The annual Harbourside Marine Bahamas Rotary Tuna Classic took place this year on June 5 & 6 with the usual five weighing stations located at the Green Parrot on New Providence, at Spanish Wells on Eleuthera, Clarence Town on Long Island, Freeport on Grand Bahama and Schooner Bay on Abaco.
As fishermen returned to port from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Friday and from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Saturday, they were welcomed by several Rotary members of the local clubs who were manning the scales verifying the weight of each catch.
On Abaco, Rotarians Reginald Patterson, Deborah Curry, Valerie Dean, Desmond Bootle, Diane Ingraham and Dwayne Wallas, among others took turn on both days to await the fishermen upon their arrival at the dock of the Schooner Bay Marina.
Five boats left on the first day with their captains and anglers hopeful to return with fish big enough to qualify for the minimum weight of fifteen pounds for Tuna, Wahoo or Mahi-Mahi; a lesser weight for grouper, snapper or barracuda was acceptable to enter the competition.
However it was a twenty six pounds Nassau Grouper that was the biggest fish caught that day by Captain Douglas Sands from Cherokee Sound, on the ‘Grouper Lips.’
Fishing was not at its best on South Abaco during the tournament. It was under the rain, heavy at times, that the fishermen tried their luck on Saturday. Three boats came back empty-handed.
The first boat to return to port that day with a catch was ‘Gladiator,’ captained by Don McIntosh who jumped to the dock holding a good size Mahi-Mahi, the only catch of the thirteen hour fishing trip. When held at the scales, the fish registered 20.3 pounds. Anglers on the ‘Gladiator’ were Rotarian James Malcom and boat owner Roy Cronacher.
Another Mahi-Mahi, weighing 19 pounds was reported by Jeremy Wong owner of the ‘Tuna .com.’ The boat was last to report to port on Saturday evening right on the 8:00 pm deadline.
Angler Chris Rees produced a Black Fin Tuna weighing 18.6 pounds and a small Mahi-Mahi weighing less than the required weight.
Besides ‘Gladiator,’ ‘Tuna.com’ and ‘Grouper Lips,’ boats were entered in the tournament by Mr. Rex Lowe with Abaco Gas, by Mr. Ben Harmon and Shannon Pinder and by Mr. Micky Bethel also of Cherokee Sound.
The fishermen were treated to a complimentary dinner at Sand Piper Inn each night and Schooner Bay provided the use of the dock and the weighing station.
The Harbourside Marine Bahamas Rotary Tuna Classic is a fund raiser for Rotary. The official results of the tournament were announced on June 12, during a dinner held at the Green Parrot. Prizes and Awards were handed out during the evening.
‘Gladiator’ caught the third largest Mahi Mahi, putting Abaco in the third place behind Freeport and Spanish Wells which placed first. Heather Albury placed first in the Lady Anglers category with a seventeen pound tuna caught on Micky Bethel’s boat.