Fishing for tarpon was slow on the Cuanza River in Angola, so when Thomas Gibson hooked into a giant fish that took a scorching run and stayed close to the surface, he and his fishing partner thought, finally, a tarpon.
But what came to the boat was not only a huge fish, but a huge surprise.
“It came to the boat fairly easily (too easily for a tarpon!) and once I got hold of the leader and pulled it up to the surface, we saw it was a HUGE barracuda,” Cam Nicolson wrote in an e-mail to GrindTV Outdoor. “It was bigger than any barracuda I had seen.”
The barracuda—a Guinean barracuda, to be exact—measured 6.9 feet long and weighed a potential all-tackle world-record 102 pounds.
“I have never seen anything like it,” Iain Nicolson, Cam’s brother, told Sport Fishing.
Indeed, Guinean barracuda in the Cuanza River typically average 10 to 20 pounds with the biggest the Nicolsons of Angola have caught previously being around 65 pounds.
Gibson, a Houston resident who is an expert at catching tarpon, submitted the recent catch to the International Game Fish Association, the keeper of fishing world records. The IGFA is currently reviewing the potential record.
The current record is 101 pounds, 3 ounces, also caught in Africa. That fish was landed by Dr. Cyril Fabre in Olende, Gabon.
Amazingly, the one Gibson hooked took less than 10 minutes to land, but it came with one harrowing moment.
“We only had a lip gaff onboard [seen in photo below], so that was a little too close to the teeth for comfort,” Cam Nicolson said.
Photos of Cam Nicolson with the Guinean barracuda courtesy of Iain Nicolson.