Earlier this month OutdoorHub reported on a trio of anglers who all managed to harvest a rare opah during their fishing trip near San Martin. As if that feat was not impressive enough, one of the anglers is now applying to the International Game Fish Association for a shot at the world record.

“We must have just been in the right place at the right time,” Captain Justin Fleck, told GrindTV. “And we were following IGFA rules.”

The three anglers were in Mexican waters aboard Fleck’s Excel, a long range sport-fishing ship operating out of San Diego. The fishermen were initially chasing yellowtail but soon ran into a “school” of five opahs. This is especially unusual since the species is not known to band together, and is considered very rare in West Coast waters. Opah have been drawing more interest among recreational anglers in recent years but are still not usually targeted by saltwater fishermen. Although expects expect the deepwater fish is plentiful, few commercial fishermen actively fish for opah, instead only finding them occasionally as bycatch.

Joe Ludlow was the first of the three anglers to land his opah, after a 30-minute fight with the 181-pound fish. According to Excel Sportfishing, Armando Castillo and Travis Savala quickly followed suit with a 151-pound and 124 pound opah.

“I have been on the Excel a long time and I had only seen one Opah!” Fleck later wrote.

All three were behemoth specimens, but Ludlow’s catch may very well displace the world record held by the IFGA. That honor currently belongs to a 163-pound opah caught by Thomas foran near California’s Port San Luis Obispo in 1998. Fleck says that all the required paperwork has already been submitted to the IGFA for consideration, which usually take a few weeks.

Image courtesy Excel Long Range Fishing

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5 thoughts on “California Angler Catches Potential World Record Opah

    1. I recommend reading the article again, in order to relieve your stress and sadness. In the article, and the one preluding this one, it states that the Opah is rarely caught, not that the fish is rare, or endangered. In fact the articles state clearly they are plentiful and not endangered at at all. The mere fact that they roam open oceans, they don’t stick near any structure or land forms. Also they do not “school”. So they are nearly impossible to “target” as they roam and suspend in the open ocean. Contact with them is a happenstance. Maybe the fact that these fish did seem to be in somewhat of a school, shows that they are proliferating so well that they do “find” each other out there in such huge numbers? Congratulations to the gentlemen in this article. BTW:Those are the biggest sunfish I’ve ever seen. How do you flip the filets?

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