moon but I’ve never heard of that making much of a difference here. I can’t wait to see what they bring in today!"
As far as why the numbers of white marlin made up most of the releases, Brakhage says it's not that uncommon for that to be the prevalent fish.
"This time of year, it’s not at all unusual to have a strong white marlin bite here," she says. "Virginia Beach has been overlooked in the past as a fishing destination, but it really is a great place for marlin fishing."
By the close of the tournament on August 24, a record 486 billfish were released at the 2013 VBBT. That's a number 10 years in the making!
The final leaderboard:
1st Place: Tarheel with 22 releases
2nd Place: Stream Weaver with 20 releases
3rd Place: Bi-Op-Sea with 17 releases
Chasin Tail and Smoker both had 14 releases, Alexis and Sea Toy had 13, Skiligal finished with 12 and rounding out the Top 10 boats were Delta Dawn and Obsession with 11 fish each.