New Zealander Nathan Adams landed what could be the world record for a Pacific bluefin tuna — a 738-pound monster that’s 212 pounds heavier than the current record.
And he did it from a 21-foot aluminum dory-style boat with an open deck, a hardtop for the forward helm station and twin 135-hp Hondas.
Adams, a commercial fisherman from the beach community of Muriwai on New Zealand’s North Island, and two friends were on an 11-day recreational fishing trip for black marlin in February when he hooked up with the 8-foot, 2-inch tuna. The catch made news around the world, not only because it was so big but because it was hooked from a small boat.
Click play for an interview with Adams about the catch.
“I’ve only got a 6.6-meter aluminum boat,” says Adams, 42, who spoke with Soundings via Skype from New Zealand. “The three of us couldn’t get it in the boat. We called another boat to give us a hand, but it was just so round that we couldn’t even get the head over the side. We had to tow it back to the weigh station, which luckily was only seven miles away.”
It was only when Adams reeled the fish to the boat that he realized it was a Pacific bluefin. “I had wanted to catch one of these tuna, but they’re very rare in this part of New Zealand,” he says Adams.
After the hookup, the tuna ran fast. “It just absolutely emptied the reel,” Adams says. “We had to back up on it as fast as we could. But [the fight] only lasted for about 15 or 20 minutes before it died and sunk to the bottom.”
Adams was using 80-pound test. He was waiting for the International Game Fish Association in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to confirm it as a world record — specifically, the men’s 80-pound line class record for Pacific bluefin tuna.
It’ll take the association about two months to determine whether the catch qualifies as the world record, says Jack Vitek, world records coordinator for the IGFA, who received Adams’ application for the record in mid-April.
“It’s a hell of a catch, for sure, and certainly is heavy enough to be a world record,” Vitek says, adding that the current record is 526 pounds, set in 2010 with a fish caught off Japan.
Adams plans to hang the tuna in the Muriwai Sport Fishing Club when the taxidermist is done with it. However, the club is having a new facility built, so it’ll temporarily hang on a wall in Adams’ house.
“My wife’s not so happy because it’s huge. It’ll take up the whole wall,” he says. "For me, it’s a milestone and something that will probably never happen again, so it is going on the wall. It’s going to cost me lots of money [for the taxidermy], but I am doing it anyway.”
Look for a complete report in the June issue of Soundings.