In tiny boat, Bay Area man catches two giant tuna
Mike Mahoney of San Leandro had one of the Pacific Coast’s most amazing days of fishing of the year last week. From a small, wood, open boat called a panga, he landed two giant yellowfin tuna that weighed 249 and 235 pounds.
This is unheard of. Giant tuna are almost always landed on large charter boats with multiple deckhands.
Mahoney and fishing partner Craig Stone, the owner of Emeryville Sportfishing Center, hired “Captain Chami” and his 26-foot panga at San Jose Del Cabo near the southern tip of Baja. They ventured five miles offshore, looking for tuna. A panga resembles a large, flat-bottomed canoe with a motor.
When the fish was ready to be landed, the dilemma was mind-bending.
“How are we gonna get this in the boat,” Stone said. “That’s what I was thinking.”
It took all three of them, with two gaffs, to hoist the giant tuna over the gunwale and aboard the panga.
Mahoney was too worn out to say much of anything, Stone said with a laugh.
The fish weighed 249 pounds.
Now get this: Ten minutes later, Mahoney tossed another bait in the water, and hooked yet another one. This one took an hour and 15 minutes and was nearly as big: 235 pounds.
“This is completely amazing, that this happened,” Stone said. “I’ve been going to Baja for nearly 30 years and I’never seen or heard anything like it. Not on a panga.”
Three days later, Mahoney caught yet another giant tuna, this one 217 pounds.
And get this: Three years ago, Mahoney landed a life-best 310-pounder, also from a small open wood boat,
The tuna were taken to the cleaning station, filleted, and passed out to hotel staff, the captain — with 170 pounds of meat still left over for Mahoney and Stone to bring home.
“Good thing I love to eat tuna,” Mahoney said. …”