85 hookups and 50 landings in catch-and-release tournament
© Guardian photo
Paul MacDougald cuts a great bluefin tuna free Wednesday as Mike Costello and Gerry Lajeunesse admire the impressive fish. The trio were aboard the Gulf Pride, one of many boats taking part in the Canada International Tuna Cup Challenge last week in North Lake.
There were 85 hookups and 50 landings during the Canada International Tuna Cup Challenge which ended Friday at North Lake Harbour.
The catch-and-release tournament, where landings refer to fish being brought to the side of the boat for measurement, saw anglers on 28 teams from all over the globe test their luck in the water.
"It was fantastic. Overall, the tournament was a major success," said co-ordinator Valerie Flannery, who pointed to the awards banquet as the highlight. "We couldn't squeeze another person in there, it was crazy."
The tournament was organized through the Canada International Tuna Cup Committee and The Friends of Elmira Host Committee.
A team named "Tuna Delight" from Denmark took the tournament's prized trophy and title with 452 points.
Captained by Wayne Campbell on his boat "Shelling It Out Again," the group was only one of two to land three tuna, one each day, during the tournament.
While no one from the Denmark group could be contacted by The Guardian, Campbell said they told him they had an amazing time before leaving the province Sunday.
"They said they were absolutely coming back (to the tournament) next year," said Campbell, who was awarded the Captain's Trophy for the team's victory. "It (the tournament) was excellent. Lots of tuna."
Campbell hinted that landing a fish each day could have been luck on the group's part.
"(It's usually not) quite that good, we just happened to be hot for a few days," he said. "They were all pretty excited."
Other awards went to Team Germany, captained by Joey Gauthier on "Pappa's Gem" for landing the longest fish at 138 inches, and the George Sweeney Memorial Trophy for the earliest caught fish over a combined three days went to the Mass Bay Guides from the U.S., captained by Troy Bruce on "White Water '99."
"It was pretty neat to see all three; Denmark, Germany and the U.S. all winners," said Flannery.
The tournament was also a major boost to the Eastern P.E.I. economy, added Flannery, with the more than 100 anglers and their families filling hotels and restaurants in the area during the tournament.
RJR Innovations' Damian Flannery and Rick Koenders won a new addition to the challenge this year, the first annual Tuna Cup Golf Tournament at Rollo Bay Greens.
Flannery added the tournament will be held next year from Sept. 10 through to the 13.
Information will be uploaded to the group's website www.tunacupchallenge.com and Facebook page, she added.