Capitalizing on a solid Friday showing, Seven sealed the deal Saturday and claimed the championship trophy in the 2021 Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament. The 62 Bayliss, owned by Gardner Britt Jr, of Fairfax, Virginia, and run by Capt. Jimmy Hardee, released nine white marlin and one sailfish for an overall score of 700 points. The boat took multiple first place awards, including top boat, billfish jackpot, high rollers jackpot, the Legacy jackpot and dailies for a payout of $409,500. Seven also garnered trophies for the top crew and Wayne McLeskey Memorial trophy as the top boat. Lawrence Morjan and Tim Smith are the boat’s mates.
Katherine Anne had a strong lead going into the last day, but had to settle for second place based on Seven’s late charge. Owner Brad Wachowiak (and VBBT director), Capt. Daniel “Backlash” Davis, the team and mates Lee Marin and Nolan Raunswinter released nine white marlin (630 points) to earn second place honors for boat, billfish high rollers and Legacy jackpots, worth $157,050. Justin “Timberlake” Wilson was named the top overall and top release angler for his seven whites released.
Mama C, a 60 Bayliss owned by Chris Perry of Virginia Beach with Capt. Rob Mahoney at the helm, also made a last-day charge only to come up a little short. The crew did win third place overall based on time for its six white and two blue marlin tally. The boat won $64,800 and mate Tommy “Tomahawk” Farella was named the Joel Webb Memorial recipient as the top mate for the year. Dave Dalfo is Mama C’s other stalwart in the cockpit.
Rounding out the standings for the week were Bullwinkle, a 57 Spencer owned by builder Paul Spencer of Wanchese and run by Capt. Dan Spencer, which came in fourth place with eight white marlin on the scorecard. The boat won $28,350 for the top daily jackpot on the second day of fishing. Builder’s Choice (owned by Harris Huddle/ Capt. Brent Gaskill), a 64 Jarrett Bay home-ported in New Bern, North Carolina, was fifth after releasing two blue and four white marlin. In addition to a second place daily, the boat won the first day charity mystery fish drawing for an overall payout of $32,400. Meredith Huddle was also named the top lady angler for 2021 after releasing two marlin. Freestyle (61 Spencer) and Tenacity (56 Paul Mann) were the other charity mystery fish winners, worth $20,250 apiece. Electric Bill (60 Spencer/Capt. Mark McDevitt) is going home with $12,500 for the second place billfish daily on Saturday with four whites. The boat is owned by Chad Sanders.
In the game fish divisions, Cotton Picker, a 60 Spencer owned by Wynn Cowan and run by Capt. Geno Sauers, took the top tuna prize of $13,500 for a 74.2-pound yellowfin. Paul Micheal Jr. earned an equal payout for his 22.8-pound wahoo fishing aboard Evelyn Kennedy, a 48 Ricky Scarborough (Capt. Kevin Pankoke). Chance Price also won a nice check for his 22.5-pound dolphin while competing on Tuna Teaser, a 45 Viking with Capt. Ashley Cross on the flying bridge. Brayden McMullan, fishing with Wall Hanger (63 Spencer) with Capt. Brian Allen, was awarded the Bryan “Pick” Dalheim Memorial Junior Angler Trophy, presented by the Virginia Pilots Association, for his dolphin catch.
The field of 81 invited boats were competing for $785,250 in overall prize money for the week, which sets a new purse record for this event. The fleet released 168 billfish overall, including 145 white marlin, 19 blues and two sailfish and spearfish apiece during three days of angling.
“It was another exciting and successful event for our teams and designated charities,” said VBBT Tournament Director Paula Owen. “I’d like to thank everyone for fishing, our board of directors, Deirdre Loftin and all the wonderful sponsors, staff and volunteers who make it all possible. Congratulations to Seven for an impressive come-from-behind win. We look forward to seeing everyone again in 2022 for the 19th annual Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament.”