What boat holds the record for the two largest tuna caught by kayak, both yellowfin? The answer is unlikely given the massive size of the fish, 187.6 and 176.5 pounds respectively. It is the Hobie Mirage Revolution 13, at 13 feet long, a lithe 28 inches wide, and a capacity of 350 pounds of angler, tackle and fish. In both cases, the anglers had equipped the optional Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit for extra stability and capacity.
The stories themselves are crazy. First the latest record breaker, the 187.6-pound ahi. On July 6, 2016, Nick Wakida of Haiku launched his Revolution at daybreak from the Hawaiian island of Maui. Bait was tough; he caught just one, a big opelu (mackerel scad).
According to Rich Holland of Kayak Fish Magazine, Wakida hooked up about an hour later. It smoked the line off the reel.
“I tightened down the drags and then it was a battle where I would get two inches, he would take an inch, he would take three inches, I would get a couple back, so it was inch by inch,” recalls Wakida. “The fish would just pull slow, steady and hard, exactly like a shark.”
“Kayak fishing you pull the kayak to the fish and it was taking me super far and super deep. I tried to turn its head — I had to go to work! — and when I tried to lift the pole and turn him the pole snaps. Miraculously the fish was still on.”
Wakida couldn’t get any leverage with the remaining stub of his fishing rod. He had no choice but to hand-line the fish. Fortunately, he had gloves. Unfortunately, the line soon tangled with another, dangling from a jig line he hadn’t been able to clear during the frantic battle with the tuna.
It was unreal, there I am hand lining with lines from two reels all over my lap,” says Wakida. “I had to make sure nothing wrapped around my limbs or toes or in one second I could lose a toe or another limb. Eventually I could see the yellow of the yellow fin and I started to get really excited!” he adds.
Wakida gaffed the huge fish, so long he couldn’t secure it with a tail wrap, and looked up to see the fish had towed him far out to sea. Unable to bring the massive tuna on board and concerned that it could fall victim to sharks, he called his dad. Dad called Maui Sporting Goods, and they called the lifeguards. The guards motored out on personal watercraft to assist.
“The lifeguards dropped me off on a beach that is pretty popular with the tourists, so they were all checking it out,” he adds. “I still can’t believe this is all happening, I was in really shallow waters, about 150, and usually guys are going out to water a thousand, 1500 feet deep to find this fish. And I was so convinced it was a shark the whole time. Most of all I wanted to see what was on the end of the line.”
Wakida weighed his catch at Maui Sporting Goods. According to Kayak Fish Magazine, he was fishing a Nittal Zip Bridle on 50-pound Berkley Pro Series Premium monofilament on a Penn Squall 6/0 mounted to a 5’9” Shimano Tallus Trolling Series rod.
Wakida’s catch dethroned the 176.5-pound ahi caught off Kona, Hawaii by Devin Hallingstad. Like Wakida’s, the fish towed his Revolution 13 far offshore. And then dead weight. Hallingstad had to crank it up inch by inch. It came up tail-wrapped.
Hallingstad somehow managed to drag his fish onboard, nearly submarining his Revolution in the process. The nose of the kayak was out of the water, and the back and the amas were submerged. He was on the verge of sinking when he finally hit the beach.
“It was pretty amazing, the greatest feeling ever. I don’t really go out for records, but nowadays I kind of like it,” Hallingstad says.