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Catch of ‘Super Cow’ shatters world record

By Staff | Dec 16, 2010

Long-range fishing’s most coveted record — one that has lasted more than 33 years — was shattered on Monday, Dec. 6. The worldwide fishing community anxiously waited on the word that a potential new world record yellowfin tuna was on its way back to Point Loma, San Diego to be weighed.

The behemoth, landed by Mike Livingston of Sunland, Calif., weighed 405.2 pounds. Its girth was 61 inches, and it measured nearly 86 inches from nose to tail.

Livingston’s tuna is not only the largest ever landed by an angler on rod and reel, but it is also the largest ever caught without any back-up reels or assistance from the crew.

Livingston caught the fish fly lining with a sardine at 11 a.m. on Nov. 30. He used a Penn International 30SW reel attached to a 5.5-foot rod that he custom wrapped himself. He was using 100-pound test Soft Steel Ultra line that he tied straight to a 9/0 Owner Super Mutu hook. It took him two hours and 40 minutes to reel in the tuna.

The Vagabond, an 80-foot deluxe sportfisher out of Point Loma Sportfishing, had been on a ten-day expedition in search of “Super Cows” — tuna weighing 300 pounds or more. They were 100 miles west of Magdalena Bay on the southern Baja California peninsula.

The previous record was the 388-pound, 12-ounce yellowfin caught April 1, 1977 by Curt Wiesenhutter aboard the Royal Polaris at Mexico’s now-closed Revillagigedo Islands. The only known previous catch of a yellowfin heavier than Weisenhutter’s was a 399-pound specimen caught in 1992 aboard the Polaris Supreme. But because more than one angler handled the rod, the catch did not qualify as an IGFA record.

Pending approval by the International Game Fish Association, Mike Livingston’s 405.2-pound yellowfin tuna will be the IGFA’s new all-tackle, world record.

Since the fish was caught in Mexican waters, it will take at least 90 days to approve it as a record. Generally, all-tackle records with such notoriety are examined longer.

The 400-pound barrier has never been broken before with a yellowfin tuna. Fishing aficionados call a 400-pound tuna the “Holy Grail” of fishing.

The Hawaii State yellowfin record is 325 pounds landed in 1990 by Joey Cabell off Lanai. The Lahaina Harbor record is a 235-pound tuna caught during the first 1977 Lahaina Jackpot Fishing Tournament by Melvin Cabral aboard Candy-O. The Lahaina Harbor Charter Boat record is a 225-pound tuna weighed in 1980 by Larry Burdick aboard the Halcyon with Capt. David Rockett.