Shogun fishing trip being investigated Seven Department of Fish & Wildlife game wardens checked Shogun catches from 2 1/2-day trip By Ed Zieralski12:15 a.m.March 14, 2014 Ted Dunn and Frank LoPreste's Shogun is being investigated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife after the boat returned from a 2 1/2-day trip to Mexican waters on Monday. The name of the trip was “Baja Freezer Special.” The question is did some of the anglers on the sport boat Shogun take it literally and return to San Diego with over limits of rockfish for the freezer and break Mexican fishing laws. Patrick Foy, Lt. game warden with the California Department of Wildlife, confirmed that the Shogun out of Fisherman’s Landing is under investigation for that 2½-day “Baja Freezer Special” trip that returned at daybreak on March 10. Witnesses say seven state game wardens were at the dock to greet the Shogun’s anglers. All of the fish caught on the trip were taken out and counted by the wardens on the promenade at the top of the dock’s walkway. “The wardens didn’t write any citations, and nothing has been filed with the District Attorney, but there is an ongoing investigation regarding the Shogun,” Lt. Foy said. Ted Dunn, who owns the Shogun with Frank LoPreste, said he thought the investigation was complete after the wardens left. “We had a couple of guys over limit, but that was it,” Dunn said. “It was just a routine check by the wardens, and they found the over-limits. The boat limit was fine. It was over as far as we were concerned, and there’s nothing more to it.” Foy confirmed it’s not over and that the investigation will continue. Sarah Saraspe, who owns Five Star Fish Processing at the foot of Point Loma, said none of her nine customers from the Shogun who used her service to process fish were over the Mexican legal limit for rockfish on the trip. Another fish processor, Fisherman’s Processing, was at the dock. It’s owned by LoPreste, Tim Ekstrom, Randy Toussaint and Sean Sebring. LoPreste didn’t return a phone call. Ken Franke, president of the Sportfishing Association of California, said inspections of California sport boats by game wardens have become more and more common and regular in recent months. He said SAC recently held meetings with the Department of Fish and Wildlife game wardens at Oxnard, Marina del Rey and Newport Beach to discuss how the boat inspections and angler checks by game wardens can be done without inconveniencing anglers before or after trips. “When they encounter violations they’re focusing more on educating the crews to all the regulations,” Franke said. Ironically, the DFW’s investigation of the Shogun is being done at a time when the entire sportfishing fleet is drawing praise from the environmental and scientific communities and from regulatory agencies like the Pacific Fisheries Management Council for its ongoing effort to release rockfish alive. Franke said the fleet has been using a descending device tool that allows anglers to release rockfish down to the depths without killing them. He said captains and crews have been working with the World Wildlife Fund on the project. The hope is to get more ocean water re-opened to fishing (back to 60 fathoms) by proving that fish like cow cod and rockfish can be released alive. Cod and rockfish brought up from the depths often have distended air bladders and need special care before being weighted down or descended slowly to proper depths to survive the ordeal. SAC and the World Wildlife Fund have put together over $40,000 to buy the descending device tools and deliver them to California sport boats, Franke said. Problem is, all that good work is for naught if anglers aren’t abiding by fishing regulations in the U.S. and Mexico, or if sport limits are abused.