A New Zealand fishing crew has an unconfirmed world record for catching the biggest Pacific bluefin tuna ever to be caught on rod and reel.
The gigantic blue fin tuna was hauled in off the coast of Greymouth and weighed in at a whopping 352 kilograms.
The modest looking boat pulling up into a quiet port in Greymouth was boasting a rather proud story, because taking up a fair bit of room on board was the fish. And the crew couldn't wait to confirm what they were hoping.
As far as fishing stories go, this is a good one – a world record, 352.5kg of tuna, the heaviest Pacific bluefin ever caught on a rod and reel.
Kevin Baker caught the fish. He couldn't wipe the smile off his face.
“The next-biggest tuna I've caught was 33 kilos, so this smashes everything I've caught before,” he says.
It took half an hour to wind the fish from hook up to boat, and before that there were a few days at sea and a few false starts before they hooked the big one at around 3am this morning.
“We had another angler who had his fish on for three hours and the line broke after three hours and then we immediately hooked up on this one,” says Mr Baker.
There's a bit of paperwork, measurements and gear checks now to confirm the record starting with a JP to verify it. But they're wholly confident they've got the record.
The boat's skipper now boasts two world records. Just last month he captained a ship, also off the West Coast, where Leanne Dixon broke a world record for biggest fish caught on a 60kg line by a woman.
“It's just an amazing fishery,” says skipper Lance Goodhew. “It's world class. It's equal to the best anywhere in the world, that Kiwis can do a trip out here on their back doorstep and have the potential to catch world-record fish.”
The fish could fetch up to $70,000 on the Japanese market, but it's illegal for the guys to sell it because they don't have a quota. But don't expect to see free tuna fillets being given away at the Greymouth port. The beauty's being mounted and proudly put on the wall.