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A 445-Pound Yellowfin Makes History United States, December 11, 12

Hundreds gathered early Sunday morning to witness history being made at Fisherman’s Landing in Point Loma as the heaviest yellowfin tuna ever caught by a rod-and-reel angler was weighed in courtesy of a Skytrak forklift.

Angler John Petruescu with his 445-pound yellowfin tuna

By the time the numbers quit bouncing on the hanging digital scale, cameras flashed as and the crowd cheered and applauded as the scale settled at 445 pounds. Angler John Petruescu, 33, an electrician from La Mesa whose entire family –nine brothers, four sisters and parents - escaped war-torn Romania in 1990, caught the giant yellowfin Monday morning aboard the Excel. But because Excel captain Justin Fleck twice was forced twice to handle the Seeker fishing rod Petruescu was using, the catch won’t be an official world record recognized by the International Game Fish Association.

But it’s still the biggest yellowfin tuna ever landed by a rod-and-reel angler on a sport boat.

“The more we talked about it on the boat, the more I realized what it meant to fishing, to the industry,” Petruescu, whose older brother, Dave, 40, was aboard and was one of four men to gaff the monster tuna. “We knew it was going to be the biggest ever, but just seeing it . . . it’s really amazing isn’t it?”

Asked if the brothers were disappointed it wasn’t a record, older brother Dave chimed in quickly with: “Are you kidding. Look at that fish. I’m so proud of my little brother. I told him how important this was to the industry and what it says about the possibility of big fish at the Hurricane Bank. And the other thing was, putting my brother out there on this fish as a novice angler. Here he is, 33 years old, on just his second long-range trip, first at 16 days, and he catches this monster. Not disappointed at all because the record means nothing to us. Was the shark in the movie Jaws a record? How did he get him? As long as you get him, that’s all that matters. When you have a monster fish like this at the end of the line like that, there is one objective. Get the monster in and see what’s up. Doesn’t matter how you bring it up. You only need to get him.”

The magnificent tuna won’t be recognized as a world-record by the IGFA because Fleck twice helped Petruescu negotiate around the anchor at the bow of the boat due to insurance reasons, Fleck said. But the catch shatters the mark for largest yellowfin ever boated by a recreational angler. It measured 84 inches long and 67 inches around in girth.

At 445 pounds, Petruescu’s catch beats the 427.9-pound yellowfin landed last April by Robert Pedigo off Puerto Vallarta. That fish also was disqualified because a deckhand touched the rod. The IGFA all-tackle record is held by Sunland’s Mike Livingston for his 405.2-pound yellowfin caught in December in 2010 aboard Captain Mike Lackey’s Vagabond. But now there’s also another catch, a 427.5-pound yellowfin landed by Guy Yocom of Dana Point back in September that has yet to be approved by the IGFA as the new all-tackle record for the species.