The small country of Israel now holds a huge kayak-fishing record: an astounding bluefin tuna weighing 86 kilograms, or 189.6 pounds. Here’s how it happened:
On the weekend of January 14, Victor Hadar, 42, of Kibbutz Hanaton launched his Hobie Adventure Island onto the Mediterranean near Haifa. During the cruise out to his target zone, the lifelong fisherman encountered encouraging signs of life: schools of small fish jumping out of the water.
“Immediately I realized that there were probably predators around,” Hadar said.
When he hit the 20-meter depth contour, Hadar dropped a trolling harness baited with a 1.5-kg fish into the water. Not five minutes later line was screaming off his reel.
It seemingly took only moments for most of his 500 meters of line to rip away.
“The fish began to drag me and the AI without showing signs of fatigue,” Hadar said. “After a while I started to pull thread back and work with the clutch to weaken the fish.”
It showed no signs of surrender, dragging Hadar’s kayak into 80 meters of water. Hadar’s heart was pumping and the adrenaline flowing. Fortunately, as he started to tire 90 minutes into the battle, so did the massive fish.
“When I pulled in the last few meters of string and the fish was discovered, I felt in the clouds. It was a huge fish,” Hadar said.
Grateful to be perched on such a wide and stable platform, Hadar stuck his gaff shot and pulled the beast onto his trampoline.
“I feel confident and comfortable with the AI, and that gives me peace of mind and allows me to concentrate on fishing.”
Even so, for a short while he wondered whether the huge fish would make it safely to shore, but he need not have worried.
“It didn’t bother the Hobie AI, and soon we reached shore.”
He weighed the fish at the marina: 86 kg, or 189.6 pounds.
“To my best knowledge, this is the largest fish ever caught from a kayak in Israel. And maybe even in the world?”
The heaviest kayak fish is an estimated 1,247-pound Greenland shark caught and released in 2014 in front of a science research team by Sweden’s Joel Abrahamsson. The heaviest kayak fish to make it to a scale was a 225-pound marlin caught by Hawaii’s Andy Cho in 2010.
However, Hadar’s fish is likely the largest tuna ever caught from a modern fishing kayak. His closest documented tuna competition is a 187.6-pound yellowfin caught off the Hawaiian island of Maui in 2016 by Nick Wakida. Wakida was perched aboard a Hobie Mirage Revolution 13 outfitted with a Sidekick Ama Kit at the time. The local lifeguards helped him bring the fish to shore.
Big Island resident Devin Hallingstad didn’t require any assistance with his own ahi, a dozen pounds lighter at 176.5 pounds. Like Wakida, Hallingstad was also aboard a Revo 13.