On what was supposed to be an offshore trip for marlin, a group of anglers in Florida just caught an absolutely massive bluefin tuna. While fishing onboard the No Name about 160 miles off the coast of Destin, Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico, Captain Jake Matney and deck mates Devin Sarver and Jett Tolbert hooked into the giant. They took turns fighting the fish, which ultimately took five hours to subdue. Jennifer Matney, Jeremiah Matney, and Jacob Matney—members of the captain’s family—were also on the boat.
“Fishing has always been a way of life for my family and something that we love to do together,” Captain Matney told ABC 3. “I’m very fortunate to have [my family] on the boat for this and to have this caliber of fishermen on my team.”
A crowd gathered at the dock in Destin to watch the weigh-in, which was captured in a video that was posted on Facebook by April Sarver. The tuna weighed 832.2 pounds—potentially making it the heaviest bluefin tuna ever caught off of Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Saltwater Angler Recognition program has not yet certified the No Name’s recent catch, but it stands to set the Sunshine State’s bluefin record. The current state record is a 826.5-pound fish that Rick Whitley and his deck mates caught in 2017.
“We were stoked to finally land one that we could bring in and hang up,” Tolbert told ABC 3. “It’s harder than people think. On the last trip, we fought one for 10 hours, and it broke off. So bringing in this one meant a lot to me.”
Sarver echoed his deck mate in a Facebook post. “Words cannot express how grateful I am,” he wrote. “This is what dreams are made of! I’ve never had so much respect for a fish, and to catch him in the Gulf of Mexico is a feat of its own. This bluefin was as bad as they come.”