Anglers have been trying to beat the mythical 400 lb mark for yellowfin tuna for decades - and the feat has finally been accomplished. Three months and seven days after his momentous catch aboard the long-range sportfisher Vagabond, the IGFA is pleased to announce that retired school superintendant Mike Livingston, of Sunland, California, has been awarded the All-Tackle record for yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares). His 405 lb fish, boated on November 30, 2010 now replaces a 33 year old record set in 1977 by Curt Wiesenhutter.
"I think Mike did a lot more than just catch the new All-Tackle yellowfin tuna record," IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser observed. "He also demonstrated to people that it is possible to hook, fight and land incredibly large and powerful fish from long-range boats in accordance with IGFA rules."
Indeed, the significance of this record and the manner in which it was caught are two of the chief reasons the approval process for this record took some time. The IGFA examines all record submissions with extreme rigor, no matter if it is a 1 lb bluegill or a 1,000 lb blue marlin. However, big tuna caught on long-range boats are often not eligible for IGFA records because the angler may have handed off the rod to get around other anglers or used the rail at some point during the fight - both of which are against IGFA International Angling Rules.
As with all other records, the review process was conducted by Record Coordinator Jack Vitek, Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser and IGFA President Rob Kramer. Each staff member scrutinized the application to ensure that IGFA angling and equipment rules were adhered to. In addition, all witnesses listed on the application were independently queried to give a detailed description of the catch from hook up to gaff.
The witness reports were key in this case, and each of the witnesses responded with very detailed testimony that indicated that Mike was able to hook and fight the fish without interacting with any other anglers on the boat. These independent testimonies coupled with a meticulously documented application made IGFA staff very comfortable in approving the record. Basically, it all came down to a very accomplished angler hooking the right fish and fishing by IGFA rules.
"I'd say it's one of the most significant world-record catches in recent history," Rob Kramer commented. "It's great to see a fish like this caught by an angler that knew the rules and adhered to them."
IGFA President Rob Kramer will present Livingston with his world-record certificate at the upcoming Fred Hall Show in Long Beach, California, which kicks off this week, running from March 9-13. Make sure to swing by the IGFA booth and get the full story about the catch. For more information, visit www.igfa.org.