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Hurricane Bank yields monstrous tuna for intrepid anglers

October 20, 2008 |  3:03 pm

Yellowfin tuna

It takes four days just to reach Hurricane Bank, which is renown for its cow-size tuna but also notorious for its unpredictable nature and wind-blown seas (hence the name).

And every year about this time, a long-range sportfishing charter takes the gamble and becomes first to make the trek to the seamount, located 980 miles southwest of San Diego.

Sometimes the fish don't bite and unrelenting winds send the vessel scurrying for the Baja California coastline.

But the gamble paid off for the Rusty Hook charter aboard the Qualifier 105, which runs from Point Loma Sportfishing.

Capt. Joe Crisci, in a satellite phone interview this afternoon with 976-TUNA, said the vessel was "plugged" with yellowfin tuna averaging more than 150 pounds apiece. At least 25 weighed 200 or more pounds. The passengers also had boated more than 120 wahoo in three days spent at the bank.

The boat  is currently at the Ridge off southern Baja and will pull into port a few days early from its planned 15-day excursion on Friday at about 6 a.m.

Meanwhile, the Intrepid, which also hails from Point Loma Sportfishing, has ventured to Hurricane Bank and its passengers today picked up where the Qualifier's left off.

This marks an outstanding beginning to a long-range season that will last well into next spring. But don't expect the Bank to yield such hefty gains on every outing.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Yellowfin tuna exceeding 200 pounds line the rail of the Excel in this file photo from 2003. Credit: Don Tormey/Los Angeles Times