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.