World Records for North American Yellowtail
We arrived at
Previous World-record North American Yellowtail for men84.6 Pounds, (38.4 kilograms) Alijos Rocks, Mexico, Nov 30, 2003 by Dick Gebhard
Last year the day after Thanksgiving, Myself, my son CADEN, and some friends went down the coast from San Diego to CABO aboard the Long Range Sportfisher Spirit of Adventure, owned by Mike and Ann Marie Keating. They offered their boat for a charity that supports the Big Brother and Sisters. We were lucky enough to be the high bidder.
We headed directly for Alijos Rocks, which took almost two days to get there. Once at the Rocks, we are a little disappointed, because the water temperature was 69 degrees, I have always used Riffe guns and equipment, so we changed all of the lines to stainless steel cable. On our last trip we had lost a lot of WA HOOS and spears to the sharks. We spent the morning getting our gear ready, before the dive. I was using Jay Riffes Blue Water Gun with two floats. My son and I were the only ones diving, so the boat anchored up and the rest started to fish for Yellow Fin Tuna. My son and I got into a panga and Mike told us to check out a rock that was about 30 feet below the surface. Once in the water, it was unbelievable. There were fish everywhere. After about ten minutes of diving we were seeing Yellow Fin, WA HOO and Yellow Tail. CADEN and I were together and we both dove at the same time. There at 25 feet down we leveled off and to our right was a school of Tuna that were over 100lbs!!!!!! To our left a school of about 10 WA HOO was coming in on us. So here I was running out of air not knowing which way to go. Just when I was out of air I looked below me and saw what to me was the biggest Yellow Tail I have ever seen. I started to descend a little and intersect the fish. I was out of air so I took the shot. I got him right behind the gills and a little back, but it held. It took about fifteen minutes to get to the Panga. When we got him into the Panga, CADE looked at me asked why I shot this one. I looked at him, and said are you crazy this guy is huge!!! Then CADE said, but Dad the one that was right behind him was at least 10 lbs. Heavier!!!! Once at the boat we measured him, and put it on my Scale Master certified scale. He was 84 pounds, but I heard the record was 86 so I was a little disappointed. Once the boat arrived back in San Diego the fish was weighed again at H and M landing on a certified scale that does tenths of a pound. This time the Yellow Tail weighed 84.6 pounds.
So with that we bid on the Spirit of Adventure again and we are going back this Thanksgiving. Mike and his gang are the best!!! They know where the fish are, and they dont mind if you get in the water, you can have the best of both worlds if you charter with them.
Previous world-record yellowtail for men77.4 pounds (35.1 kilograms) by Craig O'Connor September 23, 2004 at Guadalupe Island, Mexico
It was day six, the boat was anchored on the south end of the island. I spent most of the morning id deep water, looking for tuna. Conditions looked good, visibility was 65-75 feet. I stayed there a while but the current grew stronger so I headed inshore toward a prominent point and settled on an area that looked good. I decided to stay in this area to see in any yellow tail swam by. I was now in 60-65 feet of water. The bottom was barely visible from the surface as I watched the bait fish. I'd made occasional dives and dove down to what was spooking the bait. Several times, it was Guadeloupe Fur Seals and other times it was small yellow tail. I saw the bait fish act abnormally so I slipped down to see what might come by.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw to yellow tail coming up as I headed away from them, dropping deeper and turned to see the two yellow tail approaching me. They appeared to be in the 30 to 50-pound class and I focused on the second fish. I waited slowly, patiently until I had a shot. I squeezed the trigger and the shaft sped toward the fish.
I hit it right behind the gill plate. This stunned the fish momentarily and I swam for the float line before the fish could head for the bottom. I swam hard, charging out to deeper water. One of the Fur Seals dashed in and the fish responded equally fast, pulling away from and the seal. The fish was diving for the bottom as I went up to the surface. I had to let some of the line go through my hand jus to get to the surface for some air. But I as able to keep him off the bottom and away from the rocks and the seal!
