| 427.9 pounder from Lower Banks biggest on rod and reel but not a record
PUERTA VALLARTA -- The big buzz on the internet at Day At The Docks on Sunday was the report of427.9-pound yellowfin caught late last week on the custom 60-foot sportfish yacht Journeyman.
The boat came in Sunday morning from an epic yellowfin trip in which the yacht, formerly the C-Bandit now owned by Robert Pedigo and captained by Russell O'Neil, returned to port at Puerta Vallarta from the "LOWER Lower Banks" with 4 fish over 200, 2 over 300 and that monster 427.9. That fish, if approved by the IGFA, would have crushed the all-tackle record by 22 pounds.
However, the current IGFA record of 405.3 by Mike Livingston, caught while on the long range sportfisher Vagabond a few years ago, remains safe.
The Journeyman owner,Pedigo phoned IGFA representative John Campbellin San Diego and said that someone else had, indeed, touched the rod in the course of the short fight. Campbell said Pedigo was never asked if any rules were broken. He simply volunteered that information to the IGFA and admitted the fish would therefore not be submitted for a record.
In a phone call Sunday afternoon, to Harry Okuda III, a crewman aboard the Journeyman, WON confirmed many of the details, and corrected some others first reported.
Although not a record fish in the coveted IGFA book, it does go down as the biggest known yellowfin tuna ever caught on a rod and reel, and that 427.9 weight is official. The monster tuna was weighed on two IGFA-certified scalesSunday morning when the boat returned from its 8-day fishing trip to the "Lower Lower" banks where many of the long range boats frequent.The run from PV was about 300 miles. It was first thought, or assumed,the trip was out to the Tres Maria Islands90 miles from Puerta Vallarta where some huge tuna have been taken in recent months.But Okuda said no, the fish were caught at the lower, lower banks.
As for other news of the trip, the tuna fishing on that trip was not wide-open due to sharks, but the big-fish results were beyond sensational with so many huge tuna. The monster tuna was not a fluke. There are more down there in this lower bank area. Amazingly, a similarly sized tuna was hooked the day before and was just as big, but was lost after a two-hour fight that went into the twilight hours. The fish came up twice out of gaff range but broke off just under the boat, reported O'Neill, the captain, in a phone call to the Let's Talk Hookup show Sunday morning. The monster fish landed the next day was first reported on the show Saturday morning as the Journeyman made its way back to PV, and before it was weighed at the dock.
Of course, the Day At The Docks one-day celebration on Sunday at the Scott Street landings on San Diego Bay was jammed with anglers and families and abuzz with the report of the catch. Was it a record, or was it not? John Campbell at the IGFA booth at the parking lot show had the answers and Okuda, called on the cell by WON Sunday night, filled in more details.
Okuda's, son of local sportfishing icon Harry Okuda and an IGFA rep, said the group took several pictures of the fish on the boat and at the dock at PV.
O'Neill said the fish was caught on the kite, on a Calstar 6460 rod, a Shimano 50W Tiagra spooled with 130-pound Spectra, some "old" 300-pound Ande leader ("We got tired of being bit off on the 200 fluro," said Okuda) and a 14/0 Eagle Claw hook. The kite rig used for most of the trip was a Double Trouble two-hook rig with caballitos as live bait.
With another fish already hooked and being fought on the Journeyman, Pedigo was using a Taniguchi standup harness and was on the kite outfit. He pulled the bait from a smaller tuna, and soon after dropped it to the bigger fish. The fight, unlike the one day before, was short, just a half hour. But the fight up the rail of the anchored 60 footer nullified the fish as a record. As the fish pulled line and ran toward the bow and the anchor line, veteran Puerta Vallarta Capt. Danny Osuna, who was aboard as a guest with several others on a "fun" trip, took the unclipped rod to the bow to keep it from winding around the anchor line.
Aboard the boat on a fun trip over eight days was Pedigo, Capt. Russell O'Neil, Harry Okuda III, Capt. Danny Osuna, one of the top big game charter captains in Puerta Vallarta and a friend of Pedigo's, Danny's father John Osuna, and John's friend Bill who was visiting from New York.
“It’s not a record, but it’s a big fish,” said Okuda. Indeed, the biggest ever recorded on rod and reel.
THE CREW and owner pose with the 427.9-pound yellowfin aboard the 60-foot Journeyman when it was weighed in. Holding the IGFA scale is Capt.Russell O’Neil.