As a longtime angler, Dennis Tilden knows: the quicker a fish is prepared after it's caught, the fresher it will taste.
But Tilden, who reeled in a 32-pound Mexican barracuda recently while fishing in the Pacific off Costa Rica, did not know until dinner was being served that he’d be eating a potential world-record catch.
The International Game Fish Association lists as the all-tackle record a 28-pound, 6-ounce Mexican barracuda caught off Panama in 2010.
Tilden's barracuda, caught during a tournament out of Crocodile Bay Resort on the Osa Peninsula, was weighed briefly before its head was removed for a soup. It's flesh was quickly filleted and later prepared as a ceviche.
A proper certified weight had not been obtained, and measurements and other details for the paperwork were not collected, nullifying any chance for a record.
Tilden could only recall the captain telling him that the barracuda was the largest he had ever seen.
A description from Todd Staley, the resort's director of fishing reads:
"As the chef was preparing a barracuda ceviche and getting the rest ready for dinner, Dennis mentioned the captain's comment.
"A check with the IGFA record book showed the biggest recorded was 28 lbs. Tilden's fish at just under 32 lbs made a delicious world-record meal."
Tilden considered it a lesson learned, and could hardly complain about the fishing.
A day later he caught a 350-pound blue marlin to win Day 2 of the Boston Whaler group competition.
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