PAIR OF 300-POUND PLUS COW TUNA LANDED BY CHARTER BOAT PRIME TIME
Nov. 11, 2004, Capt. Josh Temple, Prime Time Adventures, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Fishing Report:
Here's the sum up...INSANE!
Shaun Stevenson manages the Prince Rupert Port Authority in the quaint little coastal fishing community where we spend our summers chasing trophy salmon and halibut around. He was instrumental in bringing Prince Rupert’s now booming cruise ship industry to town and among other such endeavors aids us a great deal in our dealings with the port and tour directors from the cruise ships. He’s a good guy who works very hard to make sure people like us are successful and it was with all this in mind that I offered to take him out fishing during his visit down here to Puerto Vallarta.
We’re quite busy with charters and all so it was a little difficult finding him a day to head out for some Puerto Vallarta fishing. We had a few days picked but they happened to get booked at the last minute so when the opportunity came on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004, to head out with Shaun we called him late the night before and he jumped at the chance.
We met at the Puerto Vallarta dock at 5 a.m., and with a quick stop to get some cabies we headed out to the high-spot. On the way out I was feeling really good and told everyone we weren’t coming in until we had two over 200 in the boat.
Lines went out at around 8:55 and by 9:00 Shaun was firmly imbedded in a giant yellowfin tuna. Two days before, we had hooked and lost a huge Puerto Vallarta tuna and this bite was even more ferocious. The fish pulled line on 40 pounds of drag like it wasn’t even there for a full 3 minutes, nearly dumping a Tiagra 50W loaded with 130-pound spectra. That’s a serious sprint.
We frantically cleared the other two lines and gunned the boat on plane to catch up to the fish. How Shaun managed to recover that much line and still have the use of his right arm I will never know. He reeled for 10 or 15 minutes before he really came tight to the fish.
When the fish finally slowed down and felt 40 pounds of resistance, he didn’t like it one bit, and poor Shaun found out that he wasn’t in Prince Rupert fishing Silver salmon anymore.
With the safety line securely fastened we buttoned down on the fish. The power of this tuna was immeasurable. We could not stop it on sunset drag no matter which direction we pulled on him. After an hour and 45 minutes the fish was still going and we were over 4 miles from where we hooked it.
Suddenly, without warning and with 1 hour and 55 minutes on the fight clock, the hook pulled, and so ended our musings as to whether or not we had hooked the 400 pounder we are looking for. That’s fishing.
We had our shot, and we did everything perfectly. The Puerto Vallarta fish gods just had other ideas.
Out went one more bait, and before I had time to put it in the rigger I was bit, more like ATTACKED. The line was once again melting off the reel and as Shuan was trying hard to recuperate from his battle and wanted no part of another one just yet I strapped in for the ride.
At first I was thinking 150-pound range, as for the first 15 minutes of the fight the fish let me do the pulling. That didn’t last long, and as the upper hand changed and the minutes ticked by I kind of figured the fish was growing...a lot.
By the one hour mark, we knew this was a serious fish. The drag was on sunset and I was clamping down with both hands on the spool and the fish was still peeling line. We had him on a #14 circle, so I was fairly confident I wasn’t straightening this hook like I did on my last chance at a real cow earlier in the season. I hammered down on this fish with everything I had and I still couldn’t turn him.
At the two hour mark, we still hadn’t seen color and I was feeling the burn, BIG TIME. Forty-plus pounds of drag isn’t really a walk in the park, and it didn’t really help that the boys had put the harness on me upside down. I wanted to put the fish in the rod holder and adjust the belt and harness but down here there’s always a chance of a world record so we just couldn’t risk a violation.
Around the 2.5 hour mark, I felt something change in the rhythm of the fish. Something inside him gave out, and thank Christ it did. I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of another hour.
As the fish began his circles towards the boat, the boys got ready for the shot. When color showed, the fish was deep and he looked BIG, 100 feet away.
Aside from Trev nailing my line with the flying gaff point while he was getting the gaff ready, things went well. Lucky for Trev the line didn’t snap when he hit it with the point of the gaff. He made up for it with a perfect shot with the flier when the fish came to the boat.
What a fish.
After a few quick photos out went the first bait, and again....WHAM! The fish inhaled it on the way out. Shaun was pumped now and we strapped him in again, tripping over the cow laying on the deck.
This was another giant tuna. It pulled, and pulled, and pulled without mercy or concern. There was nothing we could do but hold on and try and keep up with it.
Forty pounds of hurt and still going. Then....GONE. This time the knot let go on the hook.
Out went two baits this time, as we managed to get two baits right away, which in hindsight was just asking for trouble.
Double header immediately. Luiz’s fish spits the hook on the first run, but Trev’s is still going strong.
Trev can pull on tuna. He landed his 260 last week in less than 45 minutes, and he had it to the boat in the first 15. This time he had a little more trouble.
Pulling on tuna with this amount of drag is never easy and when the fish came to color at the 45 minute mark it was huge. It came up and charged the side of the boat half out of the water. I even had to jump back from the gunnel...there was no telling whether this fish was going to keep coming right through the side of the boat.
He dove down just before smashing into the boat and his allison fin and tail raked the chine going down. Up he came again and again he charged the side of the boat. This fish was possessed!
On the third go around I grabbed the leader and somehow managed to hold on long enough for Luiz to sink the flier in. I grabbed the other fixed gaff and all three of us launched him through the door.
The mood on the boat went from ecstatic to sublime. A few quick shots and back into the ring we went.
BAM...BAM...BAM!!!! A 500-plus pound black marlin explodes on the only bait in the water, and after a few spectacular jumps he threw the bait.
Out went another bait and yup. Luiz is on a good one, another cow, that won the battle after the hook pulled.
Out went another bait and Luiz gets another shot and lands a nice one about 125 pounds.
That was it. We were done, beat up, bleeding, blistered. It was getting dark and we were all in shock. What the hell had just happened?!?!?!
Riding home things were quiet, very quiet. We were all in our own little world.
Trev’s yellowfin tuna taped out at 76.5 X 54 and IGFA scalemaster certified at 303.9 pounds.
Mine went 74.5 X 55 and bottomed out at 307.1 pounds.
A very special thanks to Happy Times for the use of the Scalemaster.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from Puerto Vallarta and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Puerto Vallarta may be found at Mexfish.com's main Puerto Vallarta page.