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OUTDOOR NOTES : Anglers Get a Load of Some Big Tuna

January 22, 1992|PETE THOMAS

Imagine being on a long-range fishing trip and finding conditions so good, you're throwing back fish weighing less than 150 pounds. Or try to picture a petite woman on her first real fishing trip battling powerful tuna twice her size, yet outfishing seasoned veterans of this specialized sport.

Such was the scenario aboard the Royal Polaris, which returned from Mexico's Revillagigedo Islands Friday with the biggest load of big tuna in many years.

"This is probably the best trip that I can remember in the last 10 years," said Frank LoPreste, owner of the vessel and one of the pioneers of long-range fishing.

Indeed. Four of the yellowfin tuna hauled onto the deck topped 300 pounds, the biggest a 361-pounder by Roger Hautry of San Diego. Thirteen of the tuna weighed more than 200 pounds. The all-tackle world record, taken from the same area in 1977, weighed 388 pounds 12 ounces.

FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Wednesday February 5, 1992 Home Edition Sports Part C Page 6 Column 5 Sports Desk 1 inches; 21 words Type of Material: Correction
The cost of an annual saltwater fishing license, incorrectly listed here two weeks ago, is $18.10. The fee is $27.85 to fish all waters of the state.

There were so many huge fish in the tropical waters that the passengers agreed to release anything under 150 pounds. And they released 246 fish, almost as many as they had caught.

As for Sue LaFone, who had never fished with a conventional reel and whose biggest fish before the trip was a small dorado, she wasted little time gaining the respect of the crew and passengers.

The 35-year-old Walnut resident, who agreed to accompany her boyfriend, John Pandeles, outfished him and several others, hanging yellowfin weighing 218, 182, 160, 145 and 112 pounds.

"She can't weigh 115 pounds soaking wet," LoPreste said. "But she landed every one of those fish by herself, with no assistance."

If you were fishing without a license between San Pedro and Marina del Rey on Monday and didn't get caught, then consider yourself lucky.

Eleven Department of Fish and Game wardens swept the area, boarding party boats and private boats, issuing 50 citations to unlicensed fishermen. The minimum fine is $250. The cost of an ocean license, good through 1992, is $27.85.

The International Game Fish Assn. reported in its latest newsletter a detailed account of a Mexican vessel seized last year by the Guatemalan Coast Guard for illegally fishing in Guatemalan waters--after it had taken several hundred tons of tuna and killed more than 3,000 dolphins.

Mexico has been under political fire for refusing to make its nets "dolphin-safe" and therefore has been the subject of sanctions or threats of sanctions by tuna-consuming nations, including the United States.

The ship's captain reportedly tried to bribe the fishermen who spotted them hauling dolphins aboard, but the fishermen refused and called the Guatemalan Coast Guard. The fine levied against the vessel was $50,000. The tuna were put up for auction and bought back by the Maratun Company, which owns the vessel.

Briefly

BAJA FISHING--David Beyel landed a 572-pound blue marlin after a six-hour fight aboard the Huntress. Striped marlin have been providing most of the action, though intermittent rain has been putting a damper on the action. The Gaviota Fleet reported that, as of Friday, boats were averaging 2.7 fish a day--tuna, dorado and wahoo included.

Mazatlan: Sailfish, striped marlin, tuna and dorado are providing anglers with plenty of action, but a two-hour boat ride to the fishing grounds is required. Best catch: a 206-pound 9-ounce blue marlin by Hart Stephens of Long Beach.

HUNTING--California bear hunters took more than 1,400 of the animals in the state's fall season, according to the DFG. Hunters turned in 1,424 tags through Jan. 10. The season ended last Dec. 23 when the number of returned bear tags reached a predetermined season-closing level of 1,250. The hunt would have closed Dec. 29 whether or not the quota had been reached. . . . Deer hunters did slightly better in 1991 than in 1990, harvesting 26,964 of the animals. Archery-only hunters, however, were more successful in 1991, taking 1,262 deer for a 12% increase over the 1990 kill of 1,131.

MISCELLANY--June 6 and Sept. 26 have been designated "Free Fishing Days" by the Dept. of Fish and Game. Anglers can fish these days without a license. . . . The DFG will hold an open house and tour of the Imperial Wildlife Area's Wister Unit on Feb. 1 to show hunters and bird watchers how it manages the 5,000-acre facility, which borders the Salton Sea.

INSTRUCTION--Atlantic feather wing fly-tying class, Saturday at East Fork Fly Fishing Store in Irvine. Instructor is Mark Kirchner. Cost is $50. . . . Introduction to Bass Fishing in Southern California, Tuesdays beginning next Tuesday from 7-10 p.m. at College of the Canyons. Instructors are pros Ron Cervenka and Gary Parker. Cost is $47. Details: (805) 259-7800.

The do's and don'ts of trailer boat fishing in Baja California, including information on roads, insurance, tackle, hot spots and launch ramps, Jan. 30 from 7-10 p.m. Instructors Paul Lepore and Mike Bales. Cost is $10, with proceeds going to United Anglers. Call (714) 891-5055. . . . The Sierra Pacific Flyfishers' eight-week fly-tying class for beginners starts Feb. 5, from 7-9 p.m. at the Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Park Senior Citizens Center. No charge. Details: (818) 785-7306. . . . Shallow water lingcod school Feb. 8 aboard Ventura Sportfishing's Sea Hunt. Instructors are Dan Dunlap and Kit McNear. Details: (818) 762-5873.

SHOWTIME--The Southern California Boat Show, displaying more than 850 new boats, will begin a 10-day run at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Jan. 31.

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