This has been a good year for bluefin tuna in some global regions that for years have seen a decline in the species. And that now includes California, where an over 200-pound bluefin was caught recently by a group of anglers fishing live bait just 10 miles offshore San Francisco, according to a Newsweek report.
Adam Irino, 30, and three buddies headed offshore San Francisco on Nov. 17. They first caught live bait, and then ran 10 miles farther out to start fishing. Soon thereafter they hooked a heavy fish, something far bigger than any of them had ever seen or caught.
“At that moment, we thought it was a tuna, but we weren’t 100 percent sure, and we had no idea what size it was,” Irino told Newsweek.
Finally, after passing the rod periodically among themselves because the fish was so strong, they pulled the tuna to the boat 35 minutes after the strike.
“The fish was very powerful, almost pulling me in, and it took three of us to lift it into the boat,” says Irino. “I have never seen a fish that big in my life. I was in awe of the size of such a massive fish. I did not expect it to be that big.”
Back at the marina the fish weighed over 200 pounds, measuring better than five feet long.
“It was just an insane experience—one that I definitely will never forget,” Irino said in a YouTube video the crew made of the fish fight. “Just the sheer power of that fish, the effort it took to not only find the fish, but also to fight it and land it.”
Prior to catching the tuna, Irino’s largest fish was a 30-pound sturgeon.
“This just blew that fish out of the water,” he said of the sturgeon. “I didn’t catch it personally, it was more of a team thing, but the sheer difference in size—200 pounds versus 30 pounds—was a crazy jump for me. It’s one of the most epic experiences of my life, one that I will never forget.”
Irino is an experienced Bay Area angler, and says until recently, no one thought much about fishing for bluefins.
“There were no bluefin tuna—or at least no one knew that there were any bluefin tuna in the Bay Area until about maybe five or so years ago when they started trickling in,” he says. “Now, it seems like you can almost count on them being here at some point every single year. I’ve seen some old black-and-white pictures of people bringing in bluefin tuna to different harbors in the Bay Area. So, it seems like historically they were here.
“It seems to be a new thing that bluefin tuna, these warm water species are being caught in the dark, colder waters we have here in the Bay Area.”
Some anglers believe bluefins are moving into that area of California because of an influx of baitfish, such as anchovies. Other fishermen believe that tight restrictions on bluefin fishing globally has aided the tuna population.