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Teenage girl, a rarity aboard fishing boats, lands giant yellowfin tuna

January 7, 2009 |  9:30 am

Sarah Reader and her father, Mike, pose next to a 234-pound yellowfin she caught off southern Baja California.

To others aboard the Red Rooster III, Sarah Reader must have seemed like a fish out of water --at first.

That's because women are a rarity and girls are essentially nonexistent aboard San Diego long-range fishing boats, which spend up to 18 days at sea.

But Sarah, 17, can fish. On her first long-range trip to waters off southern Baja California, she wrestled from the depths a yellowfin tuna weighing 234 pounds. It was one of the largest hauled aboard the vessel.

In fact, the senior at South Torrance High was more seasoned than many believed when she and Mike Reader, her father, stepped aboard. Her father got her hooked on fishing when she was 9.

Sarah made several overnight excursions before trying the two- and three-day trips, during which you become totally immersed in fishing and often sleep with scales in your hair.

Aboard the Red Rooster III, which has luxury staterooms, she was somewhat nervous, but that vanished when she hooked up and was slammed against the rail. Sarah struggled with the rod and reel and was sent scurrying up and down the deck.

The fight lasted 30 minutes, and it required three deckhands to haul her prize overboard. She beamed, and her father beamed. No doubt, upon her return home, Sarah told her non-fishing friends of her Mexican odyssey and they were unimpressed.

She wishes only they would give fishing a try. Then they'd understand.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Sarah Reader and her father, Mike, pose next to a 234-pound yellowfin she caught off southern Baja California. Credit: Red Rooster III

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