I recently heard stories coming out of Southern California that the Bluefin Tuna fishing is the best they’ve seen in decades. In the distance these fishermen think a school of dolphin is approaching, and instead it’s massive schools of 100+ pound bluefin tuna producing strike after strike. So I guess it was only a matter of time until we saw some records begin to fall, like the one just set by Aaron Shook. Aaron Shook is a diehard free diver and lives for spearfishing, and with the pull of a trigger this week he’s completely demolished the California state record for bluefin tuna taken with a speargun. The previous record was set in 1982 and sits at 98lbs, 0oz. The fish Aaron Shook just shot weighs an astounding 173.3-pounds, a whopping 75.3-pounds heavier than the previous record.
Here’s Aaron Shook with his gargantuan tuna that’ll soon enter the record books after it clears all the legal hurdles:
Pete Thomas Outdoors has the scoop:
Aaron Shook, while hunting tuna eight miles of Dana Point with two friends, shot and landed a 173.3-pound bluefin, which is 75 pounds heavier than the existing state record, held by legendary blue-water hunter Terry Maas.
Maas shot his 98-pound tuna on June 1, 1982, at Cortes Bank, 10 miles west of Orange County.
Shook’s tuna was speared only eight miles offshore, and after he and his two partners hauled the behemoth aboard their 21-foot boat, the trio stood “in stunned silence.”
“Then we traded high fives,” Shook said. “There was plenty of elation and, I must say, quite a bit of relief. It was like living a dream.”
Shook said he planned to file paperwork with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as soon as possible.
Bluefin tuna are pelagic fish that typically don’t show or hang around long enough in Southern California to be targeted by freedivers.
The divers embarked at dawn Wednesday and looked for several hours before they spotted a large school breezing near the surface. Walla volunteered to act as captain while Shook and Vadala jumped in, hoping for a clean shot.
Shook said he saw flashes of color at a depth of about 80 feet. He started his descent, but at the same time the school rose. One of the tuna suddenly turned on its side, “as if looking at me.”
That became the prize, but it was not easily claimed.
After Shook fired from about 25 feet, and scored a direct hit. The tuna “torpedoed down like a sub,” and the rest of the school scattered.
The line was attached to a buoy at the surface; Shook surfaced and watched the buoy being pulled underwater. After 20 minutes, he swam down for another shot, hoping to put the fish out of its misery.
For those of you thinking ‘as far as bluefin tuna go that fish isn’t so big!’ just stop and think for a moment how he had to pull that fish in by hand while swimming underwater. This isn’t like fighting a fish on rod-and-reel, this is a tug-of-war with a football-shaped torpedo that’s made of 100% muscle.
Now that’s one hell of a fishing story! Congrats to Aaron Scoop on his record-setting bluefin tuna and the catch of a lifetime!
For more on this story you can click on over to Pete Thomas Outdoors.