The Biggest Fish Ever Caught

Fishermen are a proud bunch and love to tell stories of their biggest catches. For many, the biggest fish they ever caught was the one that got away. But for those lucky few who have landed a truly massive fish, the experience is one they'll never forget.

Here are some tales of the biggest fish ever caught by fishermen from around the world. In some cases, these fish have even broken world records!

Person fishing in the ocean from a boat.

Who Keeps Records of the Biggest Fish Ever Caught?

Do you wonder who keeps records of the biggest fish ever caught? The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) does. The IGFA is a not-for-profit organization that promotes responsible, sustainable fishing and works to conserve game fish populations around the world.

In the early twentieth century, there was no organization to verify and list new record catches worldwide. The IGFA was established in 1939 as a non-profit organization to compile a list of the largest sea fish caught. The IGFA maintains records for more than 28,000 species of fish, with some pretty impressive catches on their list.

Today, the IGFA is headquartered in Dania Beach, Florida, and continues to track catches from all over the world while collaborating with scientific organizations to conduct research into marine conservation and promote fishing as a hobby across the globe.

Five Big Fish Stories

  1. In 1829, an English angler named Robert Welton set the record for the biggest carp ever caught. His fish weighed in at an impressive 97 pounds (44 kilograms).
  2. In 2001, a man in China named Chen Xiong caught a fish that weighed 222 pounds (100.5 kilograms). This fish, however, was not officially recognized as the world record because it was not caught using traditional fishing methods.
  3. In 2005, a Japanese fisherman named Manabu Kurita set the world record for the biggest carp ever caught using traditional fishing methods. His fish weighed in at a whopping 221 pounds (99.8 kilograms).
  4. In 2005, a man in Thailand named Somphong Jansen caught a Mekong giant catfish that weighed an incredible 646 pounds (293 kilograms).
  5. In 2009, a man in Australia named David Mitchell caught a giant freshwater catfish that weighed 293 pounds (132.6 kilograms).

While these catches are certainly impressive, they pale compared to the biggest fish ever caught (which we will reveal at the end of this post).

Freshwater vs. Saltwater Biggest Catch

IFFA has a few criteria for tracking records of the biggest catches! One of the main selections: freshwater or saltwater catch.

When it comes to the biggest fish, there is a big debate between Saltwater and freshwater fishermen. In general, saltwater fish are much bigger than freshwater fish. This is because they have a larger habitat to grow in and are not as limited by food and other resources. For this reason, the biggest fish ever caught have all come from Saltwater.

When comparing their catches, a true fisherman always asks if it is a fresh or Saltwater catch! When it comes to freshwater fish, there have been some impressive catches over the years. 

One of the biggest freshwater fish ever caught was a six-foot-long sturgeon in Russia in 1827. The fish weighed in at an impressive 3,463 pounds. In the United States, the biggest freshwater fish was caught in Mississippi in 2001. The fish was a massive alligator gar, weighing in at 327 pounds. There have been other big catches of freshwater fish worldwide, but these two are the biggest on known record.

Biggest Fish Stories by Continent

Of course, you might be interested to find out which continent had what kind of fishing surprises, and here it is.

  • In Europe, it was a sturgeon that weighed in at 1,214 pounds. This massive fish was caught in the River Danube in Romania in 2014.
  • In Asia, a giant Mekong catfish weighed 646 pounds. It was caught in Thailand in 2005. The fish was so big that it took eight men to haul it out of the river.
  • In Africa, a Nile perch that weighed in at 200 pounds was caught in Lake Victoria in Uganda in 2011.
  • In South America, it was a 300-pounds pirarucu caught in the Amazon River in Brazil in 2012.
  • In Oceania, a great white shark that weighed in at 4,095 pounds was caught off the coast of Australia in 2014. Read more fascinating facts about sharks!
  • In Antarctica, an Antarctic toothfish of 100 pounds was caught off the coast of Antarctica in 2013.

For those lucky enough to land one of these giants, it's an experience they'll never forget.

Who knows what else is out there, just waiting to be caught?

Group of paddlefish swimming underwater

Big Catches in the USA

In terms of USA freshwater fish, the biggest on record is a paddlefish weighing in at 155 pounds (70 kg). This massive fish was caught in a Nebraska lake back in 2005.

A 482-pound halibut on the Alaskan coast in 2014, but the angler wasn't qualified for the world record since to subdue this catch, they used the shotgun. There have been other large fish caught in the USA over the years, including the 1,376-pound blue marlin in 1982 in Hawaii and a 1,323-pound (600-kg) tiger shark around the Florida coast in 2019. However unconfirmed by IGFA.

A large tarpon swimming underwater.

Big Catches in Florida

One of the biggest fish caught in St. Petersburg, Florida, was a massive tarpon. The fish weighed an impressive 732 pounds and was nearly 13 feet long. It was caught by angler William A. Gentry in 1931 and still holds the record today. Gentry's catch is an impressive feat still remembered and talked about by many fishermen today.

In 2012, an angler caught a 683-pound hammerhead shark off the coast of St. Petersburg. The fish was nearly 14 feet long and took nearly two hours to reel in.

The biggest fish ever caught in Florida was a 1,280-pound great white shark. The massive shark was caught off the coast of Key West in 1945. It measured over 21 feet long and weighed nearly half a ton.

A large marlin leaping out of the ocean during a catch

Reel Coquina Fishing Charters Big Fish Stories

For many fishermen, the biggest fish they ever catch is a source of great pride. Reel Coquina Fishing Charters has seen its fair share of big fish over the years, and the stories of the biggest catches are always impressive.

One such story is that of David Johnson, who caught a massive swordfish weighing over 1,000 pounds. Johnson had been fishing for years, but this was by far the biggest fish he had ever caught. When asked about the catch, Johnson said it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and that he was just happy to have been able to bring such a monster fish to the boat.

Another fisherman, John Williams, had a similar story to tell. Williams caught a giant tuna that weighed in at an impressive 860 pounds. Like Johnson, this was the biggest fish Williams had ever caught, and he was extremely proud of his accomplishment.

These are just two stories of big fish caught from Reel Coquina Fishing Charters. The charter company has a long history of helping fishermen bring in some of the biggest catches of their lives, and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. So, if you're ever in the area and looking for a charter to take you out fishing, give Reel Coquina Fishing Charters a call. You never know what kind of big fish story you might take home with you.

These massive catches show that you never know what you'll reel in when you're out on the open water. So, if you're ever feeling lucky, head to your nearest fishing spot and see if you can make a record-breaking catch of your own!

A great white shark swimming in the ocean.

And Finally... The Big White Shark Story

The biggest fish ever caught by a human, angler Alfred Dean off the coast of Ceduna, Australia, is believed to be a great white shark in 1959. It weighed in at an astounding 2,664 pounds. It took him about 50 min on a 130-pound line.

In Conclusion

Fishing is a popular pastime here in Florida, and many anglers are proud of the biggest fish they've ever caught. Whether a massive tarpon or a great white shark, the biggest fish always make for a good story. These stories are often told and retold, becoming part of the state's lore.Storytelling and sharing memories is just one of the many benefits of fishing!

So whether you're looking to land a big one or just enjoy some time out on the water, be sure to add Florida and Reel Coquina Fishing Charters to your list of potential fishing spots and a fishing adventure! Many fishermen can boast about the biggest fish they've ever caught, but few can say they're the proud owner of the biggest fish on record, but you can always try to be the one!