Pacific Bluefin Tuna Could Be Biggest Ever

Photo of a record Pacific bluefin tuna

“Big Tuna” is a nickname that has graced everything from NFL football coaches (Bill Parcel) to mafia hit men (Anthony Accardo, 1940s Chicago mob boss) and even a documentary, but they pale in comparison to the real thing caught by a New Zealand angler.

Nathan Adams, referring to the catch as a “fish of a lifetime,” recently boated a 738-pound Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) that could become a new world record. If the fish is approved by the International Game Fish Association, it will set an all-tackle world record, replacing a 716-pound, 8-ounce Pacific bluefin landed off Westport, New Zealand, in 2007.

Adams, 42, of Muriwai, just outside of Auckland, was competing in a tournament when he caught the fish, but that was only part of an amazing day of fishing he and partner Alan Langford experienced.

They also boated a 788-pound black marlin to set a Muriwai Sport Fishing Club record, while the pair’s group battled 12 billfish in 11 days as part of the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council Nationals competition.

The fact the fish was caught in competition with stringent rules has fishing fans believing that the IGFA will verify the catch. The big fish are slated to be mounted and displayed at the Muriwai Club. While the display, compared by Adams’ wife to “mounting a sofa,” will take up a lot of wall space, in a different venue it could pay for a lot of walls.

Last year a 700-pound plus tuna, in perfect condition, was sold in Tokyo for $396,000.

The pair hooked the bluefin near Houhora off Northland's east coast and then the black marlin off Ahipara on the west coast as part of the nationals tournament, Feb. 18-25.

The two big fish cleaned up several major prizes, including Langdon winning the New Zealand champion angler billfish title.

The record Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) was a 1,496-pounder caught by Ken Fraser in Aulds Cove in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1979.
-Steve Bowman