A 311-pound bigeye tuna, caught on September 25th by Vic Gaspeny, of Tavernier, FL, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament.
Gaspeny made his record-setting catch off Virginia Beach, at the Norfolk Canyon, while fishing with Captain Justin Wilson aboard the charter vessel Just Right.
Gaspeny, a well respected light tackle fishing guide and outdoor writer, operates out of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, FL, where he is best known for his ability to put clients on tarpon. Gaspeny also helped pioneer “day dropping” for swordfish off the Florida coast and in the process caught his 200th swordfish last July.
Gaspeny and a group of friends left the dock early Wednesday, September 25, aboard Justin Wilson’s custom-rigged 34-foot Judge. After arriving at their chosen fishing spot, the lines had hardly been set when all six went off. The group managed to land two 50-pound class yellowfin and three 200-pound class bigeye tuna.
With five tuna onboard the group decided it was time to move on to day-dropping for swordfish. Later that afternoon, the party switched back to trolling and returned to the area where the tuna had been caught earlier in the day.
It was nearly sunset when the huge bigeye hit a trolled ballyhoo rigged on a blue and white skirt attached to a heavy leader. Gaspeny was using a custom built J&B rod mated to a 50W Shimano TLD reel and loaded with 80-pound test Suffix monofilament line. The tuna was landed around 9:15 PM and brought to the docks at Long Bay Pointe Marina around midnight.
The official weight of the bigeye was determined on Thursday morning by Virginia’s Saltwater Fishing Tournament Director Lewis Gillingham.
The 311-pound record-setting bigeye tuna measured 79-1/2 inches in total length, 71-1/2 inches straight line fork length and sported an impressive 57-inch girth.
The tuna was weighed and registered at Long Bay Pointe Marina. The prior state record of 285 pounds and 12 ounces was also caught off Virginia Beach, at the Norfolk Canyon, by Melvin Bray of Dumfries, VA on August 11, 2003.
source: Virginia Marine Resources Commission