When 56-year-old Donna Pascoe boarded the charter boat Gladiator off the northern tip of New Zealand on the morning of February 19th, she probably wasn’t thinking about the irony of fighting a massive fish on a vessel named after a Roman armed combatant … until hours later when she realized she had a potential world record tuna on the other end of her line.
According to the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council, a 907-pound Pacific bluefin tuna caught by Pascoe near Three Kings Island is the biggest fish ever landed on rod and reel in New Zealand by a female angler. Pasco submitted documentation on her catch to the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council, which will then forward the information on to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) in Dania Beach, Florida.
If the 907-pound all-tackle record is confirmed by the IGFA, Pascoe’s catch will crush the current 777-pound, 1 ounce, world record Pacific bluefin that was caught by Kevin Baker near Greymouth, New Zealand in September of 2013. Pascoe’s fish also has the potential to become the IGFA world record for the women’s 130-pound-test line class.
“I hooked up at 9:10 a.m. with the reel screaming,” Pascoe told Salt Water Sportsman Magazine. “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!'”
Given the fact that Pacific bluefin tuna are one of the fastest fish in the ocean (capable of reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour due to their streamlined bodies), Pasco was concerned that she might get spooled. However, the gigantic fish eventually stopped running and she was able to gain some line.
One would think that landing a 907-pound fish made almost entirely of muscle would be next to humanly impossible, not to mention adding some tough weather conditions into the equation with the wind peaking at 36 knots that day. Apparently the impossible becomes possible when the power of sheer adrenaline kicks in.
“Once we had the fish, I was so excited that my arms and legs could have fallen off and I wouldn’t have noticed,” Pasco commented. “I think adrenaline is a great thing and it certainly kept me going.”
Four hours of reeling and potential world records aside, Pasco is especially proud of her catch “because it beats all the boys.”
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