An elusive species of tuna fish are making a comeback on our coastlines – and have been spotted over 500 times in the past five years.
The bluefin tuna, which disappeared during the 1990s, can grow up to 10ft long, weigh up to 700kg, and some live for as long as 40 years.
In July last year, a group of fishermen were lucky enough to catch the elusive fish, and said that they felt like they had won the World Cup.
The massive species of fish have been spotted across the coasts of Devon, Cornwall and Pembrokeshire.
The largest ever tuna fish on record, caught in Britain, was in 1933, and weighed a whopping 851lb.
Thirty years ago, the fish struggled to survive due to overfishing on herring and mackerel, its main food source – but now it appears to be back.
Due to the return of the gigantic species, there could be a resurrection of big game fishing, which could attract wealthy anglers in the off season when bluefin are at their highest numbers.
The fish are classed as an endangered species and it is illegal to target them in British waters.
A group of five fishermen who caught the 300lb fish last summer, believed it was the first bluefin tuna to be caught off Plymouth, by rod and line.
Fisherman Kevin Mckie was with his friends when they caught the fish and said they could have “written a book” about the memorable day.
He described it as “truly a dream come true” and said the gigantic catch stripped over 300 yards of braid off the reel of his fishing rod due to its immense weight.
Mr Mckie told The Herald: “The bite was just insane with no warning. The reel drag went from 0 to 100 mph in a split second.
“On the first run it stripped over 350 yards of braid off the reel in seconds, then it went deep down and stayed close to them sea bed.
“It made three more long runs and at one point I had to chase it in the boat just to keep up.”
The catch was a real team effort with the fishermen talking it in turns to reel in the beast.
Mr Mckie said as the fish got closer it tried to go under the boat making big pin wheels.
He added: “There was a chance we could lose it so I passed the rod to Tony while I got back in control of the boat.
“As we started to win the fight the tuna kept hanging under the boat about 50ft down so I asked Bernie to take control of the boat.
“Bearing in mind he had never took control of Size Matters (the boat) before, he did a cracking job.
“I was now the wire man as none of the lads on board had ever wired a big fish before so I had to be on that wire if we had any chance of catching this tuna.”
The fish put up a brave fight before it was finally reeled in.
The fisherman added: “Four or five times I had the wire in my hand and each time with a kick of its tail it shot off and hung under the boat.
“Finally we got him boat side I got Barry to hold the wire while I put a gaff in the bridge of its lower jaw then I got a second gaff and carefully placed it next to the first gaff.
“Gaffing a tuna in this part of its jaw results in no blood loss, the welfare of the Tuna was paramount.
It took three men to slide the fish through the stern door.
As soon as it was on the deck, they put a hose in its mouth to keep it oxygenated and poured buckets of water over it to keep it alive.
Mr Mckie added: “We removed the wire trace and circle hook from its jaw, took some photos and measurements then released it.
“As the tuna slipped back into the sea it give two kicks of its tail and was away.
“The five of us onboard where screaming with joy it was like we had won the World Cup, we all decided to stop fishing and go the pub to celebrate.
“Even weeks after, the lads where calling me to say that was one of the best experiences of their lives.”
Mr Mckie said the fish measured 79” long and had a 54” girth.
He added that it “easily” weighed more than 300lbs.