The Biggest Fish Ever Caught

man fishing at sunset

People take up fishing for all kinds of reasons; traditionally it was one of the few ways humans could feed themselves, and therefore survive, but at some point, it also became a recreational pastime, the first record of recreational fishing was in an essay from 1496.

Nowadays, it’s thought of as one of the more relaxing hobbies/sports; you’re out in the fresh air, surrounded by nature and near water, which is known to be a great stress reliever as studies show that being exposed to natural environments can lower anxiety.

But there’s also an element of thrill involved; the anticipation of the catch, the challenge. Often, it’s the thought that the next one is going to be The One that keeps you going, and while fishing is generally a calm sport with a great community, it’s human nature to be a bit competitive. We’ve all seen the photos of anglers standing holding a massive fish, with huge grins on their faces; who wouldn’t want to be that person, the one who lands the big one?

So this got us thinking, what’s the biggest fish ever caught in the world?


In 1970, a group of anglers caught ‘Choy’s Monster’ near Hawaii. Weighing in at 1,805 pounds it is officially the biggest marlin ever caught on a rod and reel. However, the record was originally set in 1952, by Alfred Glassel in Peru, only for someone to top it just a few days later. A year later he took the record back, catching a 1,560-pound marlin that was fourteen and a half feet long who apparently leapt out of the water 49 times during the process, which lasted an hour and 45 minutes. This fish is on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Marlin fish swimming just blow the surface of the water


60 years ago, in 1953, Louis Marron caught a record-breaking 1,182-pound broadbill swordfish off the coast of Chile. It took 2 hours to bring it in and as yet, nobody has managed to beat this record.

This is even more amazing when you think that there wasn’t the technology around then that anglers have access to now; such as sonar fish finders, GPS and high-tech reels.


The film ‘Jaws’ made a film star of the great white shark and it’s the world’s largest known predatory fish, often referred to as ‘the ultimate shark’. The biggest shark ever caught was by Alfred Dean in 1959 in Australia, he managed to catch a 2,604-pound beast using a porpoise for bait.

Great whites are now protected in some areas after years of being hunted for their fins and teeth resulted in their numbers decreasing; over-fishing has resulted in a third of all sharks, rays and chimaeras being at risk of extinction.

great white shark swimming


Bluefin tuna are known for their size, but the 1979 record has yet to be broken. Ken Fraser took just 45 minutes to reel in the monster fish that weighed 1,496 pounds, which is a feat in itself considering the bluefin tuna is one of the fastest fish in the ocean, capable of reaching 44mph.

As with most fish, tuna fishing is much more highly regulated now.


The aptly named Goliath Grouper is one of the largest species of bony fish so it’s no surprise that this fish is behind the world record for the largest grouper ever caught. In 1962, angler Lynn Joyner caught a 680-pound Goliath using a Spanish Mackerel as bait, after fighting with it for over an hour.

Another record was broken when a 583-pound Goliath was landed in 2020 by Reegan Werner, making it the biggest Goliath Grouper caught by a woman. This record is made even more impressive by the fact that Reegan was only 16 years old at the time, and it took her just 15 minutes to reel it in. She took a quick snap before releasing it back into the ocean.


For a relatively small country, the UK can certainly hold its own when it comes to breaking records and there are some amazing fishing destinations around. The most commonly caught fish in UK waters are cod, haddock, bass and plaice; in 2021, a cod weighing 49 pounds and 4 feet long, was caught off the Shetland coast by angler, Tony Unwin.

It took him half an hour to land it and left him with a stiff arm and pins and needles! The world record for the biggest haddock ever caught was a 14-pound 15 oz fish caught by Heike Neblinger in Norway in 1997.

man holding a fish he's caught

The biggest fish ever caught on rod and reel in a UK river was a 414-pound sturgeon caught in the River Severn in 1903 but other big catches include a 145-pound catfish in 2021, a 46-pound pike in 1992, and a massive 10 stone carp caught in Essex in 2012.

We’ve also snagged a few sharks here in the UK too; in 1993 a 507-pound Porbeagle shark was caught off the coast of Scotland. Other large sharks have been caught too, for example, an 11-foot long Mako shark estimated to be between 800 – 1,200 pounds was caught off the coast of Wales in 2020, but it was immediately released.

The recording of big catches has changed over the years, as traditionally any catch needs to be weighed and measured on certified scales; so the only way to break a record is to kill the fish. In 2011 the IGFA (International Game Fish Association) established rules that regulated how fish can be caught, measured and released alive in the interests of marine conservation.

man on a boat holding a fish he's caught

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