‘Showstopper’ yellowtail catch just shy of 34-year-old world record

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A New Zealand angler last Saturday came within a few pounds of breaking a yellowtail kingfish world record that has stood for 34 years.

Giovanni Wright, pictured above, caught the massive kingfish at Three Kings Islands during an Enchanter Fishing Charters expedition.

A spokesman for the company told FTW Outdoors that the fish weighed 50 kilograms, or 110 pounds, on an “unofficial” boat scale. It was released “to fight another day” after the crew determined that it would not exceed the current record weight of 114 pounds, 10 ounces.

According to the International Game Fish Assn., the record is a tie between yellowtail kingfish caught in 1984 and 1987, both off New Zealand.

The IGFA lists the species (Seriola lalandi lalandi) simply as yellowtail (southern). New Zealanders commonly refer to them as yellowtail kingfish or kingfish.

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The species occurs in warm waters off Australia, New Zealand, southern Brazil, St. Helena, and South Africa.

Wright was fishing with 100-pound-test line and fresh squid caught the night before as bait. The battle lasted 35 minutes.

“The showstopper for the trip went to Giovanni with a horse kingfish of 50 kg. This is one of the biggest kings I have ever seen,” Enchanter Fishing Charters exclaimed on Facebook. “They also landed a couple of kings over the 40 kg mark and plenty of others ranging from 25 kg to 30 kg making for some very tried and sore boys at the end of the day.”

The charter company, which specializes in multi-day trips to remote destinations, bills itself as the “Three Kings Specialists.”