California Anglers Filet Would-Be Record-Shattering Rockfish on the Boat Before Weighing It

by Jon D. B.

When it comes to fishing records, protocol is paramount. And not playing by the books is exactly what cost this California angler a truly incredible rockfish record.

That sounds awful heavy, but in truth it’s not all bad. No matter what happens, West Coast fisherman Rob Tessler brought himself in an absolute giant of a Bocaccio rockfish. Thanks to Lori Heath, he’s got the photos to prove it, too.

These bright red beauties commonly known as rockfish are also called grouper, tom cod, slimys, and even salmon grouper. For the sake of records, however, it’s the Bocaccio rockfish. And Tessler should hold the new California record with a fish weighing over 20 pounds. So why doesn’t he?

As told by Lori Heath’s Facebook post, their Seaforth Fishing party would head out of San Diego aboard the Pacifica. The crew set out to fish tuna (as is prevalent this time of year), but Tessler would shock everyone onboard with his bright red, behemoth rocker:

Weighing in at 20.33 pounds, Tessler’s Bocaccio rockfish shatters the previous California record of 17-pounds, 8-ounces. According to BroBible, it’s been in place since October 25, 1987, too. And in the world of fishing records, 3 pounds is a hefty margin. Especially when the fish generally only weigh three times that.

But here’s the kicker. California fishing records require fish to receive weighting on a certified scale. Two witnesses must be present, also. This, as you’ve probably guessed, didn’t happen.

Instead, Tessler weighed his rockfish on a hand scale aboard the vessel… Then promptly proceeded to filet it for eating. And that’s how his California fishing record – one that would’ve surely stood for another few decades – was lost.

We’re all for this kind’a Outsider gusto, but c’mon, Rob!


In short: no witnesses and no official CA scale means no record for Rob Tessler. Which is truly a shame, as the sheer size of his catch is truly a sight to behold. 20-ish pounds may not sound like a lot to many anglers (especially considering their vessel was harvesting tuna), but for a rockfish that’s an absolute monster.

These truly large specimens of rockfish aren’t unheard of, however. The IGFA all-tackle fishing record for Bocaccio rockfish is a whopping 27-pounds, 14-ounces. This giant was caught by George Bogen in Elfin Cove, Alaska circa August, 2011, BroBible cites.

In general, Bocaccios are native to the Pacific Northwest. They thrive in the cold oceanic waters, making an Alaskan record-shattering fish non-too surprising.

It does make a 20-pound rockfish caught off the coast of San Diego in far warmer waters, however, even more incredible. It’s too bad ol’ Rob Tessler was in such a hurry to eat his prize. Though really, we can’t blame him for that, either.