Four species have been added to the International Game Fish Association roster of fish available for record consideration in the line class, fly rod and junior angler categories.
As of April 1, Pacific bluefin tuna, Samson fish, Pacific barracuda and broomtail grouper are eligible species, though few of these will require extreme dedication, if not heavy travel, to put on the board alongside your name.
Here’s a brief introduction to these new IGFA members:
Pacific Bluefin Tuna, (Thunnus orientalis) have been making a strong appearance off New Zealand, the past several years. They’re distinguished from southern bluefin by their dark caudal keels at the base of the tail. Because Pacific bluefin are difficult to distinguish from southern bluefin, the IGFA requires a genetic analysis with record applications for any fish from the southern hemisphere that weighs less than the current southern bluefin All-Tackle record of 348 pounds.
Samson Fish (Seriola hippos) are a member of the jack family, deeper bodied than amberjack and yellowtail, but with the same brutal reputation. Endemic to the southern half of Australia, Norfolk Island and New Zealand, the samson fish has a cult following with anglers who prize their toughness.
Pacific Barracuda (Sphyraena argentea) recognized by their long silvery bodies, widely spaced dorsal fins and a mouth full of sharp, pointed teeth occur from Central America to as far north as Alaska during extreme warm water episodes. Generally they are rare north of Point Conception, California. They are typically found near shore in small groups and around reefs, kelp and other structure. The current All-Tackle record is 26 pounds, 8 ounces, caught in Costa Rica.
The Broomtail grouper, another Pacific resident, is distinguished from other eastern Pacific grouper by the distinctive ray on the tail, which gives the fish its namesake appearance. Broomtails are broadly distributed from southern California south to Peru. The All-Tackle record of 114 pounds, 6 ounces, from Cedros Island, Baja California.