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Giant tuna on Red Rooster III no record, but still worth crowing about

June 14, 2009 |  5:27 pm

Mike Ashford stands alongside a yellowfin tuna that weighed 362.1 pounds, well short of on-board estimates. It was not a 400-pounder, as some aboard the Red Rooster III had predicted. Nor did the enormous yellowfin tuna caught by Mike Ashford come close to eclipsing the current all-tackle world record: a 388-pound 12-ounce specimen caught at Mexico's Revillagigedo Islands in 1977.

Having been led to believe that prestigious angling record might finally fall, a large crowd and crews from two TV news stations met the Red Rooster III on Sunday morning when it returned to San Diego's H&M Landing from a 15-day excursion into Mexican waters.

The display of large tuna was impressive, but Ashford's whopper fell about 20 pounds short of Capt. Andy Cates' on-board estimate and weighed in at only 362.1 pounds.

"I'm blown away," said Ashford, who is from Coarse Gold, Calif. "I didn't know how big it was until they brought it aboard through the gate. It was [caught on] the last bait of the trip, and I was first in the water. He fought for an hour and 15 minutes."

Paul Oster of Mammoth Lakes had the second-largest tuna on the voyage, a 304.8-pounder that inhaled a mackerel fished under a kite. Lynn Freed of Winnetka caught a 295.3-pound yellowfin on a flying fish deployed under a kite.

Combined, that's almost 1,000 pounds of tuna.

 -- Pete Thomas

Photo: Mike Ashford stands alongside a yellowfin tuna that weighed 362.1 pounds, well short of on-board estimates. Credit: Fishingvideos.com.

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