Massive Yellowtail Kingfish Catch Falls Just Short of 34-Year-Old Record

by Clayton Edwards

Last weekend, a New Zealand man went out on a chartered fishing trip and came close to making history. The angler hauled in a massive yellowtail kingfish that came within pounds of breaking a 34-year-old world record.

Giovanni Wright and a few friends went on a fishing trip to Three Kings Island near New Zealand. The folks at Enchanter Fishing Charters put them on to some absolutely massive yellowtail kingfish. Everyone on the boat pulled in good-sized fish. However, Wright won the day with his 50 kilogram (110 pound) catch. In a Facebook post, a member of the charter company said it was the biggest example of the species they had ever seen.  

In the end, they released the king-sized kingfish because it fell short of the world record. According to FTW Outdoors, the record for yellowtail kingfish is 114 pounds, 10 ounces. The outlet reported that the record is a tie between two fish. Anglers pulled in the first record-breaker in 1984 and another angler tied the record in 1987. They caught both of those huge fish in the waters surrounding New Zealand.

Enchanter Fishing Charters posted about the impressive haul on their Facebook page. It seems that the waters around New Zealand hold some truly massive fish. While Giovanni Wright’s nearly-record-breaking yellowtail kingfish was the star of the show, the other anglers didn’t do bad at all. Most of their catches weighed in between 55 and 66 pounds. Additionally, the post says that they pulled in some bass that tipped the scales at 132 pounds.

Clearing Up Yellowtail Kingfish Confusion

Here in America, yellowtail and kingfish are two very different species. The near-record fish that Giovanni Wright pulled in isn’t a member of either of those species of fish. Instead, it is a Seriola lalandi or what we commonly call amberjack.

Really, it all comes down to where you’re from. Some call them amberjack or yellowtail amberjack.  The International Game Fish Association lists them as yellowtail (southern). On the other hand, folks in New Zealand call them kingfish or yellowtail kingfish.

Yellowtail kingfish prefer warm waters. As a result, anglers usually find them off New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Brazil.

More About the Catch

Wright baited his hook with fresh squid and was running 100-pound-test line on a Maxel reel. All of that was attached to a Jigstar Phantom rod. Enchanter Fishing Charters noted that the massive amberjack Wright landed shows just how powerful the Phantom/Maxel combination is when used correctly.

The 100-pound yellowtail kingfish didn’t come to the boat without a fight. Giovanni Wright fought the fish for over half an hour before pulling it in. From the looks of the pictures above, the catch was well worth the fight.