Mississippi Record Yellowfin Tuna
Mississippi Commission for Marine Resources

Mississippi Yellowfin Tuna Record Broken By Hattiesburg Man

The state certified a recent yellowfin tuna catch as the largest Mississippi has ever seen.

Michael McElroy III, of Hattiesburg, reeled in a 236-pound, 9.6-ounce yellowfin tuna to capture the new Mississippi state record. The fish was officially certified at the April meeting of the Mississippi State Commission on Marine Resources.

The Sun Herald caught up with McElroy to learn more about the coveted new state fishing record.

Like many people, McElroy went fishing to pass the time and get some fresh seafood to eat during the coronavirus pandemic. His record catch came March 30, a few days before Gov. Tate Reeves ordered a shelter-in-place.

The CMR news release said he caught the giant tuna on conventional tackle, and that the previous record was set June 9, 2001held by Robert Landingham with a fish weighing 205 pounds, 12.8 ounces.

McElroy told the Sun Herald that it took five and a half hours to land the fish, which was weighed in at Pass Christian.

Ironically, had he caught the fish during 2018's Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, McElroy would have been eligible for a $500,000 prize, according to Bobby Carter, director of the famous fishing tournament, which is still scheduled for June 1-7 at Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi.

The angler didn't seem to mind judging by his reaction to catching a new state record fish: he's eaten plenty of it already.

The massive tuna will be memorialized using the traditional method of Gyotaku, an ink transfer on to canvas for a to-scale wall hanging. McElroy learned about it on social media, and is a cool way to keep the memory of the new record fresh for a long time.

The yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) frequents the saltwater of the Gulf of Mexico, but can range in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide.