Kaleb Richardson stands 5-foot-6, weighs 115 pounds and is only in the eighth-grade, yet he is a grizzled fisherman when it comes to big-game fishing.
“I’ll put him up against any adult angler,” Kaleb’s father, Keith Richardson told The Acadiana Advocate.
The latest proof of Kaleb’s prowess came last Saturday when the 14-year-old landed one of the biggest bluefin tuna ever caught off Louisiana and the biggest in nearly 14 years—an 835-pound monster that was first thought to be a yellowfin tuna.
Kaleb and his father were on a four-day trip targeting marlin about 120 miles southwest of Grand Isle in the Green Canyon near the Neptune oil platform, according to the Louisiana Sportsman.
Keith, who owns Whoo Dat Sportfishing, and his son and crew were fishing aboard his 58-foot boat called the Whoo Dat when captain Chris Mowad spotted a tuna chasing bait. He thought it was a yellowfin.
They trolled past the spot and the tuna smashed the jig but didn’t hook up.
“So we made the turn, came back to the same spot and a little before we got there you could see him coming,” Keith told the Louisiana Sportsman. “He was like a submarine pushing a wake. And when he got to the lure he came about halfway out the water and just engulfed it.
“And at that point, we were like, ‘It’s got to be a bluefin. A yellowfin doesn’t get that big.’”
The bluefin tuna stayed on the surface like a marlin for 10 minutes before diving deep.
“Kaleb’s caught granders [1,000-pound tuna] before in Nova Scotia, so he knows the technique and knows what it takes and knows how to handle the heavy tackle to do it — and about 45 minutes later we got it to the boat and stuck two gaffs in it,” Keith told the Louisiana Sportsman.
So Kaleb, who had caught 75 billfish by the time he was 13, took a mere 55 minutes to land a bluefin tuna that was more than seven times his weight. The fish measured 113 inches in length with an 86-inch girth, and, once certified, will break into the Louisiana’s Top 5 record book of all-time bluefin tuna.
The Louisiana state record for bluefin tuna is 1,152 pounds caught by Ron Roland in 2003. The all-tackle world record is 1,496 pounds caught in Nova Scotia in 1979. The junior record is 868 pounds.