Anglers Catch 597-pound Bluefin Tuna on Spinning Gear


Anglers who use light tackle face greater challenges when fighting big fish, but they will tell you that the satisfaction of victory is greater as well. Captain Domenic Petrarca of Coastal Charters Sportfishing recently wowed a captive audience when he announced on Facebook that anglers in his group landed a 597-pound bluefin tuna on a spinning reel and rod.

“To handle a 200 pound fish on spinning gear is world-class level, with very few catches of this size common save for a few elite anglers and captains. A 300 pound fish is undoubtedly a ‘real’ fish by anyone’s standards, regardless of the gear. When you reach the high end of the 300 pound class, the numbers dwindle so dramatically that you could begin to name them and the fishery where it occurred…400 is a benchmark very few have attained, anywhere in the world,” he wrote on Facebook.

The catch occurred recently near Massachusetts’ Cape Cod. Just days earlier, the charter captain had witnessed one of his friends pull in a 423-pound bluefin also on light tackle, so he was eager to hit the water and engage in a bit of friendly one-upsmanship. What followed was, in Petrarca’s words, the “single most intense hour” of his career.

“My anglers were rock stars, as soon as the fish was hooked, we instantly knew it was of size,” He wrote. “As line melted off the spool at an alarming rate, we cleared everything off the rails and began chasing this demon…directly into the tide and wind, straight into the waves.”

He described the three anglers who took turns battling the tuna as all relatively new to bluefin tuna and light tackle. Yet all three were also experienced fishermen, and that skill shone through as they fought the large fish to a standstill after 40 minutes of chase.

“Tugging on what felt like a runaway bus, we finally worked the beast into sight, and the true dimensions of this animal became clearly evident to all on board….this was a true stud of a fish, a real giant by anyone’s definition,” Petrarca wrote.

Sure enough, when the crew was able to get the fish on board and measure it, the tuna came in at an astounding 101 inches. The official weight was 597 pounds bled. What is truly impressive, however, is the gear that the anglers used to bring the fish in:

Reel: Shimano Stella 18000 SWB(2013 model)
Rod: Race Point 200
Line: Jerry Brown Hollow Core 100#
Leader: BHP Tackle Wind-on leader, 100# Seaguar Fluorocarbon
Terminal gear: Spro 240 pound power swivel, 150 pound split ring
Terminal connection: Palomar knot
Lure: RonZ 4X in herring color

The fish was reportedly so large that the crew needed two tape measures to accurately score the fish. This catch is both a testament to the anglers’ skill, and the advancements in modern fishing tackle that allowed them to land this giant fish. What is the largest fish you have ever caught on light tackle in the high seas? Fill us in on your epic catches in the comments below.

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