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FISHING / Dan Stanton : Big Tuna Hooked Too Late for Big Prize

August 10, 1989|Dan Stanton

Hooked on game-fishing contests, Alex Gonzalez of San Pedro has been entering tuna and marlin tournaments for three years in Kona, Hawaii.

Gonzalez, 23, just returned from one week at Kona in a marlin and tuna two-division event.

The first tournament was for yellowfin tuna with awards worth $40,000. Gonzalez boarded the charter boat Adobe using 80-pound test line and was trolling for two hours before a fish was found. He hooked up with a big tuna that peeled his heavy line.

It was a standoff. He said the fish wouldn't budge. It would take reeled-in line, then take some back. After four more hours, still in the fight, the fish tired. Everything was working fine and as Gonzalez brought it in he had a good look at the tuna, as did other boats observing Gonzalez's battle. Then, 30 feet from the boat, the fish broke off.

It may have been a record, with an estimated weight of 1,000 pounds.

The next morning, after the tournament and two days before the marlin contest, Gonzalez went out one mile from the harbor and on a first cast hooked a tuna. As luck would have it, he said, this 220-pounder would have been worth $40,000 if landed the day before. Nobody had caught a fish in the tuna tourney.

In the marlin tournament he landed a 222-pound blue marlin. But he was shut out as the three winning catches weighed in at 682, 662 and 591.

Gonzalez said he has had tough breaks in previous tournaments. Early this year in the Kona Gold Tournament his timing was again a day off: He landed a 595-pound, 5-ounce blue marlin the day before the tournament.

Gonzalez is preparing to return to Kona for another marlin tourney in October in which he finally hopes to land a trophy fish.

"I'm in the sport of big-game fishing challenges," he said. "Nothing excites me more than having a big fish at the end of my line."

Though he hasn't had a prize winner, Gonzalez's fishing trips this year have totaled nine marlin and one tuna.

Marlin fishing close to home has broken wide open as boats have stormed the waters from Catalina Island to the 14-mile bank.

Fishing Monday, the private boat Brandy Wine followed several jumping marlin. Dale Rudzik of Long Beach, using 30-pound test line, leaned back in his marlin chair and jig-hooked a jumper. After 32 minutes it was brought aboard.

Taken to Avalon to be officially weighed, the marlin went 142 1/2 pounds.

More than 30 fish have been weighed in since the marlin run started last week.

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