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This year’s annual Bluefin Blowout tuna tournament was a record-breaking affair. A group of 85 boats – a new high – hauled in more tuna than ever before, with a total of 10,271 pounds.

The winning fish, out of the 22 caught (yup, another record), weighed in at 719 pounds. This tremendous tuna was brought in by the Molly Jane out of South Portland, Maine, captained by Kurt Christensen and his son, Erik, and chartered by Matthew Turner of Boise, Idaho, and his two sons. The winners of the two-day tournament received cash and prizes worth about $160,000 (you guessed it – a record-breaking total), and then promptly donated $10,000 back to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Sure it’s about prize money, but it’s also about awareness and giving back. What we have accomplished as the Bluefin Blowout team (and that is all of us) is truly remarkable,” said Warren Waugh, partner of Lyon-Waugh Auto group, which organizes and sponsors the event, in a Facebook post.

The tournament began on July 25 when competing captains enjoyed a kick-off dinner, then pulled out from the docks at 10 p.m. to get in position to start fishing at midnight. Over the next two days, boats returned with their catch to the official weigh-in station at the Cape Ann Marina’s Resort, where eager spectators lined the railings to see the giant fish.

The Bluefin Blowout began in 2012 as the project of businessmen and amateur fishermen Drew Hale and Rob Bouley. The event grew steadily every year until, in 2017, longtime sponsor Lyon-Waugh took over coordinating the event, transforming it into a fundraising powerhouse for the cause of Alzheimer’s research. Warren Waugh’s late wife suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, so the cause is very personal to him.

There’s no word yet on whether this year’s fundraising efforts also hit new highs: The total will be announced at an event at Gloucester’s Beauport Hotel in about two weeks. But recent trends suggest the results will be gratifying. In 2018, the event raised $155,000; in 2019, the total more than doubled to $366,000. Last year, after a two-year, pandemic-related hiatus, the tournament roared back, raising more than $500,000.

Anyone interested in contributing to this year’s total can donate at the Bluefin Blowout website.