17 Biggest Fish Ever Caught: Meet the Giants!


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Did you ever wonder what the biggest fish ever caught looked like? With all due respect to your imagination, we wouldn’t blame you for underestimating how impressive these beasts really were. Today, we’re looking at the 17 biggest fish ever caught.

For this list, we’ve only included fish that were officially approved as IGFA All-Tackle World Records. Over the years, there have been cases of people catching even bigger fish. These, however, were either caught by more than one person, or failed to meet other IGFA World Record requirements.

As you’d expect, most of these giants are from the Billfish and Shark families, but there are a few surprise entries, too.

You’ll notice that a lot of these records date back at least a few decades. Back in the day, catch and release was a rare sight, and fishing regulations weren’t nearly as strict. Still, each of the catches you’re about to see required incredible amounts of skill and dedication to pull off. They officially are the biggest fishing feats in history.

Without further ado, the 17 biggest fish ever caught are:

17. Goliath Grouper – 680 lb

Location: Fernandina Beach, FL

Date: May 20, 1961

Back in the day, Fernandina Beach was famous for its Goliath Grouper fishery. Up until 1990, anglers could harvest these critters, but with their population dwindling, regulators decided to ban their harvest. All in all, this record isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Angler Lynn Joyner caught this 680 lb Goliath using a Spanish Mackerel.

16. Bull Shark – 697 lb 12 oz

Location: Malindi, Kenya

Date: March 24, 2001

Angler Ronald de Jager successfully caught this record-breaking Bull Shark by trolling a live Yellowfin Tuna. The catch broke the previous 1994 record by 12 ounces.

