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Family takes on tough, record-sized yellowfin tuna

By Staff | Aug 16, 2012

From left, Capt. Fuzzy Alboro, Jay, David, Brandi, Capt. Kenny Bauchman, Brad and Trenton with their 200-pound Allison yellowfin tuna. Photo by Donnell Tate.

LAHAINA – The Die Hard landed a record-sized Allison yellowfin tuna – weighing in at 200 pounds – by the Johnson family. Dad Jay, mom Brandi and sons David, Brad and Trenton were fishing with Captains Fuzzy Alboro and Kenny Bauchman.

They were fishing the JJ-Buoy located in 900 fathoms of water nine miles off the south side of Kahoolawe. Fuzzy was “walking” an akule bait around the buoy, raising the ahi. Once they got the bite, the ahi didn’t realize it was even hooked up. It stayed up on the surface like it was still looking for food.

They fought the fish on a stand-up, 50-class reel for about ten minutes, with it not really pulling much of the 100-test line as it just swam around.

As Fuzzy reversed after it, they lost power in one engine. With the wind and six- to eight-foot swells, the boat started drifting backward over the line. Kenny grabbed the rod and walked it up the port side, around the bow of the boat and back to the starboard side where the ahi was.

When Kenny handed the rod back to the angler, the ahi must have felt the additional pressure on the line and took off. It ripped out the line in a hurry as it headed down 150-200 yards.

“I think it knows it’s hooked up now,” said Fuzzy.

Fuzzy quickly started reversing the boat after the ahi up-swell, getting it slowed down taking line. The anglers were gaining some line until it began to circle on them, pulling 20-30 yards on each turn. At that point, it was a game of give-and-take as Fuzzy continued to chase after the ahi down-swell.

After going through the entire group, transferring the rod from one belly gimble to the next, they just weren’t gaining much line. They got Trenton back in the stand-up harness and had him lean back on the chair seat. Kenny stood at the stern in front of Trenton and began to cautiously “finger” the line up for the next half-hour. As Fuzzy reversed the boat on the ahi, the swells were smacking Kenny full face, soaking him in a wall of water and causing him to lose sight of the fish.

As the ahi circled around near the surface, it was close enough that Fuzzy was able to quickly back the boat up to it. Kenny yelled out, “I got color!” Fuzzy put the boat into neutral, allowing the ahi to circle around near the back of the transom.

It was just out of gaff range as it made another circle down about 20 yards. Each time the ahi came back toward the surface, Fuzzy reversed the boat after it. Then, on the last circle, the ahi swam up to the surface. Not having a leader on the 100-test line made things real interesting.

Fuzzy backed on the fish really hard, finally getting the boat close enough that Kenny could take a shot with the tuna gaff. He hit the ahi solidly in the head, securing their fish and ending the hour-and-20-minute tug of war.

They tried to pull the ahi in the boat, but realized that it wasn’t a 120-pounder. They had to time the lift with the swell, finally hauling it over the rail. The sight of the “toad” with its long yellowfin sickles raised a loud cheer from the group.

It was a real challenging fight, mentioned Fuzzy, with a lot of sore backs but happy anglers. Their ahi is the second largest of the year-to-date by just two pounds.

It is the 13th largest ahi for a Lahaina Harbor charter boat since 1980 and the 17th largest for Lahaina Harbor since 1977.