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Thirteen-year-old helps catch 591-pound tuna off Cape Cod

From left to right: Owen O'Connell, Ron Crisp, Lola Crisp, and Peter Ventola took first place in the Cape Cod Bay Tuna Tournament on Sunday.Carla Sullivan

A 13-year-old was part of the four-person crew that reeled in a prize-winning tuna off the coast of Cape Cod on Sunday.

Lola Crisp, an eighth-grader at Nauset Regional High School, caught the 591-pound tuna during the Cape Cod Bay Tuna Tournament, which returned last weekend after a decades-long hiatus.

“For someone her age, it’s a huge accomplishment,” said her father, Ron Crisp, a commercial fisherman from Barnstable.

Lola was on the winning team with her father, US Navy Academy graduate Peter Ventola, and 19-year-old Owen O’Connell.

They set off from Barnstable Harbor aboard a 25-foot SeaCraft boat and faced rough weather, with the wind “gusting to 30 knots,” Ron Crisp said.


Ron Crisp (left) and his 13-year-old daughter Lola with their 591-pound bluefin tuna that they caught on Sunday. Carla Sullivan

Working together, they were able to catch the fish within a half an hour. At the time, Ron Crisp didn’t think it would win.

“I said, ‘guys, it’s a beautiful fish, you did a nice job, but I doesn’t think it’s going to hold up,’” he recalled.

But the big bluefin turned out to be the biggest catch of the day.

Carla Sullivan, the service manager at Millway Marina in Yarmouth who organized the tournament, said 19 boats competed in the tournament.

“They had the largest,” she said. “And the weather was so bad. It was a rough day out there.”

The tournament ran from 1949 to 1983 before going on a long hiatus. Last weekend marked its return, Sullivan said.

“We’re excited to keep this going,” she said.

Sullivan was happy to add Lola’s name to the list of past winners.

“I mean, she’s 50 pounds soaking wet,” Sullivan said. “It’s a great story. This kid is a seasoned gameswoman.”

Lola gained a lot of experience while fishing with her father. This summer, they caught more than a dozen giant tuna.

To reel in a fish that size, “it can take anywhere 10 minutes to as long as 13 hours,” Lola said. “You can tell the size of it by the head shakes it does and the way it kinda fights.”


Lola said she was surprised when their 591-pound tuna held up as the heaviest.

“It was really exciting,” she said.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.