“Fueled by pure adrenaline, heart pumping from a well-matched contest with a champion, Steve Branscombe, and every angler on board watching from the top deck, was invested in the outcome of this battle like none other,” wrote Royal Star skipper Tim Ekstrom April 21. “The rugged old bull made no bones of his intentions to brutalize his tormentor employing every trick in the book to liberate himself from the lanyard threatening his freedom. By the look of him (the fish) he was one of those seasoned residents haunting anything edible around Roca Partida for many seasons. As the behemoth switchbacked, rolled, rushed the wheels, and pulled like a demon possessed. There wasn't an individual watching that wasn't invested on multiple levels as the battle neared its conclusion.
“On its side now, shining iridescent gold, blue, yellow, and silver, the tuna’s mammoth proportions began to take shape as the depth diminished and mingled colors took form as a huge class yellowfin tuna. With no other fish hooked, Captain Brian Sims was standing by for the immediate assist lest the monster throw a curve and mad dash beneath the hull…Three more huge circles to go, two more, one more; every participant, every spectator holding their breath poised on a razor's edge. And then: 'plink,' it was all over. That rotten, miserable son of a *%#*&^* glided away effortlessly, unaffected, absolutely triumphant in every way. He was a warrior who without question earned his title.
“Photo today must feature the valiant vanquished. Steve Branscombe did everything right, had the perfect gear, had a fantastic opportunity, and walked away with an ‘almost.’ At least 260 pounds, the behemoth lost was so close we could almost taste it. Believe me, Steve would have been on cloud nine if he had landed that fish rather than suffer the disappointing outcome. However, to Steve's credit, when he got his wind back, the first thing he said to me was ‘Well, at least now I know where the bar is for this trip.’ Well said, and handled like a true veteran. Tomorrow is a new day full of potential. We will report accordingly.”
One That Didn’t Get Away
The world record yellowfin tuna of 405 pounds, caught by Mike Livingston of Sunland last December aboard the Vagabond with skipper Mike Lackey, has found a home. It’s hanging on the wall of the tackle store at Fisherman’s Landing.
That was just about the only place on the docks that had room for such a large mount. It may be displayed there for many years, judging by the span the last all-tackle record survived. Curt Wiesenhutter’s 388-pounder was caught in April 1977, and remained unbeaten under IGFA rules until Livingston brought his fish in.
At The Rail Endorsement
"I picked this book up awhile back at Fred Hall Del Mar. Without a doubt it is one of the most exciting fishing books to pick up and read. The photos and stories from all the captains were outstanding. The design by Paul Sweeney is off the charts very well done! I love reading this book and getting motivated for a killer year.
“There are a few good books out there no doubt but this one is one of my favorites so far. No, I am not affiliated with this book, wish I was, though."
Aaron of La Habra (by email, after Bloody Decks posting, 4-21-11)