Catching large yellowfin tuna typically entails a long run, some live bait and top-notch tackle. Tuna over 300 pounds are affectionately called “cows” by the fleet of long-range boats out of San Diego, that specialize in making multi-day trips to fish the offshore islands and banks south of the border.
Catching a 400-pound yellowfin remained a quest just outside recreational fishing’s reach for decades. In 1977, angler Curt Wiesenhutter landed a 388-pound tuna that held the all tackle world record for more than 30 years. Many felt this fish may never be beat. Sure, crews had seen yellowfin tuna estimated over 400 pounds, but actually landing one of that size remained a goal that every tuna hunter sought.
Everything changed in 2010 when Mike Livingston caught a 405.2-pound yellowfin aboard the Vagabond. This fish was approved by the IGFA and took the title as the largest yellowfin ever caught on rod and reel in accordance to IGFA rules. By the run of giant yellowfin didn’t end there.
Fishing way offshore aboard the Tenacious in early 2012, in legal waters near the Tres Marias Islands in between Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Ronnie Tegland hauled in a massive yellowfin that devoured a kite bait. The cow tuna measured 90 inches long with a girth of 62 inches. The fish was estimated at 430 pounds, but we will never know it’s true weight. The crew had no intention of applying for a world record. They bled the fish out and jammed it in the fish box.
Tegland’s fish was followed by a 427.9-pound yellowfin caught in Puerto Vallarta by Robert Pedigo. The mate had grabbed the rod so this fish was not submitted for a world record.
In September 2012, the world record fell yet again when Guy Yocom caught another monster yellowfin tuna in Mexico. This time, everything was done in accordance with IGFA rules and Yocom took the world record.
In September 2012, the world record fell yet again when Guy Yocom caught another monster yellowfin tuna in Mexico. This time, everything was done in accordance with IGFA rules and Yocom took the world record, and also walked off with $1 million from Mustad Hooks for landing the giant on a Mustad Hook.
The run of big fish didn’t end there. On a 16-day trip aboard the Excel, out of San Diego, John Petruescu hauled in a 445-pound behemoth yellowfin tuna. Although ineligible for a world record, this 445-pounder is by far the largest, most impressive yellowfin ever landed on rod and reel, and it was caught from a dead boat.