World Records for Bluefin TunaPacfic
Current world-record Pacific Bluefin tuna for men398.0 lbs. (180.53
kilograms) by Terry Maas
Bait fish began to gather over the rocks, stepping from 60 to 90 to 120 feet below. I
had that special feeling experienced divers get when they know conditions are favorable
for big fish. Sure enough, big yellowtail appeared in schools. I yelled to my Hawaiian
friend and teammate Dennis Okada, 'Don't shoot the yellows, I think tuna will show!' Two
dives later, into the 150-foot visibility water, I watched Dennis try to ignore a 40-pound
yellowtail swimming toward him. Unable to resist, he shot the fish and headed back to the
boat with it.
Alone, I was diving the now famed 'tuna alley' of Guadalupe Island, Mexico. Having trouble
with the then-experimental lifeguard float system, which kept deploying its 100 feet of
line in the heavy swells, I pinned the line inside the float. I reasoned that if I shot a
fish, I could get to the pin and release it as the buoys passed me.
A school of ten, 50-pound bluefin, 100 feet away, mesmerized me. They swam so close to the
surface that they occasionally disappeared from my view in the large oceanic swells
Toward the end of a dive, I glanced down, looking beyond the reef edge into deep water and
noticed two small distant tuna swimming in my direction. I froze. Slowly the tuna grew,
soon becoming giants. I kept waiting for them to get close enough to make out detail on
their bodies before I took my shot. When the closest fish just started to veer away from
its course toward me (about 15 feet away), I simultaneously thrust my four-banded gun
forward and kicked. I fired. My intent was to give as much forward momentum to the near
horizontal spearshaft as possible.
The fish took off so fast that it was impossible to catch my release pin as the two buoys
streaked by, almost hitting me. Still joined by the pin, the buoys descended at a steep
angle. Seconds later, they started to float back toward the surface, a sure sign my fish
was lost. At least I could release that pesky pin.
Suddenly, the floats took off again, towing me in a large circle. I caught sight of the
huge tuna, having completed a full circle on the surface, heading straight toward me. I
began untangling myself from my float lines and preparing to dodge the monster fish, when
it rolled over and started sinking, about 30 feet away. I struggled to stay afloat as the
giant tuna's dead weight kept pulling me under. Finally, the chase boat arrived with my
second gun. I dove and made a good second shot securing my fish just as the last wing of
the first spearhead slipped free. We lassoed the 398-pound world-record by its big tail
and brought it back to the mother boat, Sand Dollar. We tied it to the boat's swim step
while we devised a plan to get it onboard intact.
I'll never forget the unbelieving expressions on the faces of the returning divers, as one
by one, they caught sight of that monster fish hanging from the back of the boat.
Notable catch for Pacific Bluefin tuna, Mike McGuire200 pounds (91
kilograms) by Mike McGuire as told to Terry Maas.
Mike McGuire landed a tail-walking 200-pound bluefin at Guadalupe Island, Mexico in
August 1992. Determined to spear a big bluefin tuna, Mike organized three week-long trips
to the island. The first two produced yellowtail only, the last fulfilled his dream-the
fishing trip of a lifetime. Mike recalls:
The visibility was poor, just 40 to 60 feet. We had current, sharks and bad weather. I'd
just watched veteran bluewater diver, Bob Caruso, shoot and eventually lose a bluefin,
estimated to weigh 300 pounds. Excited, I returned to our boat, the Sand Dollar, and
informed the guys that the tuna were in.
Shortly after leaving the boat, I spotted a small school of large tuna in front of, and
below me. Taking a deep breath, I dropped to 25 feet, level with the tuna, careful not to
look directly at them. I remember feeling calm and carefree during my motionless glide. As
I moved my gun toward the direction I expected the school to swim, I turned to view the
stunning sight of eight 200-pound fish. They moved slowly from my left to right, 25 feet
away-too far for a shot. Seeing only smaller, more distant fish further to the left, I
refocused on the big guys in front.
I was just about to squeeze off on the closest fish at my gun's level when a separate
tuna, swimming to join the others, passed directly below my original target. This fish was
closer than the others so I slowly let gravity pull my gun's aim down to its level.
Sighting on its spine just behind its gills, I pulled my trigger, hoping gravity would
help the shaft penetrate on such a long shot. Just as my spear released, the slowly moving
tuna spooked ahead four feet, placing my shaft into solid meat but in its tail.
Tail shot, the fish streaked straight up out of the water and danced across the surface
for all to see. It then dove straight down taking my lone buoy with it. For five minutes
it disappeared; and then reappearing, it bobbed up and then under for 20 minutes, and
traveled a quarter a mile as we followed in our chase boat.
Reaching the float, I pulled in the trail line and to my shock realized I had used the
wrong line, it was my backup tube-the one without line inside. The fish's run had extruded
the «-inch tube to a diameter of A inch, it looked like fishing line. Expecting it to
break at any minute, I let the fish play out and gingerly pulled it up to 60 feet where I
finished it with a second shot.
The fish took three hours to clean. It was the best fish I'd ever eaten-not an ounce went