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Another Huge Yellowfin Tuna
by Mike Mazur
big-yellowfin-tuna-blog
Courtesy Danny Osuna

This is turning into the year of the giant yellowfin – and, apparently, they fancy the waters off Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Only a couple months after Ron Tegland took an estimated 432-pounder aboard his 65-foot Monterey, Tenacious, Capt. Russell Oneil has weighed in another giant yellowfin, a 427.9-pounder, aboard the Journeyman.

The fish, caught by the boat’s owner Robert Pedigo, was taken on a Shimano Tiagra 50W II loaded with 130-pound Jerry Brown braid on a double-trouble rig with two caballitos fished under a kite.

Details were sparse early on after the weekend encounter, but Facebook quickly exploded with chatter. Sport Fishing contributor and fellow PV monster-tuna captain Josh Temple shared information from Journeyman crewmember Danny Osuna’s page that the fish was caught during a 9-day trip out of PV, and that the trip also included three other yellowfin over 300 pounds and two additional fish in the high-200s.

No doubt, it was an incredible trip, and Oneil told Sport Fishing later in an e-mail that the “experience simply does not happen unless you have the right guys on the boat.” Tipping his hat to captains Harry Okuda III and Osuna, who diligently worked the pit, Oneil said it “is truly is a team effort and a common passion which is shared by all of us.”

Puerto Vallarta has become a mecca for huge yellowfin in recent years, as Sport Fishing reported in the October 2005 issue.

However, Tegland’s fish — caught in late January 2011 — was not submitted as an official IGFA record, as it apparently did not meet all IGFA’s requirements.

While the jury is still out, it sounds as if this latest beast may not, either, as 130-pound braid almost always overtests that maximum-allowed line strength for nearly all brands. Online reports also suggested that multiple individuals may have touched the rod during the battle, thereby invalidating the catch by IGFA standards.

Nevertheless, the quantity of huge yellowfin in the region has made Puerto Vallarta the prime target for the next IGFA all-tackle world record.

“There are bigger ones out there, I guarantee it!” says Oneil.

The current all-tackle record for the species is a 405-pound fish, taken off Baja Sur in 2010 by Mike Livingston.