From 1937 to 1976, Wedgeport was the Sport Tuna Fishing capital 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 Soldier’s Rip excellent tuna fishing grounds.
Rod and reel tuna fishing began in Wedgeport in 1935 when Michael Lerner and his fishing guide, Captain Tommy Gifford were informed about the abundance of tuna in the 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 with rod and reel. 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 39 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 Association was formed.
Hundreds of bluefin were caught each year, and Wedgeport became a tuna fishing Mecca. In 1949, a grand total of seventy-two bluefin tuna were caught during the International Tuna Cup Match. The 30,161 pounds of tuna was an amazing feat and the winning team of the International Tuna Cup Match was awarded the Alton B. Sharp Cup, the 5th oldest trophy in international sport.
Due to dwindling tuna stocks and altered fish migrations, the ITCM was canceled in 1977. Thence the Alton B. Sharp Cup was put to rest for the time being.
In 2004, twenty- eight years after the ITCM ended, 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.
Since the revival of the Tuna Tournament 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 up to 16 boats that come to fish for the legendary bluefin tuna. The tournament has been very successful since its revival. The Wedgeport Tuna Tournament & Festival will be holding the 16th Annual Wedgeport Tuna Tournament & Festival from August 17th to August 24th, 2019, and are anticipating a bigger event than ever! The tournament continues to grow each year, attracting larger crowds and more participants.