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Shark fishing heated up just in time to ensure success for two of the Island’s most popular shark tournaments.
By Fred Golofaro  |  June 19, 2017
The crew of Professional Cryer and their hard luck 780-pound mako.

Two major shark tournaments went off this past weekend, Star Island in Montauk and Freeport Hudson Anglers out of Jones Inlet. Far and away the most impressive catch of the weekend was the 780-pound mako taken aboard Professional Cryer during the Star Island event on Friday, day one of the tournament. The fish alone was worthy of celebrating, but for Capt. Steve Roland, angler Matt Wade and crew members Walter Morales, Steve Gutleber, and Frank and Mike Rotondo, there was also disappointment. Because they hooked the huge shark late in the afternoon and landed it with just 10 minutes left to the 6 p.m. weigh-in deadline, they had no chance of having the fish qualify for the contest. The fish would have been worth a cool $40,000 without including any of the Calcutta money, but they did land a fish of a lifetime.

Winning fish on day one included a 298-pound thresher caught aboard the Just Trippen by angler Matt Erylino and Capt. John Vaughan, good enough for second place on the day. The “Gotta Go” with Capt. John Levitt and angler Scott Glazer put another impressive mako on the scale at 453 pounds, which took first for day one and heaviest overall in the tournament. Other makos worthy of note included a 333 pounder aboard the Fish On with Capt. Pete Brancaleone and angler Joe Catalano. The Alexa Ann with Capt. Kevin Kallmeyer and angler Sean Bennett had a 288-pound mako. The only qualifying blue shark was taken aboard the Contender with Capt. Jon Lowe and angler Jay Sutphen. Their 229 pounder took all three places in the blue shark division.

On day two, the Mountaineer with Capt. Phillip Luchini and angler Mike Peck, boated a 378-pound thresher but fell short of the 430 pounder landed aboard the Mandible with Capt. Steve Sorrentino and angler Peter Savenelli. That fish took first place on day two.

The Freeport Hudson Anglers held their 45th annual tournament on Saturday. The crew aboard Hannah Grace, captained by Russell Guarineri, topped 70 other boats to win the event with a 347-pound thresher. The big whiptail earned them $36,024 in total prize money. Taking second place was Born Free captained by John Glasser with a 301-pound thresher. That fish was worth $21,216 in prize money. Rounding out the top three was Slim Shady captained by John Areceri with a 265-pound thresher. Areceri and his crew earned $41,875 in prize money.

Noteworthy fifth place finisher proved it pays to be in the calcuttas is the Jackpot, captained by Robert DiNoto’s Jackpot finished in the fifth spot, but showed why it pays to be in the Calcutta. As a result, their fifth place 215-pound mako was worth $20,821. The Freeport Hudson Anglers were also pleased to award a tagging prize this year. Total money awarded in the tournament amounted to just under $200,000 in cash and prizes.

This tournament also came with a hard luck story. The boat Another Outlet, captained by Fred Faust and crewed by his sons, William, Erick and Joseph, hooked and boated a 498-pound thresher in the area of the Broadcast Wreck. On the rod was Joseph who dispatched the big whiptail in less than 20 minutes. Despite the quick battle, they still were not able to make the weigh-in deadline, but did donate the meat to charity.

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