John Petruescu, of La Mesa, caught the tuna on Dec. 3 at Hurricane Bank off Baja California, 960 miles from San Diego's Point Loma, where the 7-foot-long fish was weighed Sunday.
"The more we talked about it on the boat, the more I realized what it meant to fishing, to the industry," Petruescu, 33, told U-T San Diego (http://bit.ly/U7xF5x ). "We knew it was going to be the biggest ever, but just seeing it ... it's really amazing isn't it?"
The electrician was aboard the San Diego-based Excel, whose captain twice handled the rod Petruescu was using. Justin Fleck said he helped Petruescu negotiate around a bow anchor for insurance reasons. For that reason, the catch won't be recognized as an official record by the International Game Fish Association.
The all-tackle record for a yellowfin is held by Mike Livingston, of Sunland, for a fish caught two years ago that topped 405 pounds.
A 427.9-pound yellowfin landed last April by Robert Pedigo off Puerto Vallarta was disqualified because a deckhand touched the rod and a 427.5-pound yellowfin caught by Guy Yocom of Dana Point in September has not yet won IGFA certification.
It doesn't matter whether Petruescu's catch is an official record, said his brother David, 40, who was on the fishing trip and was one of four men to gaff the tuna.
"Was the shark in the movie Jaws a record?" he asked. "How did he get him? As long as you get him, that's all that matters."