A giant bluefin tuna surfaced after being hooked during last year's MacLeod's Ledge Bluefin Tuna Cup. Eight teams ae taking part in this year's two-day derby which starts Friday off Tignish.
TIGNISH -- Enthusiasm is bound to be high Friday morning when charter boats file out of Tignish Run for the start of the MacLeod’s Ledge Bluefin Tuna Cup.
The event has grown from last year’s inaugural one-day event when six teams took part.
This year the tuna cup is spread over two days, Friday and Saturday, with eight teams entered.
Activities actually get underway this Thursday evening, starting with a reception for the teams and captains, followed by entertainment.
Another new feature this year, explained Anne Arsenault, manager of Tignish Initiatives, organizer of the event, is the opportunity to land a tuna. The MacLeod’s Ledge Bluefin Tuna Cup has been allocated one tag to be raffled off during Thursday’s reception. Any proceeds from the sale of that fish will go back to the tournament. The landed fish, however, will be measured for length the same as all other tuna hooked and brought alongside charter boats during the derby.
Teams are permitted up to three hook-ups per day but once they have brought a tuna alongside long enough to measure its length, their fishing for the day is done. From the time they sail out at 8 a.m., teams have until 5 p.m. each day to bring a tuna alongside. The captured fish are set free once the measurement is obtained.
The tuna are around. There’s tonnes of them around Tuna Cup coordinator, Anne Arsenault
Arsenault said there were reports of hook-ups shortly after the derby began last year and she expects similar results this year. “The tuna are around,” she said. “There’s tonnes of them around.”
The Tuna Cup goes to the team that captures the largest fish. Last year’s biggest fish measured nine feet, four inches. The team also receives a keeper trophy and $2,000 to donate to the charity of their choice.
Three of the teams in this year’s event are from off-island and one team has a mix of island and off-island participants. There are four returning teams from last year.
Arsenault said teams can choose to fish one or both day and most are making the most of their opportunity.
Teams that finish early on Friday will have an option to play golf at St. Felix in the afternoon. Teams will be treated to a Taste of P.E.I. barbecue and entertainment Friday evening. There’s a closing reception and lobster feast Saturday evening at the Tignish Legion followed by a dance.