I kept swimming into deeper water. I fought the fish for the next 15 minutes, playing a modified tug-or-war, him sounding and me regaining the surface for much needed air. I raised my gun out of the water. This being a signal to the boat that a skiff was needed. I did not have time to see if one was on its way as I was still fighting the fish. I was tired but was pulling the fish to the surface, slowly and carefully I brought the fish to the surface. This was when I realized it was a bigger fish that I thought, it was a big fish, a monster, and I was not going to lose it. I hauled it up to the spear shaft all the way up until I got my hand into its gills. I wrapped my legs around it to keep the fish from getting away, then I took out my knife to subdue the fish, at this point a struggle ensued causing me to lose my knife but resulting in a dead fish.
The skiff driver was now standing by and passed me down a stringer for the
fish before I removed the spear.f I was pretty tired at this point and was ready to go
back to the boat. Once in the skiff, I could see this was a personal best, the largest
yellowtail I had ever shot
Former world-record yellowtail for men77 pounds (34.95 kilograms) by Doug
I got a lift from the Horizon's skiff to
about 1/3 mile up current. I was the first freediver into the water that morning. This was
one of the few days the sun had come out. The water was blue and inviting, just as I had
remembered from previous trips here. Once in the water I realized I was in about 200' of
water and started swimming away from the island.
Previous world-record yellowtail for men72.7pounds (33 kilograms) by Joe
The trip began with many unanswered questions. What would the water temperature and
visibility be? Would there be bluefin tuna? Would anyone get chased out of the water by
great white sharks like last year? We had taken the Horizon dive boat to Guadalupe Island
five years in a row now but we always went in September. I knew well what conditions I
could expect to find in September but what about June?
Previous world-record yellowtail for men68.3 pounds (31.01 kilograms) by Mark Steele as told to Terry Maas
Marine biologist Mark Steele took his 68.3-pound North American record from the La
Jolla kelp beds of California in May 1990. Shore diving, Mark entered the water by timing
the mild sea swells and letting them sweep him off the rocks. Twenty minutes later, he was
patrolling the outer edge of the kelp forest growing from 70 feet of water. The water was
67 degrees Fahrenheit, warm for that time of year, but the visibility was only 15 feet. He
leveled off at 20 feet and watched schools of jack mackerel, streaming by and milling
about aimlessly, obviously not threatened by gamefish. Finding a school of barred sand
bass, the biologist in Mark took over as he observed the breeding fish at 40 feet.
Previous world-record North American yellowtail for men65 pounds 29.51 kilograms) by Tom MurrayDate ----- October 14, 1988
Location ----- Cortez Bank, California
The strong current was becoming slack with the incoming tide. We were able to anchor after operating a live boat for most of the day. There were several large yellowtail taken to 35 lbs. Large schools of small bluefin tuna were seen. The few shots taken at the tuna missed.
I slid off the swimstep and loaded my old standard Riffe gun. It had three 9/16" bands, a 9/32" x 57" shaft, Riffe's small spearhead and a new Wally Potts reel. After loading, I made a dive to clear my wet suit of trapped air. Upon my return to the surface I saw, at the edge of my visibility, two very large bluefin three feet below the surface. The tuna were motionless but getting closer. They moved like robots and appeared to be about seven or eight feet long. Definitely the largest fish I had ever seen. Luckily they didn't come into range as I was not prepared to take a shot at one.
After the tuna moved on, I made a dive to thirty feet. Out of the blue, three large yellowtail moved in. One passed me before I could swing my gun around. The second one looked to be the largest. I took a shot, aiming at the eye. The shaft hit in back of the dorsal fin about one inch under the soft rays. I hit the surface and yelled that I had maybe a forty five pounder on but probably not for long. I let the line slip from the reel.
I followed the line around one kelp strand and then another. I hit the surface again and swam as hard as I could following the line. When the line became slack I reeled. The line made a deep arch to about forty feet then appeared to come back to the surface. After a half hour of recovering line I could see the fish swimming slowly on the surface.
I made it to the shooting line. The fish decided to go down. I could see it moving toward a kelp strand, so I dove down and grabbed the fish by the tail and the shaft fell out. I made it back to the surface and wrapped my legs around the fish. The tail was in my face and literally kicking the snot out of me.
From my weight belt I tow a seventy foot float line, attached to lifeguard float. Attached to the float is a stringer. I pulled the float to me. I gripped the fish's tail with my left hand and barely reached the gills with my right hand. I was able to get a good grip inside the gills. I grabbed the stringer and pushed it through the eyes. The fish was caught.
