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Giant Gulf Bluefin Steals The Show at Louisiana Billfish Tournament

It was a billfish tournament, but the star catch was a tuna the size of a small car.

Devotion crew with huge bluefin tuna
Josh Tice fought the monster tuna for just under two hours. Courtesy Josh Tice

They were targeting giant blue marlin off Grand Isle in the Louisiana Gulf Coast Billfish Classic in early May, 2021. But a massive 683.5-pound bluefin tuna earned the most attention at the Hurricane Hole Marina weigh in.

The tuna didn’t even win a prize, because all the marbles were for billfish.

The crew of the “Devotion” boat out of Orange Beach, Ala. boated the big fish, which took angler and boat owner Josh Tice just under two hours to catch. Tice’s boat also caught the most blue marlin (4) during the 3-day event, winning the tourney.

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Sixty-five anglers on 13 boats competed in the tournament. They caught 18 blue marlin and one white marlin. All were released. Fifteen yellowfin tuna were caught, including four weighing over 100 pounds, one a 155-pounder.

Yellowfins are far more common in the Gulf than the much larger bluefins, making the 683.5-pound behemoth all the more impressive.

Bluefin tuna skeleton mount
After cleaning his fish, Tice gave the carcass to Skulls Unlimited, of Oklahoma City, who articulated the skeleton for a bone mount. Courtesy Skulls Unlimited

“Bluefin tuna don’t count in the tournament,” said event director Robbie Carter, reported Louisiana Sportsman’s website. “They are weighed for the spectators, especially kids, who love it. Bluefins are absolutely enormous.”

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The “Devotion” was using live bait for blue marlin. After one tuna hit and made a blistering run, a second bluefin took another live bait.

“We decided to go after the one that had the most line on the reel still,” said Jason Hallmark of Destin, Fla., “Devotion” captain. “The owner hooked it and got it in all by himself.”

Eventually, the second fish broke off.

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“It was probably for the best,” Hallmark said. “Trying to deal with two of those things of that size is almost impossible, so it worked out for us.”

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