A New Zealand woman is likely a proud new world record holder after reeling in the largest Pacific bluefin tuna ever caught with a traditional rod and reel. Donna Pascoe, 56, caught the monstrous fish back in February but has had to wait for the official stamp of approval from the International Game Fish Association.
"I hooked up at 9:10 a.m. with the reel screaming," Pascoe told Saltwater Sportsman. "The fish never surfaced, so we had no idea what was on the other end. After three hours, the fish surfaced and the skipper yelled, 'Tuna, world record!'"
The catch was so large that the four men on board the boat couldn't pull it from the water. Regardless of whether Pascoe gets the world record, the Sport Fishing Council has already awarded her the honor of landing the largest fish ever caught by a female angler off New Zealand.
Perhaps even more impressive is that Pascoe was even able to find a fish of such size in the first place. Pacific bluefin tuna have been heavily overfished, with many fishermen snatching them up before they're even a year old. Some recent studies have estimated as much as a 96 percent drop in their population size. A 2009 study by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego also charted a startling 88 percent decline in the average weight of large trophy fish, making Pascoe's 907-pound catch (130 pounds more than the previous record holder) a rare find on the same level as Bigfoot.