We got in the next day and weighed the fish at the fuel dock. It was 65 pounds. Dale Cote had the previous record of 60 pounds taken in 1974. Being the gentleman that I am, I gave Dale a call so he could be one of the first to congratulate me on breaking his fourteen year old record.
Notable catch, yellotail for men62 pounds (28.14 kilograms)
I dove down about twenty feet and selected a fish that was a little bit larger than the others and angled towards it. The fish sensed my movements towards it and veered away, I could feel the other fish swirling around me but continued my glide towards my chosen fish. Pulling the trigger, I felt my breakaway come free. I grabbed my float line and swam to the surface. After about ten minutes of struggle the fish weakened, and as I pulled it closer I notice that my shot had torn part way down its body. As I got near the boat, another diver threw me his gun and I "second shot" the fish just to be sure. When we got the fish onto the scales it weighed sixty two pounds, I was thrilled by the catch and awestruck by the fact that I was surrounded by a school of fifty to sixty pound yellowtail, I dont ever expect to see something like that again
Notable catch, yellotail for men61 pounds (27.69 kilograms)
The trip was scheduled for three days and late on the first day I was having a great trip. I had landed some nice white sea bass and it seemed like the entire bank was crawling with yellowtail. The yellowtail were cruising the edge of the kelp and often swimming through it. Inside the kelp the bait was swarming as if it was one giant animal. The bait was so thick it appeared to be a river flowing through the kelp stalks. On several dives I would dive down to the bait and continue to sink through it only to find another layer of bait at a depth of about eighty feet. Under the second layer of bait the white sea bass were swimming completely unaware of my approach.
Toward the end of the second day my dive buddy and I decided to swim a long distance to an area where nobody had been diving. Our plan was to work the edge of the kelp in an effort to catch some large yellowtail or some of the bluefin working the bait. As I approached the edge of the bait I saw to large yellowtail swim past my buddy. He raised his speargun and shot missing the fish. We hadnt even gotten to the edge of the kelp and we were seeing nice fish. As my buddy was reloading his gun a huge yellowtail cruised right up to him and then it came straight over to me. When I raised my speargun, the fish was less than five feet from the end of my gun.
When I pulled the trigger the shaft went completely through the fish and kept going. The yellowtail sat motionless. As the shaft was sinking the yellowtail seemed stunned and didnt move. When the shaft came to the end of the slack in the shooting line, the yellowtail exploded. He darted off around a kelp stalk and then straight down. I knew if I let the fish have enough line he would tangle on the bottom so I grasped the trail line to stop the fish. The fish was very strong and pulled me straight down. At a depth of about fifty feet I had to let go. I made a mad dash for the surface and I could see the fish going crazy down by the bottom of the kelp stalks.
On the surface, my heart pounding, I knew I had to get the fish away from the bottom. I pulled as hard as I could and before I knew it I was back down at about forty feet. I made another mad dash for the surface. When I reached the surface my chest felt like my heart was going to pound its way through the front of my wetsuit. My lungs were burning and I gasped for air. I was concerned about the fish but it was to late. The fish was really tangled on the bottom.
I tried for several minutes to calm down and slow my heart rate but I couldnt reach the fish to untangle it. The line was threaded through the kelp stalks and I spent a lot of time just getting to a point where the line was going straight down. I made several dives to a depth where I could see the line tangled around the kelp stalk near the bottom. I decided to try to break the kelp stalk free of the bottom by pulling from the surface. I was kicking as hard as I could and pulling on my trail line with all of my might. Finally I could feel that I was gaining line. Eventually I pulled a huge ball of kelp to the surface with my yellowtail right in the middle.
When I got the fish free from the kelp ball I was amazed. I had never seen a yellowtail so large. The width of the fishs head was staggering. I couldnt get over the girth of the yellowtails body. I swam the fish back to the boat and handed it to a deckhand. As soon as the deck hand had the fish safely on the boat I turned from the boat to swim back for a try at another one. I didnt see another yellowtail that large so I went back to the boat where I found a lot of people looking at my fish.
The fish sat in the freezer on the boat for two days. When we got back to 22nd St. landing we weighed the fish on the certified scale there. The scale stopped at 61 lbs.
Notable catch, yellotail for men60 pounds (27.24 kilograms)