Last Thursday, Mike Livingston returned to the dock in Point Loma, California, after a long-range fishing trip into Mexican waters aboard the 80-foot Vagabond. With him came a yellowfin tuna that pinned the needle on the certified scale at 405.2 pounds. That’s Livingston in the green shirt, and this was the first photo taken of the fish at sea. What Livingston had done was not match or surpass the all-tackle world-record yellowfin by a couple of pounds. He crushed it.
The yellowfin record is an interesting one to me. The 388-pounder that held the title before Livingston came along kept its spot in the IGFA Record Book since 1977. Without question, the yellowfin record is as coveted as the all-tackle largemouth, striped bass, and mako shark records. Funny thing is, more than a few people have come very close to capping the yellowfin record since ’77. To my knowledge (up until the largemouth record actually fell in Japan) not many bass came within a pound or less. Nor have any striped bass I’ve heard of come insanely close to the 78.8-pounder that’s held the all-tackle title since 1982.
I think that’s largely because tuna fishing is a crapshoot, whereas there are specific things you can do to up the ante on finding record-size sharks, bass, and trout. When you fish for tuna, the first five might weigh 30 pounds. Then suddenly you’ve got a 200-pounder on. I’ve actually heard that the yellowfin record had been broken once or twice, but considering the anglers didn’t know what they hooked, they rested the rod on the rail, had people on the boat touch the line, and did other things that disqualify the catch from IGFA status. Luckily for Livingston, the Vagabond crew had a good idea what caliber of fish they were dealing with. I think it’s safe to say this record may never be broken again. So congrats, Mr. Livingston, and enjoy the sashimi. Check out the full story here.