A 36-year-old Texas state fishing record just fell after angler Troy Lancaster fishing out of Port Aransas landed an 876-pound Bluefin Tuna. It also took the angler over 12 hours to reel in the fish.
The previous Texas record for Bluefin Tuna has stood since 1985. That record fish was an 808-pound Bluefin Tuna that measured 103-inches long. Troy’s new record Bluefin Tuna broke that record by nearly 70 pounds when it tipped the scales at 876-pounds and measured 121 inches long. He caught the fish on April 13th but it’s just been certified as an official new record.
Keeping a Bluefin Tuna in the state of Texas is a tricky endeavor. Anglers are prohibited from intentionally catching Bluefin Tuna in the Gulf of Mexico. They’re a federally protected species. But they’re also massive fish that get really tired from a long fight and can die from exhaustion. They’re also caught in deep water and an angler might never know they’re fighting a Bluefin Tuna until it’s next to the boat.
Anglers can purchase a tag that allows them to keep ONE Bluefin Tuna that measures over 73-inches but that fish must have been caught unintentionally. Bluefin Tuna are often caught “by accident” while anglers are fishing for swordfish. Once caught and kept, the fish has to be reported within 24 hours.
The angler initially started fighting the fish at 9:20 am. The massive Bluefin Tuna didn’t make it to the boat until 6:30 pm. So he was basically fighting this fish for longer than most people’s full workday. I can’t imagine how dead his muscles were after that fight.
I’ve never caught a Bluefin Tuna in my life and that species is near the top of my bucket list along with Black Marlin, Striped Marlin, and the shortbill spearfish.
I’m a born and raised Floridian and honestly it would never cross my mind to try and intentionally fish for these in the Gulf of Mexico. Where I live in Southwest Florida, we’d have to run hundreds of miles offshore to get to water that’s deep enough and after that, we’d likely be targeting Yellowfin and other pelagics, Bluefin just isn’t even a blip on the fishing radar around here.
I have heard of Bluefin being caught off of Islamorada in clusters. Anglers deep dropping for daytime swordfish which catch them on back-to-back days. But for the life of me I cannot recall a time when I hear of or saw someone keeping a big Bluefin Tuna in Florida.