For the first time since 1992, the legendary Cat Cay Tuna Tournament will resurface in Tuna Alley. Costa and the Cat Cay Yacht Club have partnered to host the event June 4 – 7, where teams have already signed up for a chance to win bragging rights.
Known not only for its epic bluefin tuna fishing, the Cat Cay Tuna Tournament is often referred to as the “birthplace of sport fishing.” It was founded in 1939, and fished by the likes of sport fishing Hall of Fame members such as Julio Sanchez, Frank O’Brien, George Matthews, Bill Carpenter, EK Harry, Tommy Gifford, Bill Fagen and Allen and Buddy Merritt. In its prime, the Cat Cay Tuna Tournament was more than just an event to see and be seen, it was where anglers defined the sport of fishing and set the bar for big game fishing tournaments to follow.
Over time, as the Tuna Alley fishery became depleted, the Cat Cay Tuna Tournament waned, but was not forgotten. Now, the event returns, serving as both a homage to the Golden Era of Sport Fishing, as well as a chance for anglers to test their bluefin tuna fishing skills.
The 2014 Cat Cay Tuna Tournament is a no-limit, all-release event. Anglers must use a single hook, with a minimum 15-foot leader of their choice. Once a fish is hooked, only one angler can fight the fish, with no assistance provided by other crew members. To be considered “caught,” the bluefin tuna must be tagged with a satellite and/ or conventional tag and released.
Costa has partnered with the Large Pelagics Research Center’s (LPRC) “Tag A Tiny” program to deploy satellite or conventional tags in all of the fish released during the 2014 Cat Cay Tuna Tournament. The “Tag A Tiny “program studies the annual migration paths and habitat use of juvenile Atlantic bluefin tuna. Through this co-operative tagging program, which uses tags from The Billfish Foundation, recreational anglers and charter captain’s catch, measure and release juvenile bluefin with conventional “spaghetti”-ID tags. Costa also purchased eight satellite tags to be coordinated with the effort.
The winner of the 2014 Cat Cay Tuna Tournament will receive a cast bronze replica of the original event trophy, as well as a perpetual award in the form of Costa’s bluefin tuna “fish art,” to be housed in the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) in Ft. Lauderdale. The fish art is a 3D model of a bluefin tuna built entirely out of Costa sunglass parts, including 1,500 lenses.
“The Cat Cay Tuna Tournament was once upon a time the most sought after sport fishing event in the world, and now we want to bring it back to its rightful place,” said Al Perkinson, vice president of marketing for Costa Sunglasses. “We’ll capture the history, the beauty, and the camaraderie of the sport with this new annual event, as well as gather some important scientific data to help protect bluefin tuna for generations to come.”