Anglers registered 5,069 trophy-size fish for citation awards during the 53rd Annual Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, which ran from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31.
This was the 11th year in a row anglers registered at least 5,000 citations since the tournament began in 1958.
For the second year in a row, offshore anglers registered a record number of white marlin, as bluewater anglers upped the all-time mark to 1,253 whites in a single year. The prior all-time mark for the tournament, 775, was set in 2009.
More white marlin were registered in the program in 2010 than any other of the 35 eligible species and white marlin accounted for 25 percent of all citations registered in 2010. Prior to 2009, the previous highest total was in 1978 when 728 of these acrobatic fish were registered in the tournament. White marlin are only eligible for release so all of these beautiful billfish were released. The season’s first white marlin was caught May 31 and the last one of the year was registered Oct. 18 but the fishing action was consistently good from mid-August through late September.
Red drum accounted for the second highest number of citations in 2010, representing 14 percent of the year’s total number. The 717 red drum citations represent the third highest number of awards issued for the species in the program’s history.