With all the 400-plus-pound yellowfin tuna in the news these days, a mere 114 ½-pounder doesn’t rank as spectacular in size. But of course everything is relative.
If you’ve paddled out to deep blue depths in a 13 ½-foot piece of plastic, and from that platform hooked and — for more than three hours — fought that 114 ½-pounder, with a big tiger shark hot on its caudal fin, that makes the catch seem a bit more spectacular.
Still, from the recent Kona Fishing Chronicles report by Jim Rizzuto, it sounds like that’s all in a day’s fishing for Robert Wong Yuen. The Kona resident takes advantage of the calm waters and steep dropoffs off the Big Island’s protected shores to fish from his Ocean Kayak for tuna (ahi), wahoo, mahi and billfish.
Typically, as on the day last week when he finally pulled the big yellowfin into his kayak, he’s all by his lonesome — no boats in sight.
I’ve been there and done that (not off Kona, but off Cabo) and can appreciate the unique sensation that brings. There’s really nothing else quite like it in fishing.
Rizzuto says when the angler had gotten the tuna almost to the kayak, the big tiger appeared and spurred the ahi to head back into the depths again.
Remarkably, Yuen managed some time later to swing the (whole) tuna onto his kayak. By then, the angler faced a paddle of nearly four miles back to his launch point — with a capacity-loaded kayak, and the thought of a frustrated tiger shark somewhere around.
But Yuen and his buddies do this kind of thing regularly. Earlier this year they released a blue marlin estimated at nearly 500 pounds.
You can see out some of the exploits they’ve captured on their videos here.