OnoMental lands 120.2-pound ‘Allison’ Yellowfin tuna
LAHAINA – The “Weekend Warrior” OnoMental took over top spot in the Ahi Standings with a 120.2-pound “Allison” Yellowfin tuna by 15-year-old Tony Nunez. Tony was with his mom, Stephanie Nunez, and Capt. Chrissy Lovitt.
Chrissy borrowed a friend’s 17-foot Boston Whaler and they went looking for ono. They had all chrome jets in the pattern as they worked the Kahoolawe Lighthouse on the southwest corner and then back around the corner past Smuggler’s Cove.
The weather got too rough for the area, so Chrissy headed across the Kealaikahiki Channel toward the Palaoa Point Lighthouse on the southwest corner of Lanai. They worked the K-Buoy five miles offshore and then in to the light, making the ono run north down to the slides. With no bites all day, they decided to head in and run down the south shore of Lanai on their way back to Maui.
They were in 16 fathoms of water, 96 feet deep off the golf course, when they had a blind strike on the starboard side rigger. At first, they thought they had hooked a big ono. The fish ran really hard and steady off to the side. It almost spooled the 50-class reel and 60-pound test line.
The fish tried to go deep but it was in too shallow water. Just as Chrissy was about to reverse the boat after the fish, Tony started to gain line. He was sitting on the starboard railing, with the rod in the mid-boat rod holder.
They were straight up and down on the ahi as Tony “Portuguese-pulled” the line onto the reel the entire 20-minute tug of war. He didn’t want to push the drag too high on the 60-pound test line. He already had it past the strike button.
Chrissy had to keep circling around the line to keep the ahi from getting up underneath the boat and chaffing the line. They kept drifting in toward the shore, getting shallower and shallower. Chrissy had to try to maneuver the boat into deeper water while fighting the fish.
Tony finally hauled his ahi to leader. He cranked it to swivel and grabbed the leader. The fish was pretty calm as it came up off the starboard side.
The ahi went underneath the boat, with Tony hanging on to the leader as he pulled it back out. Chrissy gaffed the ahi in the eye, with it making a head shake in response. As the fish rolled over, the gaff came out. It drifted out passed the end of the boat right next to the outboards.
Tony quickly reached out behind the outboards with another stick gaff, sticking the ahi enough to pull it back to the boat. Chrissy was next with a follow-up gaff to secure their catch. When they finally got the ahi into the boat, they were in only 70 feet of water.
This is Chrissy’s first ahi. They were lucky to have Tony aboard. He is the junior deckman aboard the charter boat Action and has assisted on many big tuna in his young fishing career.