15. Dusky Shark – 764 lb

Location: Longboat Key, FL

See also  .270 Winchester for Hog Or Wild Boar Hunting? Best Ammo (Round, Load, Cartridge) for a Successful Hog Or Wild Boar Hunt Hunting Calibers 04 Apr, 2020 Posted By: Foundry Outdoors Is the .270 Winchester a viable caliber/load/round/cartridge for hog or wild boar hunting? The accurate answer is “it depends”. However, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether the .270 Winchester is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest hog or wild boar. As with anything, the devil is in the details. To answer the question completely, we would need to evaluate the downrange distance to the hog or wild boar, the bullet type, the grain weight of the bullet, the physical condition of the firearm, the size of the hog or wild boar in question, the shot placement, the local wind conditions, the expected accuracy of the shooter, the ethics of the ideal maximum number of shots – the list goes on. [Click Here to Shop .270 Winchester Ammo]What we can do is provide a framework to understand what average conditions might look like, and whether those are reasonably viable for a shot from the average shooter to harvest a hog or wild boar in the fewest number of shots possible, i.e., ethically. Let’s dive right in. In the question of “Is the .270 Winchester within the ideal range of suitable calibers for hog or wild boar hunting?” our answer is: No, the .270 Winchester is OVERKILL for hog or wild boar hunting, under average conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and with correct shot placement.Let’s look at those assumptions a bit closer in the following table. Assumption Value Caliber .270 Winchester Animal Species Hog Or Wild Boar Muzzle Energy 3780 foot-pounds Animal Weight 195 lbs Shot Distance 150 yardsWhat is the average muzzle energy for a .270 Winchester? In this case, we have assumed the average muzzle energy for a .270 Winchester round is approximately 3780 foot-pounds. What is the average weight of an adult male hog or wild boar? Here we have leaned conservative by taking the average weight of a male individual of the species, since females generally weigh less and require less stopping power. In this case, the average weight of an adult male hog or wild boar is approximately 195 lbs. [Click Here to Shop .270 Winchester Ammo]What is the distance this species is typically hunted from? Distance, of course, plays an important role in the viability of a given caliber in hog or wild boar hunting. The kinetic energy of the projectile drops dramatically the further downrange it travels primarily due to energy lost in the form of heat generated by friction against the air itself. This phenonemon is known as drag or air resistance. Thus, a caliber that is effective from 50 yards may not have enough stopping power from 200 yards. With that said, we have assumed the average hunting distance for hog or wild boar to be approximately 150 yards. What about the other assumptions? We have three other primary assumptions being made here. First, the average bullet weight is encapsulated in the average muzzle energy for the .270 Winchester. The second important assumption is ‘slightly-suboptimal’ to ‘optimal’ shot placement. That is to say, we assume the hog or wild boar being harvested is shot directly or nearly directly in the vitals (heart and/or lungs). The third assumption is that a projectile with appropriate terminal ballistics is being used, which for hunting usually means an expanding bullet.Various calibersA common thread you may encounter in online forums is anecdote after anecdote of large animals being brought down by small caliber bullets, or small animals surviving large caliber bullets. Of course those stories exist, and they are not disputed here. A 22LR cartridge can fell a bull elephant under the right conditions, and a newborn squirrel can survive a 50 BMG round under other specific conditions. Again, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether .270 Winchester is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest hog or wild boar - and to this question, the response again is no, the .270 Winchester is OVERKILL for hog or wild boar hunting. [Click Here to Shop .270 Winchester Ammo]This article does not serve as the final say, but simply as a starting point for beginner hunters, as well as a venue for further discussion. Please feel free to agree, disagree, and share stories from your own experience in the comments section below. Disclaimer: the information above is purely for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as permission to use a particular caliber, a statement of the legality or safety of using certain calibers, or legal advice in any way. You must read and understand your own local laws before hunting hog or wild boar to know whether your caliber of choice is a legal option.Foundry Outdoors is your trusted home for buying archery, camping, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, and outdoor gear online.We offer cheap ammo and bulk ammo deals on the most popular ammo calibers. We have a variety of deals on Rifle Ammo, Handgun Ammo, Shotgun Ammo & Rimfire Ammo, as well as ammo for target practice, plinking, hunting, or shooting competitions. Our website lists special deals on 9mm Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 45-70 Ammo, 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, 300 Blackout Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 5.56 Ammo, Underwood Ammo, Buffalo Bore Ammo and more special deals on bulk ammo.We offer a 100% Authenticity Guarantee on all products sold on our website. Please email us if you have questions about any of our product listings. 3 Comments Kelly Klawon - May 06, 2021One vote for the .270 being pretty much ideal. H.I.T.S. numbers around 1000, the low end of large animals, so around 300 lbs, hogs are a bit tougher than some and you really want to be prepared for a hog that’s bigger than average. I hunt hogs with .30-30, 7mm-08 and .270. I would suggest 6.5mm to .30 cal non magnums. Shot placement is paramount. Lou Sando - May 23, 2023The 270 Win has been the ticket for my hog hunts, I use either 130 grain or 150 grain or even the GMX 140 grain. For me I try to save as much meat as possible, meaning I aim for head shots. My scope is 4×12×40 which brings the sight of the animals really close again thisis for me. On the other hand I have used 243 win 100 grain bullet and of course 30-6, 168 grain, plus 7mm Rem MAg 168 grain. All depends which rifle you shoot best with, once you find that one, keep using it. I agree with previous folks that Hogs are Tough Animals to bring down at times. Brennan O'Hara - Aug 10, 2023What load is this 3800 FPE coming from??? A 130 deer season XP load has ~2700 FPE at the muzzle. Let’s say the average whitetail buck is 180lbs, maybe 210-230lbs in some areas. Now, most people will say 1200 to 1000 minimum FPE for an ethical whitetail kill, so let’s split it down the middle at 1100 FPE. That 130gr bullet with a G1 BC of .45 will take that 1100 FPE out to 570yds, plenty enough for most people. Consider if that a boar weighs close to the same if not more, and thicker skinned to boot, a .270 with the proper terminal style bullet hits the sweet spot for wild hogs. Usually I’ll leave articles like this be and move on with my day, but some information here is so off that something should be said about it. Leave a commentComments have to be approved before showing up Your Name * Your Email * Your Comment * Post Comment

Date: May 28, 1982

In 1982, Warren Girle pulled in this world record on a Bonito off Longboat Key, Florida.

14. Thresher Shark – 767 lb

Location: Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Date: February 26, 1983

David Hannah caught this Thresher using Kahawai Salmon. Catching a Thresher of any size requires a great deal of skill, because these monsters are known for bashing the hook and bait with their tail before moving in for the kill. This is why Hannah’s record is even more impressive.

13. Bigeye Thresher Shark – 802 lb

Location: Tutukaka, New Zealand

Date: February 8, 1981

A couple of years before David Hannah, Dianne North reeled in an even bigger Thresher. She trolled a Kahawai to hook the fish and then fought the beast for three hours and 45 minutes. What’s interesting is that the two catches occurred just over 30 miles away from each other.

