Fishing Tournament on Bailey Island Maine

History Of Bailey Island Fishing Tournament

Here is a brief history of the Bailey Island Fishing tournament.
The pursuit of game fish has been a long standing tradition on Harpswell.
During the winter of 1938-1939, the Bailey Island Tuna Club was formed. No one is sure who began the club, but Jesse Johnson, Elroy Bailey Island Maine Tuna TournamentJohnson and John Gould are generally credited with the initial idea. The basis for the club was to promote sports-fisherman.
By the time August 5, 1939 came, 5000 spectators had gathered to witness or participate in the events. Three tuna were caught that day. Howard Dunbar of Worcester, Mass. won both the Bailey Island Tuna Club Trophy and one offered by Governor Lewis Barrows for the largest tuna landed on rod and reel in Maine territorial waters that year. It weighed 700 pounds.
In 1941 the club was asked to host the first “state of Maine Tuna Tournament” sponsored by the governor and state officials. The outstanding catch was by Mrs. Maurice Meyers of Brielle, N.J. who established a woman’s world record with an 818 pounder.
In 1968 the new Casco Bay Tuna club was formed. The Club became the governing body for the Bailey Island Tuna tournament.
The Casco Bay Tuna Club’s “Bailey Island Fishing Tournament” is the oldest, continuous fishing tournament being held on the Atlantic Coast.
In 1989, after 50 years of the tournament home port in Mackerel Cove, the club was forced to find a new home for its base of operation. Happily, Cook’s Lobster House immediately offered the club the use of their facilities at the north end of Bailey Island. The offer was happily accepted.

Bailey Island Fishing Tournament Prizes And Rules

The Bailey Island Fishing Tournament will be held on the last full week of July.

The Captains Meeting will be held on Sunday preceding the tournament. at Cook’s Lobster House.

There are a lot of prizes including $250. first place for largest cod, pollack, bluefish, mackerel and shark. $1000. first place striped bass and $2000. first place tuna, for weekly catch.

There are $50 daily prizes for largest of the species.

There is also a children’s tournament that will award trophies, cash and prizes for: bluefish, striped bass and mackerel.

Weigh-ins and awards will be at Cook’s Lobster House.


The following minimum lengths must be met for any fish to be entered in the sport-fish category:

  • Striped Bass …………… 40″ and over ( juniors only 20″ – 26″ )
  • Bluefish …………………. 24″ Minimum
  • Mackerel ………………..12″ Minimum
  • Cod ………………………..24″ Minimum
  • Pollack …………………..19″ Minimum
  • Shark …………………Blue ( 10′ foot fork ) Mako, Porbeagle, Thresher ( 4.5′ fork )
  1. Only fish landed by rod and reel or hand line may be entered.
  2. The tournament starts at 7:00AM and ends at 4:00PMLinda Greenlaw ath the Bailey Island Fishing tournament 2011
  3. All fish entered must be weighted by the entrant at Cook’s Lobster House, Bailey Island, on the clubs certified scale. Weight Record Cards must be signed by the angler and by the weight master at this location. All fish are subject to inspection by discretion by the weight master.

Fish must be entered before 6:00PM to qualify for that day’s entry. Fish entered after 6:00PM will be weighed and will qualify for the following day with the exception of Saturday, the last day of the tournament.

On Saturday, All fish must be entered and weighed before 4:00PM, the time the tournament ends.

5. In the event of a tie(s) the first fish entered by date and time shall be declared the winner.

6. All contestants, both boat and surf, must be registered in the Tournament Before they may legally start to fish.

7. The entry fee must be paid prior to the start of the tournament or before the angler may legally start fishing.

8. Any prizes or trophies won by a party boat will be presented to the boat’s captain with the exception of registered tournament contestants who are fishing on the same party boat.

9. Only the largest registered fish per person per day per fish species will be eligible for prizes.

10. Tournament headquarters will monitor channel 71 on VHF . A cell phone number will be announced at the captains meeting for the anglers entered in the tuna category.

Fishing Tournament from years past

Tournament Sign In Tent

Sunday: Captains Meeting

The captains meeting went well with a lot of enthusiasm to get started. The rules were spelled out and all seem in high spirits for this historic tournament.

Monday Day1:

Three Tuna caught by the same boat with 3 very happy fishermen. It was late in the day so they brought in their catch the following day to be weighed and measured. Only one junior Striper caught and a few cod and haddock.

The First Of Three Tuna

Tuesday Day 2:

What a sight seeing fishermen and women of all ages bringing in their catch to Cook’s Lobster House to be weighted and measured. The three tuna brought in in the morning were all a little over 200 lbs. Many mackerel, Cod and haddock. The competition was getting  tough and exciting. Late afternoon word of a 80 inch tuna being caught was spreading and we all eagerly awaited it’s arrival to the docks. At 5PM the Sara Ann pulls in with her catch. A beautiful tuna 80 and a 1/4 inches long and weighing in at over 300 lbs.Tuna and fish 017Tuna and fish 023

Fun For All Ages

A Good Days Catch

Scales will open at 10:00AM each day


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