When fishermen gather around the campfire there are bound to be many tall tales told. The stories get more and more unbelievable as each storyteller tries
10. Mekong Giant Catfish
A female Mekong giant catfish holds the top spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Freshwater Fish. These fast-growing fish can reach a weight exceeding 400 pounds within 6 years and can reportedly reach weights up to 770 pounds. Despite the Mekong giant catfish being on the critically endangered list, two fishermen in Thailand caught a 646 pound Mekong giant catfish in the Mekong River. As could be expected, this mammoth mudcat put up a valiant struggle. It reportedly took 2 hours for the pair to finally land it. Thailand’s Inland Fishery Department extracted the catfish’s eggs for breeding purpose. They attempted to keep the catfish alive but were unsuccessful. The 646 pound Mekong giant catfish was eaten by villagers.
Typically ranging from 7-12 feet in length, the sturgeon is a bottom feeder that is estimated to have a lifespan exceeding 100 years. The critically endangered beluga sturgeon is the largest species in the sturgeon family and is prized as a source of caviar. The largest beluga sturgeon ever caught was 24 feet long and weighed 3,463 pounds.
With a lifespan of up to 50 years, halibut can grow up to 15 feet long and are said to weigh as much as 700 pounds. Halibut meat is enjoyed around the world making it a highly coveted commodity. In 2015, a man was fishing in Norway when he hooked into a monstrous 513-pound halibut. An epic 90-minute battle that was reminiscent of a Hemingway novel took place as four men battled to haul it up to their 19-foot boat. Unable to bring the huge halibut aboard they tied the fish’s tail and dragged it back to the harbor.
Atlantic bluefin tuna are the largest of the tuna family and have been the subject of many tall fish tales. They are also on the endangered species list due their global appeal. A 513-pound bluefin sold for a record $177,000 in 2010, demonstrating that bluefin is one of the most highly sought after and valuable fish. Fishermen have caught bluefins that have weighed in excess of 1000 pounds but the largest tuna on record was caught in 1979 by Ken Fraser in Nova Scotia. His haul tipped the scales at 1,496 pounds making it one of the top 10 biggest fish ever caught.
The majestic marlin is one of the most desired game fish on the planet. Most fishermen have dreamed of catching one of these. These fish give a battle like few others due to their size and ability to travel at roughly 80 mph. The female marlin can grow up to 4 times larger than males. On average, blue marlin reaches 11 feet in length and normally weigh between 200 and 400 pounds. One of the top 10 biggest fish ever caught was a 1,656-pound blue marlin that battled for 2 hours and 20 minutes.
5. Ocean Sunfish
The ocean sunfish, or mola as it’s referred to, is a true heavyweight of the ocean. These tailless fish can be found in warmer waters all over the world. They are the heaviest of the bony fish with their average weight ranging from 545 to 2,025 pounds. They are docile and are not a threat to humans but they have been known to cause damage when hit by boats. The record size for an ocean sunfish is a whopping 5,100 pounds. The behemoth crashed into a boat near Australia’s Bird Island in 1910.
4. Great White Shark
The great white shark has a most fearsome reputation and is known to occasionally prey on people. The adult female great white grows to an average of 15 to 16 feet long although there have been numerous reports of great whites far surpassing that length. One such behemoth is Deep Blue. Captured on film swimming near Mexico’s Guadalupe Island, she is an estimated 20 feet long. The largest great white to ever have been caught is said to have been 5085 pounds. It was reeled in near Australia’s Phillip Island and is of the top 10 biggest fish ever caught.
3. Manta Ray
Giant oceanic manta rays are mostly found in tropical and subtropical waters. They average 4 to 5 meters in length and they can move at a good rate of speed. Giant ocean manta rays have few predators to worry about. Killer whales, some sharks, and man are their biggest threats. The largest manta rays can approach 3,000 pounds. The largest manta ray ever caught was landed in 1933 off the coast of Florida. Its “wingspan” was nearly 20 feet across and this record breaking manta ray weighed around 5,500 pounds. Their freshwater relatives have also been known to weigh in at nearly one ton.
2. Basking Shark
Basking sharks are not the vicious predators that their great white cousins are but their sheer size makes this shark intimidating nonetheless. These mild-mannered plankton-munching mega-fish can reach up to 26 feet in length but there are always exceptions. In 1851, the largest basking shark ever was caught. Measuring in at 40 feet long it weighed a jaw-dropping 19 tons making it is one of the top 10 biggest fish ever caught. The basking shark is a victim of overfishing and is listed as a vulnerable species.
1. Whale Shark
Known as the biggest fish in the world, the whale shark is gentle plankton-eating giant. Their average adult size sees them grow to about 30 feet in length and weigh around 20,000 pounds. Their massive mouths are nearly 5 feet wide and can filter staggering amounts of water to get their fill of food. The largest whale shark ever caught was snagged near Karachi, Pakistan in 1947. It was over 41 feet long and it weighed in at a hefty 47,000 pounds. While there have been many claims of larger whale sharks they remain unverified.