By Jason KUROSU
Former Crescenta Valley High co-principal Mike Livingston set out on the Vagabond, a sport fishing vessel, in late November with hopes of a relaxing fishing trip. He ended up getting that, but also happened to set a world record in the process.
While fishing at Magdalena Bay, along the west coast of Baja, Calif., Livingston caught a record-breaking 405.2-pound yellowfin tuna. The previous record was 388 pounds, set back in 1977.
The record has yet to be officially declared, as there is a 90-day process of evaluation by a national committee. The IGFA (International Game Fish Association) will test the lines used by Livingston. The rules also stipulate that no one assisted him in catching the fish, even going so far as touching his fishing rod at all.
However, Livingston assures, “No one carries my fishing pole for me.”
He’s sure the tests the IGFA administers will go fine, and until then, he will continue to be a celebrity in the world of game fishing.
“Some people fish four or five times a year trying to catch a fish over 400 pounds,” Livingston said. “Lots of people tried to catch that fish. I was lucky to do it. To catch that kind of fish, everything has to go just right.”
Livingston has been fishing since he was 4 years old, but he gives credit to the other fishermen and the crew of the Vagabond, captained by Mike Lackey.
“The crew and the boat had a lot to do with me catching that fish,” said Livingston. “I have all the respect in the world for those guys.”
A week after catching the tuna, it was hoisted up and weighed at Point Loma Sportfishing in San Diego. As the fish was reeled up, chants of “Four! Four! Four!” rang through the large crowd that had gathered to witness the weighing. The crowd got what they wanted, plus 5.2 pounds more.
“My mother, who is 88 years old, came down to see it. My wife brought her down and when my mother saw all the people, she said ‘It looks like a celebrity is getting off this boat!’”
The newfound celebrity status has elevated past the sport fishing world, as Livingston’s catch has gotten him reported on ESPN, a spot on Regis and Kelly and, according to a friend of his, “They told me they saw the story in a newspaper in Rome.”
The excitement is there, but Livingston is not letting it get to his head.
“I am thrilled and also humbled by all of this. Things right now are exciting.”