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Diminutive female angler lands supercow

January 7, 2011 |  2:18 pm

Liz Franzino is all smiles as she stands next to the 315-pound yellowfin tuna she caught. The first bite Hemet resident Liz Franzino got on her first long-range fishing trip targeting cow tuna proved to be something special.

The diminutive Franzino (she’s 4-foot-11) found herself waltzing all the way around the decks of the 92-foot sportfishing vessel Royal Star, out of Fisherman's Landing, over a dozen times as her tuna came up in a slow spiral.

The process took 2½ hours, said Franzino, an eighth-grade science teacher at March Middle School in Moreno Valley, who was on a 12-day angling excursion.

"I used the harness and the rail and everything the boat had to offer," Franzino told dock reporter Bill Roecker. "In the end he came up on the bow. At my height, I couldn’t see the fish until they brought it down the rail and through the gate."

Royal Star skipper Randy Toussiant weighed the fish on the deck at 315 pounds, putting Liz in another diminutive group -- she is one of only four women fishing San Diego's long-range fleet who have landed yellowfin tuna over 300 pounds (the largest was a 353.7-pounder caught by Judith Montague in 2008).

"I want to express my gratitude to the crew and the other anglers for their patience and their encouragement and for giving me passage so many times," Franzino continued. "I’m just a normal person, and a lucky fisherman," she said, summing up her experience.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Liz Franzino is all smiles as she stands next to the 315-pound yellowfin tuna she caught. Credit: Bill Roecker / Fishingvideos.com

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