It was mid-afternoon on August 4th 2016. The opening day of the 19th Annual Sturdivant Island Tuna Tournament was off to a great start. The weather Gods were smiling on us and fish were headed for the scale. Capt. Bo Adams was the first to arrive with his classic ‘stick-boat’ Cindy K. A long-time participant, Adams and his crew made a respectable opening bid with their 376.3-lb bluefin. After the usual fanfare of photos and hand shaking, our weigh-masters were ready to go to work as at least two more tuna had been phoned-in.
When the next boat tied up at the Spring-Point Marina tournament scales, it was obvious they had a serious entry on deck. The cockpit of Tom Mansfield’s F/V Allyson was occupied by a really big tuna! I’m sure there were at least a few folks wondering if it was a contender for the Maine State Rod and Reel record, and a $50,000 Grand Prize! As the big fish lifted off the deck, Certified Weigh-Master Walt Golet called out an official weight of 817.7-lb. At the very least, Mansfields’ huge fish had set a high bar for his fellow contestants!
The fishing had been fast for Patrick Simmons and his F/V Kelly Anne crew. With two fish on deck, these guys and gals were not messing around. Their first tuna weighed-in at 307-1-lb and the second even larger fish, was a very respectable 458.4-lb.
Weigh-Ins were slow to come in on Day 2 but at 6PM Joe Mazzerolle’s F/V Overcurrent steamed past the breakwater to make their bid. With a 265.2-lb entry and a 505.2-lb. fatty, the Overcurrent crew was solidly in second place, knocking Simmons’ 458.4-lb. fish back to 3rd.
Then, on the final afternoon of the event, Mitch Napolitano brought in solid 410.4-lb. fish mid on-board his F/V Winann Jea, placing him in 4th.
For those that know our tournament history, you can’t count anything out until the scale has closed. There is a lot of talent out there and upsets do happen. There were a few anxious Captains when the Speeches crew on F/V Erin & Sarah came in to offloaded their bluefin entry. Out of the tournament money this time, but weighing in a healthy 340.3-lb tuna.
What about that Maine State Rod and Reel record? Did it apply to Mansfield’s 817.7-lb giant?
The official record is 819-lb. set in 1977 by Jerry Jamison. They had come within 2 pounds of bettering that number.
Please keep in mind, there is certain criteria that the State of Maine places on setting Rod and Reel records. Participants hoping to claim the $50K grand prize, should be aware of this when fishing in the 20th annual Sturdivant Island Tuna Tournament in 2017.
Congratulations to our Captain’s and Crews and especially to Tom Mansfield and the F/V Allysson Crew… our SITT 2016 Winner!