World Record Tuna: Largest Bluefin & Yellowfin Ever Caught

Learn about how the world record yellowfin and bluefin tuna were caught after an epic fight. See images of these massive gamefish in our article

If you have a keen interest in world records that involve some truly massive fish, then you will highly likely have an interest in some world-record tuna. Over the years, there have been some impressive-sounding fishing stories from all over the world about monster-sized fish, but some of the biggest and baddest fish actually feature in the International Game Fish Association record books.

If you’ve ever wondered how big tuna can get, then the world-record tuna in this article will give you some idea about how truly monstrous they can be.

World Record Bluefin Tuna

World Record Bluefin Tuna courtesy of IGFA
World Record Bluefin Tuna courtesy of IGFA
  • Date: 26th October 1979
  • Weight: 1,496 pounds
  • Angler: Ken Fraser
  • Location: Aulds Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada

When Ken Fraser set out on his fishing trip with Captain Eric Samson on board the Lady and Misty out of Port Hood, Nova Scotia, he was using a Fenwick rod, a Penn Intl.14/0 reel, and a Garcia line. He was trolling mackerel when he felt the telltale sign of something big taking a bite at the end of his line.

After a 45-minute fight, Ken managed to get a gaff into the fish and, with a bit of help, got it into the boat.

As this world record bluefin tuna was so big and had taken in so much seawater, it took 10 hours for it to dehydrate and be ready to be weighed. Amazingly, after being dehydrated, the giant bluefin weighed an astonishing 1,496 pounds and made Ken the new world record holder.

This giant tuna has held the title of largest tuna ever caught and will likely keep that title for a long time to come.

If you have your sights set on giant Atlantic bluefish tuna, you’ll need to land one close to 1,500 pounds to stand any chance of breaking this long-standing world record.

World Record Yellowfin Tuna

World Record Yellowfin Tuna courtesy of IGFA
World Record Yellowfin Tuna courtesy of IGFA
  • Date: 18th September 2012
  • Weight: 427 pounds
  • Angler: Guy Yocom
  • Location: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Guy Yocom was out fishing with captain Greg DiStefano on the boat appropriately named El Suertudo which translates to The Lucky One!

He was bait fishing using a Melton rod, a Shimano Tiagra reel, and a Jerry Brown line. Guy and his captain had actually set out to catch a record tuna as he had entered a “Hook A Million” world-record contest. After heading out to waters where other tuna caught had been of impressive size, Guy successfully landed his 427-pound tuna and got his name into the record books, and won the competition’s $1 million prize as a result.

A record catch and a million dollars on the same day – that’s probably the best fishing trip of all time!

About These Tuna Species

Distribution

Atlantic bluefin tuna have a habitat of subtropical and temperate waters commonly found in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea. They have quite a wide distribution and can be found all the way from Newfoundland in Canada down to the coast of Brazil.

Yellowfin tuna can be found throughout the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Indian Ocean. They are highly migratory fish, and they can travel vast distances. They are a pelagic species (they feed away from the bottom of the sea), and they can usually be found at depths of 250 meters or so.

Size Range

The Atlantic bluefin tuna is the largest tuna species of them all. Average weight tends to be between 500 and 600 pounds, and they can be anywhere from six feet to a little over eight feet when fully grown.

Yellowfin tuna can grow up to around seven feet in length and weigh more than 400 pounds.

Yellowfin tuna are a sought after game fish
Yellowfin tuna are a sought after game fish

Angling Techniques

If you are looking for bluefin tuna, then fresh bait will usually be a good idea. These big fish usually prefer the real thing compared to artificial lures, so good choices could be things like squid, mackerel, herring, or skipjack.

You will need heavy-duty fishing gear that can handle these giant fish (and you need to be prepared for a tough physical fight too). Tuna fishing will normally have long periods of calm, with not much happening before a bluefin tuna grabs your line and the fight begins. You always need to be prepared to act when out on the water on the hunt for bluefish tuna.

Similar angling techniques are used for yellowfin tuna so as long as you are properly prepared, you can have a successful tuna fishing trip.

Eating Qualities

Bluefin tuna is considered a luxurious fish to eat that can be extremely valuable to restaurants. There are even stories of restaurants in Japan buying an individual bluefin for several million dollars. This is mainly due to its high levels of tasty fatty meat.

Yellowfish tuna meat is leaner, with a lighter taste but is still considered extremely high-quality fish meat.

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Rob Harvey is an experienced outdoor writer with a passion for using and writing about all the gear that makes camping, hiking and fishing fun. He's been a freelancer writer for more than five years and loves sharing his experiences with readers.
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