Crew aboard Destin’s Linda Lucille lands huge bluefin tuna

Tina Harbuck

The 642-pound bluefin tuna recently caught aboard Destin’s Linda Lucille might not have set any weight records, but the crew may have set a record for time on the rod and reel.

For 15 hours the crew fought the fish before they were able to get it aboard the 65-foot Viking.

Capt. Bryan Douglas Burch said they were fishing near the oil rigs about 140 miles from Destin when they hooked up with the massive tuna.

“We just started fishing Tuesday morning at sunrise and hooked that fish at 7:15 a.m.,” Burch said. “The fish was very mean, stayed on top for the first five hours.”

When they got that first glance at the tuna they knew she was big and wanted to land it, he said, noting Scott Richmond was the angler on the rod. They were using a Tiagra 130 with 130 main line and 220-pound leader.

“The fight turned into a brutal 15-hour battle until we finally got the fish up to the side the boat at 10 p.m.,” Burch said, noting they all had a turn on the rod during the battle. First mate Case Brundage, Ben Arnold and Halen Filson all played a part in landing the tuna.

At that point they pulled the massive tuna in the door and turned around and came home.

In 1996, an angler fishing off Portugal fought a 974-pound bluefin tuna for eight hours and then in 2001 a fisherman off North Carolina pulled in a 196-pounder in a little more than an hour.

The Florida state record for bluefin tuna, an 826 pound 8 ounce fish, was caught in May 2017 aboard the You Never Know out of Baytowne Marina in Sandestin. It took the crew about three hours to land the fish. The world record on the books for bluefin tuna is 1,496 pounds caught by an angler in Nova Scotia, Canada.

As for the tuna last week, they weighed it at HarborWalk Marina and snapped a few photos as well.

“This is the first bluefin I have caught,” Burch said. “Actually, a first for all of us who was on board. It was definitely a roller coaster of what could of happened, but after the first few hours we felt confident in our tackle and how the fish was hooked.

“For 20 minutes of fishing I’d say we had a very successful trip,” he added.