12. Pacific Bluefin Tuna – 907 lb 6 oz

Location: Three Kings Islands, New Zealand

Date: February 19, 2014

Angler Donna Pascoe battled this Bluefin for over four hours, and in some very tough weather conditions. For her impressive catch, Ms. Pascoe received the IGFA Best World Record award for 2014.

11. Swordfish – 1,182 lb

Location: Iquique, Chile

Date: May 7, 1953

a 1182 IGFA World Record Swordfish

After more than 60 years, Lou Marron’s historic record still stands. It’s a testament to how people once used nothing but angling to catch the ocean’s most fearsome creatures. Lou caught the 14′ Swordfish by trolling a live Bonito.

10. Shortfin Mako Shark – 1,221 lb

Location: Chatham, Massachusetts

Date: July 21, 2001

Luke Sweeney caught this fearsome Mako during the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament in 2001. Luke was actually aboard the smallest boat in the tournament, a 24′ World Cat, when he broke the record. The fight lasted three hours, but ultimately, the Mako made it to the scales for weigh-ins.

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9. Great Hammerhead Shark – 1,280 lb

Location: Boca Grande

Date: May 23, 2006

Charter captain Bucky Dennis usually fishes for Snook and Tarpon. However, according to him, when Tarpon come to Boca Grande, so do the Hammerheads. Bucky caught this 14.5′ Shark using a stingray for bait. The Hammerhead hauled his 23′ boat almost 12 miles out into the Gulf.

8. Sixgill Shark – 1,298 lb

Location: Ascension Island, British Overseas Territories

Date: November 21, 2002

Although you can find them worldwide, Sixgilled Sharks just aren’t fish you see everyday. Angler Clemens Rump caught this shark off the remote Ascension Island, in the middle of the Atlantic.

7. Pacific Blue Marlin – 1,376 lb

Location: Kaaiwi Point, Kona, Hawaii

Date: May 31, 1982

Trolling a kita lute, angler Jay de Beaubien managed to catch this Pacific Blue Marlin in under an hour! Jay’s record nearly fell in 2015, when an angler caught a 1,376 lb Blue Marlin off the very same Hawaiian coast.

6. Atlantic Blue Marlin – 1,402 lb 2 oz

Location: Vitoria, Brazil

Date: February 29, 1992

Fishing off Vitoria, Brazil angler Paulo Amorim caught this grander trolling a Molecraft lure.

5. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna – 1,496 lb

Location: Aulds Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada

Date: October 26, 1979

Nova Scotia is famous for its Bluefin Tuna fishery. Bluefins are much more strictly regulated these days, but regardless, Ken Fraser’s 1979 record still seems almost unbeatable.

4. Black Marlin – 1,560 lb

Location: Cabo Blanco, Peru

Date: August 4, 1953

Angling legend Alfred C. Glassell Jr. caught this enormous Black Marlin way back in 1953, making it one of the longest-standing IGFA World Records to date. This Marlin, along with a number of other fish Glassell caught, comprise a permanent exhibit in the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

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3. Greenland Shark – 1,708 lb 9 oz

Location: Trondheimsfjord, Norway.

Date: October 17, 1987

Using a herring as bait, Norwegian angler Terje Nordvedt caught one of the biggest Sharks ever. This was one of the rare times people could see the longest living vertebrae on dry land. These sharks often live longer than 400 years!

2. Tiger Shark -1,785 lb 11 oz

Location: Ulladulla, Australia

Date: March 28, 2004

This record is a little controversial. When Kevin J. Clapson weighed his enormous Tiger shark in 2004, he thought he broke a 40-year-old record. However, since his catch was only 11 ounces heavier than Walter Maxwell’s catch from 1964, the ruling was that the record was tied.

1. White Shark – 2,664 lb

Location: Ceduna, Australia

Date: April 21, 1959

Alfred Dean’s 1959 record is by far the biggest fish ever caught and approved by the IGFA. Great White Sharks are a protected species almost everywhere these days, so it seems that Dean’s record is here to stay.

All of the catches on this list represent incredible feats by some of the best anglers on earth. With today’s conservation-oriented regulations, most of these won’t be broken any time soon. But that’s a not a bad thing – we’ll have more of these incredible creatures roaming the oceans for years to come. Besides, we’ll always have lists like this one to remind us of how impressive these beasts really are.

Your turn. Which of the catches on our list is the most impressive in your mind? Which of these records do you think anglers will break first? Let us know in the comments below.