By Nichole Osinski
Mid-April and the guys in Texas are already at it again, this time with yet another pending Texas state record giant bluefin tuna. The giant was caught just one year after the previous record was set raising the bar for anglers once again in the Gulf.
The story, retold by Capt. Justin Drummond, starts early on Tuesday, April 14, on the 64′ Spencer Quantified as the team headed out of Port Aransas in search of a very specific fish—the bluefin tuna.
Drummond and the team knew that a large bluefin was possible during April and early May due to the migration in the Gulf at this time. The team had caught a couple of nice size bluefins last year, though, due to the Gulf Coast recreational quota for harvesting bluefin, the fish had to be let go.
“Once the quota’s met it’s shut off, so last year by the time the boat owner and everybody was finally ready the quota had already been met,” Drummond says. “It’s hard to let those things go, you want to harvest them.”
However, this year the weather cleared enough for a window of opportunity for the Quantified team.
“We jumped on the first chance we could get. We watched the weather a week out. It’s a real interesting time of the year to fish the Gulf because you can catch blue marlin and yellowfins in addition to bluefins. It’s just a special situation and it happened.”
The team traveled about 150 miles offshore and ended up catching live bait throughout the morning, even breaking off a big blue marlin before the real battle began.
“I marked an image on my sonar, a big image way off the oil rig I was fishing and I kind of crept over to it, spent about 10 minutes on top of the marks and then we got blown up by the giant bluefin tuna on one of my live baits.”
The fight, lead by angler Troy Lancastor using a Tiagra 80 with a heavy tackle rod on a live bonita began at 9:20 a.m. and didn’t finish until nine hours later. We were using 220 lbs. leader and fortunately the fish was hooked in the corner of the mouth. A couple hours into the battle the fish screamed off line descending to the deep and ended up dying over 1500′ down, it was a chore planning the big tuna up very slowly. Thats why the battle last so long, we didn’t want to break it off.
At 6:20 p.m. Lancastor had won and once the fish was in the boat and measured Drummond knew they had a potential record on their hands and hightailed it back to the dock making calls along the way. He lined up a weigh master at the Port Aransas Fisherman’s Wharf to meet them.
“It was super foggy, super eerie calm and it was just fog for 50 miles so we had to go a little slower than expected. But we got in around 12:30 midnight, put the thing on the scales and that’s that,” Drummond recalls. “I knew on the way in it was potentially going to be [a record breaker]. We knew the existing record was 820 and he’s going to be over 800 pounds, I didn’t know how much, but I knew it was going to be over 800, that’s why I called the weigh master.”
The bluefin was indeed just what they were looking for, weighing in at a whopping 876 pounds.
Less than 24 hours later, Drummond is taking care of the paperwork for the pending record. According to Drummond, the Quantified team is “ecstatic” about their catch. We don’t blame you guys.
The previous state record was caught in April 2020 on the Rock Mama, a 55’ Hatteras based out of Galveston, Texas, The fish weighed 820 pounds and made the cover of InTheBite Magazine. Before this, the Texas state record bluefin mark was set in the 1980s.
Check out our gallery of past tuna catches: