It is not that common. It is far from guaranteed. Some tuna fishers go days without a catch, even at the height of the season.
When you hold a contest to catch the biggest Bluefin Tuna in one 8am-5pm day of fishing, and every single boat that sets sail catches a tuna, it really says something amazing about the fishing area and the boat captains. This is why Tignish, Prince Edward Island is fast becoming known as one of the best Giant Bluefin Tuna fishing places in the World.
An Oyster Buffet Meet-and-Greet was held the night before at the beautifully restored and award-winning Tignish Heritage Inn and Gardens to welcome the participants, introduce the boat Captains, and have the teams draw for boats.
Information packages, including rules and regulations as well as team windbreakers embroidered with the Tuna Cup Challenge logo were given out to everyone.
Friday morning dawned beautifully; sunny and clear with a slight breeze. Everyone gathered early to get ready to sail. Breakfasts were eaten, (courtesy of Shirley’s Café) and lunches given out, (courtesy of MJ’s Bakery in Tignish). Group photos were taken, boats were loaded, 6 boats and crews set off at 8:00am for the fishing grounds.
The water was a bit choppy out on MacLeod’s Ledge, but “That is par for the course at this time of year”, said Russell Gallant.
Many stories were told of the fishing adventures that day, from ‘the ones that got away’ to observations of compassionate experienced Captains and deck hands who kept a careful eye on the tuna, and made sure they were handled with care and released safely.
The participants enjoyed the company and expertise of their boat Captains and deck hands, and the captains had a great time watching the tuna fishers as they sailed and fished and simply enjoyed the day; The sun, the breeze and the companionship.
They fished and lost, and fished again until all boats had caught, measured and released some beautiful bluefin tunas.
Final measurements were: Captain Ian Gauthier’s team with a tuna 7’8 inches, Captain Jamie Gauthier’s team with 7’10”, Captain Peter Gauthier’s team, 8’2”, Captain Andrew Roberts team with a tuna 8’6”, Captain Kenny MacRae’s team’s tuna measuring 8’10”, and Captain Blair Matthews team with a tuna coming in at 9’4” in length.
An awards ceremony and dinner were held later that evening at the Royal Canadian Legion in Tignish. Stirring speeches, local music and a Photo Gallery slideshow of the day highlighted the close to a great event. All participants and captains look forward to next year, and foresee it continuing to grow in popularity. As Russell Gallant said that night “By the spirit and camaraderie I saw today, I know it will be bigger and better next year”
From left are: Russell Gallant, Chair of Tignish Initiatives Corp., Robert Henderson, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Anne Arsenault, General Manager of Tignish Initiatives Corp., Pat Murphy, MLA Alberton-Roseville, Brian Willis, Captain Blair Matthews, and Earl DesRoche. Missing from photo: David MacKenzie and Kevin Jenkins. Congratulations to all!
Be sure to join us for an even bigger and better time in 2013!