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January 05, 2009

West Coast: When the cows come home

San Diego long ranger Royal Polaris returns from late December trip to Hurricane Bank with 68 yellowfin tuna over 200 pounds

Baja's Hurricane Bank has been a hotbed of long-range action for giant yellowfin tuna for many years, but a trip aboard the Royal Polaris that recently pulled into Fisherman's Landing in San Diego was one for the record books, reported Bill Roecker of FishingVideos.com and the San Diego Sportfishing Council.

Even Capt. Roy Rose didn't know for sure how many "cow" tuna (yellowfin of 200+ pounds) his passengers had landed, because there were numerous large fish in the holds yet to be weighed.  When all the fish were pulled from the refrigerated seawater hold and the weighing and counting was done, anglers aboard this 16-day trip accounted for 68 cows - making it the third best big-fish total in the illustrious history of San Diego's long-range fleet.

Jackpot for the trip went to Stan Bonillas of Newport Beach for a tuna that tipped the scales at 284 pounds.  Second place went to Don Burnside of San Diego for his 249-pound yellowfin.  Neal Campbell of Fallbrook took third place jackpot money for his 244 pounder.  Campbell was also the top "cattle rustler" of this memorable trip, personally boating eight cows averaging more than 218 pounds.   According to Roecker, who follows the long-range fleet very closely, this could be the best single trip/single angler tally for nearly two decades.  The majority of the fish were caught using live sardines or mackerel fished on heavy stand-up gear.