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October 26, 2001

Biggest Bluefish

How big can bluefish grow?

Q: My friend claims he saw a 45-pound bluefish caught on a party boat in New Jersey. I don't believe blues get that big. Could you please let me know what the world record is for bluefish? - Richard Neuer, Tinton Falls, New Jersey

A: The all-tackle record for bluefish is a 31-pound, 12-ounce fish caught off Hatteras, North Carolina, in 1972, but many larger fish have been reported. Richard Robins, in A Field Guide to Atlantic Coast Fishes of North America, reports unverified catches up to 50 pounds. I personally know of two large bluefish, one 45 pounds and one 51 pounds, caught in the Canary Islands, but neither was submitted for a world record.
There's no biological reason why bluefish couldn't reach 50 pounds, so it's possible your friend was telling the truth. It's a good idea for all fishermen to keep an IGFA world-record book handy while fishing so they can look up potential world records on the spot before releasing (or eating) them.