9-Year-Old Girl Catches 400-Pound Bluefin Tuna Off Southwest Coast of England

Only catch-and-release fishing is allowed in the United Kingdom for bluefins, so the fish was tagged and let go following the fight.

Izzy Crotty with bluefin tuna
Izzy Crotty with her giant tuna. Courtesy Fortuna Charters

Little schoolgirl Izzy Crotty (with some help from her dad John) hooked, fought, tagged and released one of the hardest-fighting fish in the ocean. It happened recently on a charter fishing trip off the southwest coast of England, out of Plymouth – the same town the Pilgrims set sail in 1620 on the Mayflower to America.

The Crottys, from the nearby town of Crediton, were on the “Fortuna” charter boat, that has a special permit to catch and tag bluefins in the area. The “Fortuna” is one of only 25 such boats licensed for the tuna tagging program.

Bluefin tuna are protected in English waters. However, the government allows anglers to catch-tag-and-release fish for marine studies of the species from August to November.

Because of the restrictions and protections on bluefin tuna, that area has boomed as a red hot fishing spot for the prized big gamefish, albeit it’s all catch-and-release angling.

“We were around 20 miles out and Izzy was all geared up and ready to go with the rod holder,” her dad John, 35, told the Daily Mail in London. “The fish started off pretty slow then it started to run. It took around half-an-hour for us to get it alongside the boat.”

“We couldn’t believe how big it was. It was even heavier than me and I’m 6-feet tall – it was much heavier than her. Izzy was excited, but exhausted. She slept well that night.”

Izzy battled the heavyweight fish for 30 minutes using a boat rod tethered in a gunnel holder – with a bit of help from her day. The estimated 400-pound bluefin is at least five times the weight of Izzy, who was ecstatic with her catch.

“It was only Izzy’s second (angling) outing and this was the first fish,” said John.

Fortuna charter boat owner Mark Jury told the Daily Mail, “It was amazing watching a nine-year-old catch a fish five times the size of her. Izzy is going to be one hell of a fisherwoman. She gave it a great effort and used all her strength to wind in the monster.”

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