Thursday, 11 February 2016
It was a sport favoured by the rich and famous, who founded the British Tunny Club near the harbour in Scarborough. (These days its a fish and chip shop.) Among the famous names who took part were newspaper baron Lord Astor, actor Charles Laughton (a Scarborough native), author Zane Grey, and flyboy Tommy Sopwith, of Sopwith Camel fame.
The fish back then were huge - the British record was set at 851 pounds - and possibly the strongest in the world, so catching them offered the same kind of challenge as is seen these days in marlin fishing.
Sadly, over-fishing led to a serious demise in the species's health and the sport faded out of favour in the 1950s.
Today there's a monument to the fad that stands near the old toll bar. Sculptor Ray Lonsdale's work The Tunny shows a fish on a line. An inscription reads: "Big fish little boat, just a rod, a line, a man. The days when the Tunny were here in the sea not just in a ringpull can."