“This fishing was unpredictable,” said skipper Andy Cates after docking the Red Rooster III after the last long trip of the 2005-2006 big tuna season. He took his anglers to the Hurricane Bank on a 15-day excursion.
“Each day was different,” said Cates. “The best days were on fish that showed scattered. About 80% were caught on puffers, and the rest on iron. The sardines only attracted undesirables; small tuna and other pesty little fish.
“The sharks finally backed off and only bothered us a bit in the mornings. We had good fishing on wahoo mostly on bait.”
On May 30, Cates wrote, “Yesterday ended with a nice day, 18 tuna and 17 wahoo. Three tuna were over 200 pounds. The biggest fish, for the fourth day in a row, was Hans Ruekert’s; a 272-pounder caught on a puffer. The other two cows were a 224 and a 233. So far this morning we have a 221 caught by Bob Michener and Bernie Arum caught a 263-pounder in the skiff; we now have 8 tuna.”
This big wahoo was one of many caught aboard Red Rooster III.
The trip turned out fine in the end, with 19 cows or tuna over 200 pounds. That brought the season’s total to 2343, including 12 tuna over 300 pounds. The bulk of the unprecedented catch was made last fall on an incredible, long-lasting run of cow tuna off the coast of southern Baja. The season was the best ever by far.
Bernie Arum of Huntington Beach won first place with his first big tuna since his last long range trip, in 1989. His Hurricane Bank tuna weighed 269.3 pounds, and bit on a puffer fish baited on a 9/0 Mustad 7691 hook, tied to 130-pound blue Izorline and 130-pound Izorline Spectra backing on a Penn 50 SW reel and a 760H Calstar rod. Bernie also had a 258-pounder.
Bernie Arum of Huntington Beach is at left in this jackpot shot of the REd Rooster's winners.
“He was a tough one,” remarked Arum, who is a cousin to the boxing promoter Bob Arum. “He took me around the boat twice and he almost spooled me twice.”
It wasn’t his biggest tuna, however. Back in the day, Arum had a 300-pounder.
Rooster regular rider Hans Reuckert of Granada Hills won second place with a 264.5-pounder. He also had a 248, a 245 and a 211-pounder. Accurate pro-staffer Leo Rheisen noted that Hans caught a cow about f5:30 in the morning every day for four days.
Hans’ big tuna came on a puffer on a 9/0 7691 hook, 130-pound Izorline and 130-pound Line One Spectra backing on an Accurate 50 W reel and a Calstar 755 XXH rod, after it fought for an hour.
Skipper Cates and Hans Reuckert with the second-place yellowfin tuna.
Richard Patrick of Pico Rivera only needed a half-hour to finish off his 255-pound yellowfin tuna, which won third place. He also fished a puffer on a 9/0 Mustad 7691 hook, with 130-pound Izorline, 130-pound Big Game Spectra on an Accurate 8/0 reel and a Calstar 755 XXH rod.
Richard Patrick poses with Bernie Arum and their brace of huge cows.
Bob Michener of Oxnard got a 235.5 and a 213-pounder. He said he fished a jig, a BCL iron in white. He used 130-ppound Izorline and 130-pound Izorline Spectra backing on an Accurate 50 W reel and a Seeker 6463 XXH rod.
Alec Jackson of Oceanside got a 231.7-pounder. He said it came on a puffer pinned on a 9/0 Mustad 7691 hook, tied to 130-pound Izorline and 130-pound Izorline Spectra backing. He fished with a Penn 50 SW reel and a Calstar 7465 H rod, and fought the beast for 45 minutes.
Joe Arimitsu of Simi Valley used flying fish on the balloon to land a 225-pounder and a 217-pound tuna. He fished with a 9/0 Mustad 7691 hook, 130-pound Momoi fluorocarbon leader and 130-pound Line One Spectra backing on a Tiagra 50 reel and a Calstar 755 XXH rod.
It took 45 minutes,” said Joe. “I had to go to the skiff and a backup rod.”
“Yeah, you only had a half a reel of line left,” interjected skipper Cates, laughing.
Other cows were caught by Chris Kumai, who got a 213 and a 217-pounder; Bob Tyler got a 216 and a 249-pounder; and an anonymous angler who took a 232 and a 247-pound yellowfin tuna at the Hurricane Bank.
The Rooster’s last trip was a fitting end to the best big tuna season ever. Red Rooster III will now begin her summer season, running shorter trips for tuna and yellowtail, until the big tuna show off southern Baja again next fall.
Bluefin Biting Below
Polaris Supreme returned to Fisherman’s landing June 4 after her first three-day trip of the new season, with 24 anglers aboard. Yellowtail were plentiful and many were released. Some bluefin tuna of up to nearly 33 pounds were also caught. Owner-skipper Tommy Rothery reported pleasant sea conditions and nice weather.
“We were way down there,below where everybody else is fishing,” said Tommy. “It was a little rolly at mid-day. I don’t know why.”
Rick Yokley of San Diego won first place for a 32.4-pound bluefin.
They're Biting Again: Polaris Supreme winners pose with the bluefin tuna.
“He took me around the boat three times,” commented Rick. He said he fished a sardine on a 2/0 ringed Super Mutu hook, with 30-pound fluorocarbon leader and 65-pound Spectra backing on an Avet MXL 6/4 reel.
John Brown of El Cajon was second, for a 32.2-pound bluefin, and Paul Cheak of Benecia won third place for a 31.4-pound bluefin tuna.