Part of what is so exciting about bluefin tuna — besides their incredible size and taste — is the range of waters where they’re caught. In the following 10 images, consider the different locations where each IGFA world record fish was landed on fishing rod and reel. If you notice some top bluefin tuna locales lacking (Australia, New Zealand, California, Baja Mexico), that’s because this gallery does not include the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) and southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) species.
Nova Scotia, 1979
This catch by Ken Fraser is still the Grand Daddy of all tuna catches. Landed in October 1979, this 1,496-pound behemoth was hooked while trolling mackerel off Nova Scotia. Today, this part of Canada still sees impressive numbers of big bluefins, the largest in all the world.
Nova Scotia, 2011
In recent years, anglers are still catching record bluefin tuna off Nova Scotia. Eryn Jacobsen caught this 911-pounder in September 2011 on 50-pound-class tackle using herring as bait. Commercial and recreational fishing for bluefin tuna around Canada is strictly regulated.
Nova Scotia, 2011
Prince Edward Island, 1985
Just north of Nova Scotia is Prince Edward Island, another epicenter for monster bluefin tuna fishing. Dr. J Steffey caught this 1,116-pounder in September of 1985. Nice hat, buddy! These days, most recreational bluefin tuna fishing in Canada is catch and release only.
Prince Edward Island, 1978
Not all monsters were slayed by men. Coletta Perras landed this 1,170-pound bluefin tuna in October 1978. The fight lasted about 50 minutes on 130-pound tackle. Today, some anglers are daring (or crazy!) enough to catch bluefin on standup tackle.
New Jersey, 2001
In the United States, anglers along the entire eastern seaboard have opportunities to catch bluefin. Maureen Klause caught this 55-pounder on 12-pound tackle in September 2001. She was fishing off Ocean City, New Jersey when the fish hit a chunk of butterfish.
Karen Gilbreath fished out of Ocean City, Maryland to land a 45-pounder in August 1997. The fish took 1 hour and 30 minutes to land on 8-pound tackle. Gilbreath tempted the tuna with a chunk of butterfish.
Outdoing herself, Maureen Klause landed this 80-pound, 10-ounce bluefin tuna at the 19 Fathom Lump off Delaware. This time, her record catch was landed on 16-pound tackle. With her catch, Klause now holds two IGFA bluefin records.
This 974-pound bluefin tuna likely could have pulled a world-class water skier around the ocean if lassoed just right. Instead, Jeannine Francois pulled a Moldcraft lure near the Azores Bank, off Portugal, to entice the fish. Using 80-pound tackle, Francois landed the bluefin after an 8-hour fight.
New York, 1983
Usually it’s the heaviest records that stand the test of time, but Chuck Mallinson’s catch has held strong since October 1983. Using 6-pound-test, he landed a 39-pound bluefin tuna while jigging off Montauk, New York. The fish fought hard for more than an hour before tiring.
North Carolina, 2001
Don’t forget about the fly guys! Rigged with just 20-pound tippet, Bradley Kistler landed this 196-pound, 9-ounce bluefin tuna off Morehead City, North Carolina. Casting a Lefty’s deceiver, the battle lasted more than an hour on that day in January 2001.