BAJA 2003

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Rene's 293 pound Yellowfin Tuna, a local record 001
The following is Diane's account of their historic catch:
Hi Everybody,
Thanks so much for the congratulations on the BIG TUNA! We have had so many people ask about how, where and when we caught it, I thought I would send it to you all. The story and pictures will be published tomorrow on
Rene and I were fishing in the last East Cape Anglers billfish tournament of the season. It was one of the roughest days fishing we have ever had out here. We hooked up a small tuna working our way up to Punta Pescadero. We were in a school of porpoise and saw tuna breaking the surface. After traveling a few more miles, we were approximately 6 miles off Punta Pescadero or 12.5 miles from our mooring. Suddenly something hit our green/white Zuker lure 5.5 popped off, Rene played with it and then it hit big time, peeling line as fast as it could. I had a heck of a time getting lines in fast and getting the boat moving. Once he slowed down we were able to gain some line back and the fish actually came up to the surface. All I could see was a large black bloob slicing thru the water. It then headed down without stopping. We tried everything running the boat in different directions, alongside, forward, backward, everything, he wouldn't budge. All this in terribly rough seas. About the time he has us just about spooled, we were able to stop him, but now what? There was no line left, the rod looked like it would snap in half and you could play the line like a cello. Rene put the rod into the pole holder on deck and it proceeded to snap like a toothpick. Rene held on as I put on a belt and harness to relieve him. That lasted about 3 minutes, there was no way I could stand and hold that rod in the belt. I felt it could easily pull me over. Rene put it back in the pole holder, held on and proceeded to manually pull line in with one hand while giving a half crank with the other. I got on my hands and knees and gave it the old "ice cream crank" both hands. Till it just wouldn't wind anymore. All this took 2 hrs and 14 mins. When it broke the surface (I didn't tell you, that we did not know what it was, but we suspected a large tuna.) I handed Rene a gaff , put the pole in the holder and came around with the other gaff. There was a extremely large dead tuna. Rene immediately got a rope thru his mouth and gill and then decided we had better call for help from another boat. How would we get it into our 17ft. Whaler? I said let's give it one try, we pulled with all we could and darned it that thing didn't slip right into the boat. It is the biggest tuna we both had ever seen, let alone catch! The tournament chairman was keeping everyone aware that we were out there and still fighting some unknown species. When we first saw the fish we called in about 150 lb. yellowfin tuna. Then after seeing it on deck, changed that to 250 or larger. After a quick rest, and a congradulatory beer, Rene suggested we put one line out and head for home. No Way, we are going home, How the heck could I fight a fish with that monster on the back of the boat? I gave Rene the bow seat and hit the throttle full bore for home. The weighmaster for our tournament was waiting for us on the beach just north of our house. We weren't quite sure how we were going to get this thing out of the boat. So the weighmaster swam out to help us. All the weight on the back, plus rough seas started filling the boat with water. We also had a box of squid break open which proceeded to plug all thru hulls. Rene quickly opened two more, while I bailed and Mike our weighmaster drove the boat. After 3 of us tried to move the fish unsuccessfully, Rene decided the best option was to pull the boat. So Overboard I went and up for the truck and trailer. Rene drove the boat onto the trailer, almost turning it over, between the weight of the fish and the heavy seas, then once it got hooked up, the truck pulled it out a bit, getting stuck in the sand. We had to get another truck to pull us out. At this point, there was quite a crowd coming down to view the fish. Four men got aboard and pulled the fish out onto our little boat trailer. We towed it down to the weigh station there at Lisa and Greg's house on the beach. The digital scale weighed it in at 294 lb.s Rene then towed the fish down to Palmas de Cortez to meet up with Dave Manuel from the Smokehouse. We decided the best thing to do with it is smoke it. We were too pooped to clean it! Rene had a great time telling his story to Western Outdoor News who was there to cover another tournament. Rene assured all their participants he WAS NOT in their tournament! We had our tournament dinner last night, and had lots of applause oohs and aahs over the picture and story. But I will tell you, We never want to see another monster like that again. Rene can hardly move and I have so many bruises! I hope you can come to visit us and share some of this delicious smoked tuna!
Rene and Diane