ANGLER DESCRIBES BATTLE WITH NEAR-RECORD TUNA
Oct. 15, 2005, Todd Fraser, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Near World Record Tuna Catch Report:
I just came home from another great fishing trip to Puerto Vallarta. The last day of my trip, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2005, I fished with Manny and Tony on the Yolaray and could not keep the fish off the lines.
The first fish caught was a beautiful 200-pound blue marlin that jumped like crazy and almost landed in the boat.
The next fish was a 150-pound yellowfin tuna. We set the lines and started to slow troll our skipjacks when we get hooked up on a double. I reeled in my fish slowly while Captain Manny slammed the 150 pound fish in 15 minutes.
I then boated a 260-pound tuna after we put Manny's fish on the deck.
We started to troll after we caught a few more baits, and before we know it I caught another tuna in the 180 pound range.
At this time, we are looking for more room on the deck to keep the fish. Manny, Tony, and I all agree that we have enough fish, and we will catch and release any fish smaller than 200 pounds.
We set the rods back up with skipjacks and within 25 minutes, bammm, a big strike occurs on the planner board. I set the hook and watch the fish spool almost all the backing and 100-pound test top shot, and then it finally stops.
The fish began to swim at the boat so I kept tension, reeling like a mad man until the fish stops about 100 yards from the back of the boat and down deep. The fish then starts to kick my butt, pulling hard against my Smitty belt and Smitty Plate. I put the heat on the fish pulling as hard as possible with the Cal Star Grafiter and a Shimano Tiagra 50 SW.
After 30 minutes the fish comes to color and Tony sticks the cow yellowfin tuna with a gaff. I get so excited seeing this beast I grab the other gaff and stick the fish and yell to Manny to get down here and help. Manny came down from the fly bridge and grabbed the gaff and opened the door in the back. Manny and Tony pulled the cow into the boat as I watched in pure amazement.
The fish was iced and taken back to the dock at Puerto Vallarta as fast as we could go, with over 1,000 pounds of fish on the deck.
We ended up weighing the fish on Enzo's scale, owner of Yolaray, and we had a 390 pound weight on the scale. We were looking for a better place to weigh the fish because the hoist was not perfect. We raced over to the main weigh station and used Franco's certified scale where it weighed 440 once and 411 the next time we hoisted the fish.
We had calls into the IGFA representative, but he was having dinner and said it would be some time before he came with his scale. We waited and waited and finally were able to use his scale. The fish ended up 382 on his scale with one weighing. We asked to zero the scale and re-hoist the fish to make sure, but he would not do it, so we were stuck with the 382.
The fish was 83 inches long x 63 inches in girth. I have used a few different formulas that come out to 411 pounds. The fish is being issued to the IGFA for the record for 130 pound test. IGFA or not we all know in Mexico and in my heart that it is a world record!
Earlier, I fished with Danny and Scott Osuna for 4 days and caught a 400 pound blue marlin, and 7 yellowfin tuna ranging from 80 to 260 pounds. My dad fished two of the days with me and he caught a 230-pound yellowfin and lost on other big one at the boat that chewed the 130 pound fluorocarbon leader. The weather was rough the first few days so I had to reschedule a few of my trips, but it all worked out.
--Todd Fraser, Bayside Marine, Santa Cruz, Calif.
(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.