What is the biggest fish ever caught on rod and reel?

There are few things more bonding than a good fishing trip, but sometimes you catch more than you can chew. What is the biggest fish ever caught on rod and reel? Was it a tuna, and what about saltwater fish? Let's find out.

There are some remarkably big fish out there, but can they be caught on a line?
There are some remarkably big fish out there, but can they be caught on a line?  © Unsplash/David Clode

Fish are slippery fellows, both literally and figuratively, and getting good at using your reel is a long and technical progress. Indeed, many consider fishing to be an art in itself. This makes it even more incredible that some people can catch flappers that are so large, they'll make your stomach turn.

The world's biggest fish to have ever been caught on rod and reel was a truly remarkable beast, and the record holder a truly talented fisherman. Let's take a look at some impressive flippers!

What is the biggest fish ever caught?

The biggest fish ever caught on a rod and reel was stupendously massive Great White Shark caught in 1986 off the coast of Montauk in New York. Landed by two anglers who were using a 150-pound line, this giant shark was reportedly 3,427 pounds in weight. Sadly, this is a disputed record that hasn't been recognized by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA).

It is alleged that Mundus and Braddick, the lucky fishermen, were fishing next to a dead whale at the time. This is problematic as the whale had attracted the sharks, allowing them to catch them much easier than otherwise possible.

As a result, it is worth mentioning a few large fish that were approved as legitimately caught by the IGFA:

  • Great White Shark, Australia 1959 (2,700 pounds)
  • Tiger Shark, Australia 2004 (1,800 pounds)
  • Bluefin Tuna, Canada 1979 (1,500 pounds)

How was the biggest fish caught?

Mundus and Braddick were apparently fishing with a test line that was designed to take a weight of 150-pounds. After finding a dead whale floating in the water, the duo waited in their boat until midnight, when two of these giant Great White Sharks appeared in the water. They then went ahead and reeled one of them in with their fishing rod.

This wasn't Mundus' first foray into Great White Shark catching, though, having harpooned a 4500-pound monstrosity in 1964. That record still stands as one of the biggest fish to ever be caught in a non-commercial setting, and possibly the biggest ever caught off the east coast of America.

Biggest saltwater fish ever caught

Mundus' 3,427-pound catch also doubles as the largest saltwater fish ever caught with a fishing rod. According to the IGFA, though, the fish that takes this particular ticket is another Great White shark - this one caught off the coast of Ceduna in Australia. Reeled up in 1959, this bad-boy was 2664-pounds.

This massive chomper is likely to remain the biggest Great White caught off the Australian coast, seeing as they are now a species protected against fishing. It was pulled in by a "bloke" named Alfred Dean, a humble Aussie who developed an addiction to big-fish fishing after catching a 900-pound shark in the Southern Ocean, off the coast of South Australia, in 1952.

Tuna are some of the biggest and most extraordinary fish out there.
Tuna are some of the biggest and most extraordinary fish out there.  © Unsplash/James Thornton

Biggest tuna fish ever caught

An enormous Atlantic bluefin tuna takes the record for biggest tuna ever caught. Coming in at 1,496 pounds, the biggest tuna ever caught was reeled in by a Canadian fisherman off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1979. It apparently took Fraser 45 minutes of fighting with the beast before he managed to get it on board and begin the long process of dehydrating it.

Bluefin tuna have become synonymous with the business of overfishing, and are classified as "near threatened" on the IUCN scale. Stocks of these magnificent beasties declined by 72% in the 40 years before a 2009 report. As a result, regulations now control how they are fished, particularly in the Atlantic Ocean.

There are some impressive fish in lakes and rivers!

Considering the size of the flippers we've discussed today, it goes without saying that there are some absolute units out there in our inland waterways. These huge fish are, for the most part, benign, but that doesn't make them any less impressive. They might not necessarily make a great, feed, though.

Fish come in all shapes and sizes, though, and small dudes shouldn't be overlooked when it comes to flavor. Just make sure that you're abiding by the rules, though!

Cover photo: Unsplash/David Clode

More on Animal World Records: