Angler lands giant bluefin tuna with antique fishing gear

Angler lands giant bluefin tuna with antique fishing gear


Angler lands giant bluefin tuna with antique fishing gear

A Southern California angler has made history by landing a 219-pound bluefin tuna with antique equipment.

Using a 1920s-era rod made of ash, a 1930s reel spooled with 24-thread linen line, Dave Pfeiffer prevailed in a grueling 48-minute fight last Thursday off Santa Catalina Island.

Dave Pfeiffer poses with 219-pound bluefin tuna. Photo courtesy of Dave Pfeiffer

“I can’t easily express what a thrill this catch was, and is, for me,” Pfeiffer stated in a piece he wrote for Sport Fishing magazine.

The tournament was run by the Tuna Club of Avalon, which was founded in 1898 and whose members pioneered big-game sportfishing in the U.S.

The annual Linen One Tournament is a celebration of the Tuna Club and a period in which intrepid anglers – including such celebrities as Zane Grey, Bing Crosby and Cecil B. Demille – used linen line during epic battles with tuna, marlin and swordfish.

Dave Pfeiffer uses antique gear to battle giant tuna. Photo: Courtesy of Dave Pfeiffer/Sport Fishing

(Linen line has since been replaced by single-strand monofilament and other modern lines. Giant fishing reels with slow-turning spools have been replaced by smaller multi-speed reels that tilt battles more in the favor of anglers.)

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Pfeiffer, president of Shimano Fishing in North America, explained that Tuna Club founder Dr. C.P. Morehouse used 24-thread linen line to catch a 251-pound bluefin tuna in 1899. (24-thread line is the equivalent to 72-pound monofilament.)

Dave Pfeiffer caught his 219-pound bluefin tuna on 24-thread linen line. Photo: Dave Pfeiffer/Sport Fishing

In 1901, a 216-pound bluefin tuna was caught on 24-thread linen.

Those were the only bluefin tuna catches in excess of 200 pounds made on 24-thread linen until last Thursday, when Pfeiffer reeled in the 219-pounder.

“Finally, after well over a century, a third bluefin tuna over 200 pounds has been landed on 24-thread line,” Pfeiffer concluded.

Other early members of the Tuna Club of Avalon included George S. Patton, Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Hal Roach and Herbert Hoover.

Grey, the famous Western author, at one point held 10 all-tackle world records and is credited with the first-ever catch of a 1,000-pound marlin on rod and reel.

–Images showing Dave Pfeiffer posing with and battling his 219-pound bluefin tuna are courtesy of Dave Pfeiffer/Sport Fishing

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