A 393-pound thresher shark was caught on Friday in waters south of the Vineyard. The fish, caught by Allen Bradley of Weatherfield Conn., was a record breaker for that species in the 14th annual Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament.

A total of 82 boats from all along the Eastern Seaboard showed up for two intense days of fishing. They started fishing early in the morning and quit by 3:30 p.m. Most of the boats were home by late afternoon.

The best fishing for shark is in waters 20 to 30 miles south of the Vineyard, an area which is among the most productive fishing grounds on the Atlantic. Shark follow the Gulf Stream, feeding on large schools of bait fish.

Four thresher sharks were caught during the two-day tournament, which came as a surprise to contestants and organizers. "I am amazed we are seeing so many thresher sharks," said Greg Skomal, a state fisheries biologist from the Vineyard. Mr. Skomal officiated the tournament, offering his own expertise. Mr. Skomal works at the state lobstery hatchery in Oak Bluffs, but he also spends a lot of time gathering information on the health of sharks.

This tournament was a way for the scientist to gather information on just how well the fish are doing. Mr. Skomal said he was disappointed that so few mako were caught. In the whole tournament, one undersized mako was brought in. "That has me a little concerned," Mako is the favorite shark for eating — it tastes similar to some of the other large fish like swordfish and tuna.

Mako is the most feisty of fish, capable of coming alive at any moment, even hours after they've been out of the water.

"If there was anyone who could catch mako, these guys can do it," Mr. Skomal said. "It could be environmental, it could be overfishing. We just don't know why the numbers are down," he said.

Kevin Glynn, 23, an avid fisherman from Falmouth, was among the tournament's most successful competitors. He took first place with two large blue sharks. On Friday he and his crew came in with a 311-pound blue, the most common shark in Vineyard southern waters, and on Saturday he came in with a 306-pounder. He was the only fisherman to come in with large enough fish on both days of the competition.

This was his sixth year of fishing in the contest. Mr. Glynn, a charterboat captain, said he really enjoys fishing for these animals, for there is a drama in scale that you can't find any other way. On Saturday morning, he and his crew rose at 4:30 a.m. and were out of the harbor in no time. Offshore they found spotty fog and some early morning rain. They sailed 25 miles south of Noman's Land and caught their winning fish at 11:30 a.m.

The seas varied over the two days. On Friday the waves were from one to two feet in height. On Saturday, which brought higher winds, the seas were rough.

Mr. Glynn and others estimated the waves at from six to eight feet high.

"They took a real pounding," said Steve James, an organizer of the Boston Big Game Fishing Club. Mr. James estimated that 82 fishing boats translates to 350 to 400 fishermen. Every boat has a couple of fishermen, and many of the fishermen come with family.

Capt. Bill Brown of the 34-foot Billfish, out of Watch Hill, was not feeling very good about the thresher he hooked and lost on Saturday. Captain Brown said he went fishing at his favorite spot, 25 miles south of Noman's Land. "We made several drifts over the same area," he said, with little result. Shark fishermen pursue their fish by keeping track of environmental conditions, the most significant being water temperature. They also look for birds feeding on bait fish, and they look at the color of the water.

"We fished in a gradient of 61 to 63 degrees," he said. "We saw a lot of birds, biological indicators that there were fish underneath. Sharks are attracted to what we call a comfort zone. Blue sharks like to be in water that is 57 degrees. Mako sharks like a sea water temperature between 61 and 68 degrees.

During the weigh-in of these sharks, dozens of people assembled, seated in their dinghies to watch the event. At 5 p.m. Nick Emord, a co-organizer, started singing into the microphone: "We have a mako, we have a mako, we have a mako."

The fish was later disqualified from the contest, because it was too small. The mako weighed 186 pounds, 14 pounds below the minimum size for the contest.

The scene on the waterfront, next door to Our Market, was the same on Friday and Saturday. Hundreds of onlookers stood behind police barricades and watched as the largest of fish were unloaded at the dock. Excess meat, and there was plenty of it, was loaded into a large refrigeration truck parked on the lot.

Jodi M. Kahn, an associate with The Greater Boston Food Bank, said shark is very edible and a likable fish. All the donated shark from the tournament would be served in meals to the homeless. One key way to making shark more edible is to soak it in milk, she said. The milk draws the ammonia out of the meat, she said. She also passed out recipes to anyone who asked. The recipes ranged from fried shark to shark Jambalaya.

More than 3,400 pounds of shark steaks were donated to the food bank, up from the 2,000 pounds donated last year.

Of the 1,124 sharks that were caught and released, only 26 fish were brought to the dock.

The winners of the contest were as follows: 1, Capt. Kevin Glynn, of the fishing boat Shortfin; 2, Gibraltar, Capt. Allen Bradley of Wilmington, Del.; 3, Fish 'n Boat, Chuck Walker of Vineyard Haven; 4, Down Under, Tony Gallagher, Hyannis.

The most released shark award went to a boat called Albacore, Captain DeCosta of Nantucket. They caught and released 97 sharks. A special flyfishing award went to Ben Walker on Fish n' Boat.

The top junior angler award went to J.D. Walker of the fishing boat Fish n' Boat, with 14 catch and releases. Other junior angler awards went to Mike Behan Jr., of the boat Aegis, with six releases; Tom Ridio, Down Under, one fish; Brian O'Leary of Kismet with seven fish caught and released; Sean O'Leary, Kismet, with five released fish, and Mike Moore of Lady K ,with five released fish.

There were six women who participated in the contest.