On the hit television show Wicked Tuna, grown men take turns battling bluefin tuna, many times for hours each, and the fish frequently pop lines or pull hooks. The Northeast U.S. anglers should just hire 14-year-old Kaleb Richardson.
The Lafayette youngster was fishing with his father, Keith, and friends aboard Keith Richardson’s 58-foot Jarrett Bay Saturday when Kaleb landed an 835-pound bluefin in 55 minutes, louisianasportsman.com reported.
The crew was fishing out of Grand Isle on a multi-day trip to the Green Canyon.
The excursion started successfully, with the anglers leadering, tagging and releasing a 500-pound blue marlin on Thursday. Things slowed down after that, so the crew headed to the Neptune platform Saturday.
“We were about a half-mile off the platform, and I was on the bridge with my captain, Chris Mowad,” Keith Richardson said told the website. “He saw this tuna just busting bait, and said it was the largest yellowfin he’d ever seen in his life, so we went to try to catch it.”
On the crew’s first pass, the fish hit a Scotty Crampton Quarter-Toner, but missed it.
“So we made the turn, came back to the same spot and a little before we got there, you could see him coming,” Keith Richardson said. “He was like a submarine pushing a wake.
“When he got to the lure, he came about halfway out the water and just engulfed it. At that point, we were like, ‘It’s got to be a bluefin. A yellowfin doesn’t get that big.'”
All 115 pounds of Kaleb Richardson got in the fighting chair, and the 8th-grader steeled himself for a marathon that, thanks to the young man’s experience, turned out to me more of a sprint.
“Kaleb’s caught granders before in Nova Scotia, so he knows the technique and knows what it takes and knows how to handle the heavy tackle to do it,” Keith Richardson said.
The massive fish stayed up top for about 10 minutes before sounding. Still, it took Kaleb only another 45 minutes to crank it up from the depths.
Four grown men couldn’t lift it enough to get it through the tuna door, but a Come-Along borrowed from a neighboring boat did the trick.
The anglers measured the fish, and found it to be 113 inches long and have an 86-inch girth. When they got it back to Grand Isle, the monster tuna weighed 835 pounds, ranking it in the top five in the state. It’s the biggest bluefin caught in Louisiana since Ron Roland boated the state-record 1,152-pounder in 2003.
Todd Masson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504.232.3054.