Record Tuna Caught Off Delaware Shore

July 05, 2005

It was a fish for the Delaware record books. The largest tuna on Delaware record, a massive 873 lb. blue fin, was caught on Saturday by the charter boat, Captain Ike II, about 40 miles off-shore from the Indian River Inlet.

According to the boat's captain, Dave Collins of Frankford, the tuna was caught by Dan Dillon or Herndon, VA with an 80 lb. test monofilament line on an 80 lb. class reel, using a blue fish fillet as bait. “The tuna was so huge that it more than 1 ½ hours to reel the tuna to the boat and another 2 more hours to haul it into the boat,” said Captain Collins. “All six men on the fishing charter were needed to haul the fish onto the deck,” he said.

The blue fin tuna was weighed at the Hook'em and Cook'em weigh-in station located at the Indian River Marina. Aaron Hurd of DNREC's Division of Fish and Wildlife, officially identified and recorded the weight of the giant blue fin tuna at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 2.

“We couldn't believe our eyes,” said Mr. Hurd. “The tuna was 9 ½ feet in length with a girth of 6 ½ feet. Its total weight of 873 lbs. exceeded the previous record catch by more than 500 lbs.

The holiday weekend brought serious fishing enthusiasts from across the region eager to “bag” the largest fish in the Delaware Open Tuna Trolling Tournament. The annual July 4th weekend event is sponsored by the Indian River Boating Association (IRBA), which holds several fishing tournaments throughout the season.

“The Captain Ike II was out on an overnight shark-fishing trip and wasn't registered in our three-day tournament,” said Don Cline, President of the IRBA. “Blue fin tuna caught off Delaware with rod and reel usually range from 35 to 200 lbs. This year's tournament winner weighed in at 120.6 lbs, so it amazed everyone to see this monster of a fish,” he said.

“This weekend's tournament was a great success with anglers bringing in a large catch of blue and yellow fin tuna, shark, flounder, and sea bass,” said Gary King, marina manager with DNREC's Division of Parks and Recreation. “Delaware offers some of the finest deep-sea fishing on the East coast, and we expect this season to be a great one,” he said.

For more information regarding upcoming IRBA fishing tournaments, contact the Indian River Marina at (302) 227-3071. To learn about the Indian River Marina at the Delaware Seashore State Park, visit their web site at

For further information or for digital pictures, contact Melanie Rapp DNREC Public Affairs Office (302) 739-9902 or Maria Taylor by cell phone (302) 632-1078.

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