The team on the Evelyn Kennedy – posing with the winner’s “big” check – won last year’s 16th annual Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament held out of Rudee Inlet.

After tonight’s party, registration and captains’ meeting, teams in the 17th annual event will hit the water on Thursday for three days of fishing, as the big-money bluewater tournament fishing season arrives in the resort city.

Anglers on the Virginia Beach-based Evelyn Kennedy, featuring Capt. Kevin Pankoke, banked $254,775 last year in an event that saw 79 teams catch and release 116 billfish – 16 blue marlin, 97 whites and one each of a sailfish and spearfish.

That was a far cry from 2013’s record year where 69 boats caught and released 483 billfish.

But in the billfish tournament scene, lots of fish isn’t always what it’s all about. It’s a social scene (read big fun parties), competition and nice payouts. Last year’s event paired out a total of $612,250.

We’ll follow up after we get all the info from tonight’s registration.

The Crushing’ & Fishin’ Ladies Tournament was held over the weekend, with The team on All In winning it all with 900 points based on eight white marlin and 1 sailfish.

First Look took second with 600 points on six whites, followed by Katherine Anne with 500 points on five whites.

Mariah Standing had the top tuna, while Ashmore Standing had the largest dolphin.

Hope Shift was named the top angler.

That event followed the Pirates Cove Billfish Tournament held last week out of Oregon Inlet.

The event saw 83 boats competing for a total of $852,950 in prizes. There were a total of 473 billfish – 31 blues, 42 sails, 2 spears and 398 whites – caught and released over four days of competition.

Desparado, with Capt. Rob Barker, won the PCBT with 16 white marlin for 1,600 points. The team banked $158,278.

Runner-up Uno Mas, with Capt. Brooks Smith ended up with 1,550 points on a blue marlin and 13 whites, but actually was the big money winner with $162,193 because the team entered more divisions.

Third place went to Capt. Bull Tolson on Sea Toy with 1,250 points on a blue and 10 whites – good for a cool $133,636.

Haulin’ Gas with Capt. Bo Dobson also joined the 100 grand-plus team with a check for $113,071 based on his win in the blue marlin release division with two fish.

Other PCBT winners include:

Top dolphin – 20.1 pounds, caught by Randy Crites while fishing on the Kahuna with Capt. Reed Meredith.

Top tuna – 58.4 pounds, caught by Alex Peebles while fishing on the Sea I Sea with Capt. Hunter Blount.

Top wahoo – 53.9 pounds, caught by Frank Adams while fishing on the Ann Warrick with Capt. Brad Diaz.

Shelley Smith, fishing with Capt. Todd Smith on the Triple ‘S’, was named the top lady angler for her eight white marlin.

William Ramsey IV, fishing with Capt. Gray Blount on the Tail Gunner, was the top junior angler for releasing four billfish.

Prior to the PCBT, Capt. Dave Grubbs on the Grand Slam 2 piloted his team to victory in the Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Tournament out of Pirate’s Cove. The team finished with six fish for a two-billfish win.

That said, it’s time to head to the beach for the big party … ah, make that captains’ meeting.

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