John Petruescu caught a 445-pound yellowfin just before sunrise on Dec. 9 while fishing on the Excel, a long-range charterboat out of San Diego, Calif., Although his fish surpassed the existing world record by a full 40 pounds, it was will not be considered as a possible world record because the boat's captain grabbed the fishing rod twice during the fight, disqualifying it under the rules of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA).
Another yellowfin tuna caught in California is being considered as a new world record. Guy Yocom of Dana Point, Calif., caught a yellowfin tuna on Sept. 18 off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, that weighed 421.5 pounds on one scale and 427 pounds on another. An IGFA representative was on hand for the weighing, and the scales were sent for certification.
Yocom was fishing on his boat, El Suertudo, with Captain Greg DiStefano, when the huge fish hit a chunk bait he was drifting. The fish, which Yocom landed in 55 minutes, was 88 ½ inches long and 64 inches in girth. Yocom said his crew was briefed they were fishing for a potential world record and all IGFA requirements were followed.
Yocom is also in the running for a $1 million prize from Mustad Hooks. His fish was caught on a Mustad hook and properly recorded during the Mustad Hook-a-Million contest. The remaining hurdle is that Yocom's catch will have to be certified as the record, with no competing fish caught within 90 days, before Mustad will verify him as the winner of the $1 million prize. With Petruscu's larger yellowfin disqualified for an IGFA record, the way is paved for Yocom to receive the Mustad prize unless a larger fish is caught by Dec. 17.
The current world-record yellowfin was caught by Mike Livingston of Sunland, Calif., off Magdalena Bay, Mexico, on Nov. 30, 2010, fishing on a San Diego-based boat. Livingston's tuna weighed 405 pounds.