Not one, not two, but three new ocean sport fishing records were logged into the books for tuna last year, along with a new record catch for surfperch!
On June 22, 2016 Kevin Scully speared a 269 lb. 11 oz. bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) off Mission Bay to smash that species’ state diving record. This new record beats Mr. Scully’s previous bluefin tuna record by 84 lb. (yes, he beat his own record, which he set earlier that same year!).
Then, on August 14, 2016 John Correia landed a 245 lb. 0 oz. bluefin tuna on rod and reel to capture the state angling record for that species. Mr. Correia’s fish, which he hooked at 43 Fathom Bank, bested the previous state record — which had stood firm for 26 years — by just 1 lb. 5 oz.
And finally, on August 27, 2016 Paul Rowmanowski speared a 66 lb. 7 oz. yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) near 43 Fathom Bank, obliterating the previous record of 17 lb. 13 oz. that had stood for over 23 years.
Biologists believe the record-sized tuna traveled closer to the California coast than normal last year during a warm water event, along with more unusual species typically seen farther south, such as sea snakes.
A new record was also set for calico surfperch (Amphistichus koelzi) on April 9, 2016 when Kirk Lombard reeled in a 1 lb. 14 oz. fish off San Mateo. Mr. Lombard is now a dual record holder, with the record for both monkeyface prickleback (Cebidichthys violaceus) and calico surfperch to his name — not only that, he also writes a mean article about the day-to-day life of a California Recreational Fisheries Survey sampler!
Some angling records are still awaiting their first qualifying fish. Current open species in the angling category include Humboldt squid (min. weight 40 lb.), rainbow surfperch (min. weight 1 lb.), and walleye surfperch (min. weight 1 lb.). In the diving category, the starry flounder state diving record is open (min. weight 8 lb.) and awaiting its first qualifying fish.
Congratulations go out to all our new 2016 state record holders! For more information about state recreational fishing and diving records, see the CDFW Fishing and Diving Record web page.
post by Mary Patyten, CDFW Research Writer