Beginners Luck: Novice Lands World Record Opah


Opah, also known as moonfish, are a relatively rare incidental catch for anglers tuna fishing in the Pacific off California. A potential world record opah caught on an overnight trip out of San Diego in early August is even more amazing because it was landed by an angler on his first-ever trip offshore.

According to FTW Outdoors, Angler Beau Leaman, of Santa Clarita, Cali., hooked and landed a 188.6-pound opah while fishing aboard the Horizon out of H&M Landing. The fish ate a jig in 300 feet of water, and Leaman subdued it during a 45-minute battle before the crew of the Horizon gaffed it and brought it onboard.

“Once it was on the boat, I think most of us were in dismay,” Leaman told FTW Outdoors. “From the shark bites on its side, to its blend of orange and red, its tail fin slapping the deck, its massive eyes and fins that don’t seem to do much work… It did not look real.”

On Facebook, Capt. Bill Wilkerson, of the Horizon, said Leaman’s fish is “kind of like a unicorn.” He’s only seen opah caught three times in 40 years.

The current IGFA all-tackle world record Opah weighed 180 pounds, 12 ounces. It was caught out of San Quintin, Mexico in 2014 by Joe Ludlow. Leaman’s fish has been submitted to IGFA for certification.

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