For Immediate Release
April 23, 2015
State Record Bluefin Tuna Bested
A 606-pound bluefin tuna, caught on April 6, 2015 by Chase Robinson, of Virginia Beach, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Robinson’s catch surpasses the existing record of 573-pounds, caught in June of 2007 by Frederick “Bo” Haycox of Virginia Beach.
Robinson hooked the record-setting catch nearly 80 miles SSE of Rudee Inlet around the 750-line, in 150 fathoms of water, while aboard the Ate Up skippered by Charles J. Dawson Jr. The 6-member crew left out of Rudee Inlet at 2 AM, hoping for a good early morning bite but that was not the case, as the morning turned to afternoon without a hook-up. Mid-afternoon a pair of school-sized yellowfin were landed. Shortly after, around 3 PM, one of the long-riggers, pulling a blue and white Islander rigged with a horse ballyhoo tied to a Shimano Tiagra 80 filled with 80-pound Suffix mono with a 130-pound fluorocarbon leader, went off like a shot. Robinson was the first to the rod and was quickly strapped into the fighting chair. The bluefin let the crew know what they were up against when it skyrocketed out of the water. After nearly three hours of fighting the tuna, Robinson “just hit a wall,” and was not certain he could continue. With encouragement from the crew Robinson stayed with the fish another 2-plus hours before the first gaff could be deployed about 8:45 PM. But the bluefin still had plenty of fight left, bending the first gaff and two others that were used. Not until the fish was tail roped did the crew begin to relax. During the nearly 5-1/2 hour fight, Jake Hiles, a well-known Rudee Inlet charter Captain, ran the vessel and his experience was critical to finally pull the still lively fish through the tuna door. That took the entire crew another hour and required Hiles to thread another rope through the fish’s mouth and out the gills. It was nearly 2 AM when the tired, but ecstatic, crew pulled into the Virginia Beach Fishing Center. It was not until the marina opened hours later that the official weight could be determined.
Later in the day the reality of the catch was still sinking in for Dawson, the vessel’s owner. “We destroyed $400 worth of gaffs, it took all six of us an hour to get the fish in the boat and the extra large tuna bag I bought for giant bluefin is too small for the first one we catch.”
Robinson’s 606-pound record-setting bluefin tuna measured 113-1/2 inches in total length, 102-1/2 inches straight line fork length and sported an impressive 71-inch girth. The tuna was weighed and registered at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center. The prior state record of 573-pounds was caught off Virginia Beach, by Frederick “Bo” Haycox of Dumfries, VA on June 24, 2007.
For more information, contact Lewis S. Gillingham, Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, 2600 Washington Avenue Third Floor; Newport News, VA, 23607, (757) 491-5160, firstname.lastname@example.org.