173-Pound-Bluefin Tuna Set To Nearly Double California State Record

A Southern California spearfisherman landed a massive bluefin tuna on Wednesday, and the stunning 173-pound-fish is set to shatter a 33-year-old state record for the species.

According to Grind TV, Aaron Shook set out with fellow anglers Jon Walla and Dominic Vadala on Wednesday morning around 4 a.m., seeking bluefin tuna off Dana Point. Large schools of tuna have been spotted in the area recently, and the fishermen had heard stories that unusually large tuna had been caught there by others.

Jumping in the water with Vadala, Shook observed flashes of color that revealed the tuna roughly 80 feet down. A breath-hold spearfisherman, Shook descended towards the fish, just as the school of tuna began to rise through the water. Roughly 30 feet below the surface, one of the tuna turned on its side, and Shook scored his first shot.

The massive tuna immediately dove as the rest of the school scattered, yet the spear was tied to a buoy in order to prevent the fish from escaping. Breaking the surface, Shook was surprised to see the buoy being dragged underwater by the tuna. After a 20-minute-wait, he descended once more to finish off the bluefin, and ended up shooting the fish two more times.

After pulling the massive tuna aboard their 21-foot-long boat, the mood among the three friends was one of stunned silence, followed by joy, according to Shook.

“There was plenty of elation and, I must say, quite a bit of relief. It was like living a dream.”

Shook plans to file paperwork documenting the tuna with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as soon as possible, Pete Thomas Outdoors reports. At 173 pounds, the bluefin is set to shatter the state record, which was established in 1982. That record belongs to blue-water fisherman Terry Maas, who landed a 98-pound-bluefin tuna at Cortes Bank.

Bluefin tuna are highly prized fish, as the Inquisitr has previously reported, regularly selling for high sums to restaurant suppliers. Though the 173-pound-bluefin speared by Shook is a California record, much larger specimens have been caught, including a 900-pound-fish landed off Cape Cod in 2013.

When reached for his interview with Pete Thomas Outdoors, Shook was still fileting the 173-pound-bluefin, and noted that his friends will have no shortage of tuna in the foreseeable future.

[Photo by Aaron Shook via Grind TV]