The inaugural Plymouth 400 Bass and Blue Tournament, to benefit the Plymouth 400 celebration was held this past weekend, July 14 and 15, and was a rousing success according to tournament organizers.
"We had almost 70 participants and 10 sponsors. That’s a great showing for a first year tournament," Peter Balboni, Chairman of the Tournament Committee and a member of the Plymouth 400 Inc organizing committee, said. "The weather was perfect, the tie-in to Plymouth’s Maritime Festival was great and the fish co-operated throughout the weekend. I can’t say enough about the volunteers and sponsors who made it all happen. We’re all just very happy with the event."
The event featured more than $3,500 in prizes and awards in eight categories. The tournament came about as a way to raise awareness of Plymouth’s 400th anniversary commemoration to be held in 2020. It also served as a small fundraiser, of sorts, and managed to add almost $5,000 to the organization’s coffers.
Many of the participants fished in the "offshore" categories and all were reluctant to reveal their secret spots as they weighed-in fish at the tournament’s headquarters tent adjacent to the state boat ramp. All Massachusetts waters were eligible fishing grounds and entries came from all over the state, as well as from around the nation. The farthest sign-ups hailed from Florida.
The winning fish in the striped bass category was, amazingly, the first fish weighed in on Saturday.
Mike Aldrovandi, a Plymouth resident, brought in that 30.9 lb striper. Aldrovandi’s catch was quickly followed by a 30.2 lb fish caught by Paul Bastoni but it held up to that challenge and managed to withstand the test of time across the entire weekend. The winning bluefish was turned in by Thomas Small and weighed in at 12.8 lbs.
Youth winners included Aiden Morrison, who landed a 12.8 lb striper and Olivia Fowl who brought in a 9.4 lb bluefish. Children’s division winner was Scarlett O’Farrell, just 6-years-old, who hooked a 15.7 lb bass. Onshore prizes went to John Martin in the striped bass category, with a 19.8 lb catch and Richard Breck, who brought in a 11.5 bluefish.
Of special note was Offshore Bluefish Division third place finisher, William Sylvia. Sylvia passed away recently; a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. He and his wife, Kathy were both instrumental in organizing the “Green Harbor Bass and Bluefish Tournament” for years and it was the loss of that event that inspired Plymouth 400 Committee members to bring tournament fishing back to the South Shore. Kathy fished the contest in her late husband’s memory and boated an 11.8 lb bluefish.
The Plymouth 400th Anniversary commemorates the 1620 landing of the Pilgrims in Plymouth. Massachusetts, and highlights the cultural contributions and American traditions that began with the interaction of the Wampanoag and English peoples; a story that began a national legacy.
-release from Plymouth 400