From 1935 to the mid -1960’s, Wedgeport was the Sport Tuna Fishing capitol of the world. The bluefin tuna was attracted close to the shores of Wedgeport by the abundance of feed-fish, thus making the Tusket River and the Tuna Rip excellent tuna fishing grounds.
Wedgeport rod and reel tuna fishing began in 1935 when Michael Lerner and his fishing guide Captain Tommy Gifford were informed about the abundance of tuna in Wedgeport waters. Although attempts to catch bluefin by rod and reel in Wedgeport was not new, Lerner was the first successful angler to land a Bluefin. To everyone’s delight and amazement, he caught five Bluefin during his first fishing trip to Wedgeport.
In 1937, through the efforts of S. Kip Farrington Jr, the first International Tuna Cup Match was organized in Wedgeport. Over the years, twenty-eight different countries participated in the International Tuna Cup Match.
Charter boat Captains organized themselves with a manager and a club to promote tuna fishing. As a result, the Wedgeport Tuna Guides were formed.
Hundreds of bluefin were caught each year, and Wedgeport became a tuna fishing Mecca. In 1949, seventy-two bluefin tuna were caught during the International Tuna Cup Match. The 30,161 pounds of tuna was an amazing feat.
During the International Tuna Cup Matches, the winning team was awarded the Alton B. Sharp Cup, the 5th oldest trophy in international sport.
Due to dwindling tuna stocks, or altered fish migrations, the ITCM was canceled in 1976. Thence the Alton B. Sharp Cup was put to rest for the time being.
In 2004, twenty- eight years after the tournament’s demise, the Wedgeport Tuna Tournament was launched in collaboration with the Yarmouth Shark Scramble. Although no fish were landed that year, it marked the beginning of a tournament
that has been successful ever since.
The re-establishment of a tuna tournament and festival has revived interest in sport fishing both locally and internationally.
Each year, near the end of August, Wedgeport holds its Annual Tuna Tournament & Festival. Anglers from Canada and the United States participate in this historic tournament. Each year, we have from 5 to 10 boats that come to
fish for the legendary Giant Bluefin Tuna. The tournament has been successful since its revival in 2004, having caught 54 tuna in the past 7 years. The Wedgeport Tuna Tournament & Festival will be holding the 9th Annual
Wedgeport Tuna Tournament & Festival from August 19th – 25th 2012, and are anticipating a bigger event than ever! The tournament continues to grow each year, attracting larger crowds and more participants.
For more information about Wedgeport and its rich history around tunas, please visit http://wedgeporttunamuseum.com/