Teen’s 32-Pound Skipjack Could Be New IGFA Youth World Record

Sixteen-year old Matthew Kelly was fishing with his father for tuna and sharks near Hatteras, N.C., over Labor Day weekend when he hooked a 32-pound skipjack—that's 10 pounds heavier than the standing state record, which has been in place for 46 years. The catch could also be the new IGFA Junior Angler World Record.

A story from the North Carolina Sportsman says Kelly and his father were on board the family boat, Megabite, on August 30, when they spotted some tuna breaking the surface. Once they reached the spot, every rod in the boat doubled over, and the first one Kelly grabbed had a skipjack on the end of the line.

“It didn’t fight noticeably different than any of the other tunas,” Kelly said. “My dad commented that it was a really big skippy, but we had tuna on every line, and were trying to land as many as we could. Several got away, but we managed to land five other tuna, yellowfins and blackfins, and we were pretty happy about that.” Kelly said he and his father didn’t really realize how big the skipjack was until they started sorting through their catch. They decided to put the fish on ice until they could get it to a scale.

After docking on Sunday night, they weighed the fish on the marina’s scales, where a crowd of other anglers began gathering. Many said it was the biggest skipjack they’d ever seen. The father and son later weighed the fish on a certified scale and submitted a state record application on Tuesday. It has been noted that Kelly’s fish might also beat the IGFA youth world record. “I’m happy to have this record, and hopefully the IGFA will approve that one, but I owe it all to my dad and wish he could get credit too,” Kelly said. “He has made time for me and taught me everything I know about fishing.”

Kelly’s skipjack, which hit a green Zuker feather lure, officially weighed just over 32 pounds, was 32 inches long and had a 24-inch girth. If approved, it will beat out the current North Carolina record, a 22-pound, 3-ounce fish caught in 1968.