The Yacht Sales Company
Galati Yacht Sales
Quantum Sails
South Texas Yacht Service
Sea Lake Yachts
Blackburn Marine
Marina Del Sol
Seabrook Marina
Laguna Harbor
Sundance Grill

Gulf Bluefin Tuna: From Panama to the Gulf with Patron

gulf bluefin tuna patron Gulf Bluefin Tuna: From Panama to the Gulf with Patron

Patron’s owner Tom Shumate brought in this massive 750 pound bluefin tuna during the MBGFC’s Memorial Day Tournament. He is pictured holding the pectoral fin with his crew and Capt. Darrell Weigelt, standing left of the fish.

patron panama canal Gulf Bluefin Tuna: From Panama to the Gulf with Patron

Patron makes its way through the Panama Canal.

Captain Darrell Weigelt of the Patron on his voyage from Costa Rica to Orange Beach, Alabama.

What was it like cruising through the Canal?

The entrance into the Panama Canal begins on the Pacific Ocean side in Panama City at Balboa and ends on the Atlantic side in Cristobal. The Canal is 50 miles long from deep water in the Pacific to deep water in the Atlantic. The original elevation was 312 feet above sea level where it crosses the Continent in the rouge mountain range.

Tell us about the vessel you took through the Canal.

Patron is a custom built 65’ Ebony sportfishing boat designed by Australian designer Frank Woodnutt, and was built in Indonesia in 2005.

How long does it take to go through the Canal?

The time it takes varies with the speed of vessels making transit. Our passage through Canal started at 8:00 a.m. and ended at 4:00 p.m. That is considered a fast passage. It requires about 10 hours for an average ship to transit the Canal. Minimum speed to transit is four knots. Sailboats may not transit under sail. All vessels must transit with motor propulsion. Normally for sailboats or slow vessels the transit will take 2 days. These vessels are allowed to anchor for the night in Gamboa or Gatun Lake Anchorage.

Is there a fee required?

Yes, our fee was $5,000 including agent fees. The largest ship we saw during transit was a 1,000 foot car carrier. Fees on that ship were over $250,000

When did the new locks open and how will this impact the Port of Houston?

The new canal locks were opened last year and are used only by the largest ships. The increased volume of ship traffic is a good thing for the port of Houston because of the large amount of ships that transit and continue on to Port of Houston.

Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Season Extended

gulf red snapper Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Season Extended

This June, the United States Department of Commerce announced a reopening of the red snapper season in Federal waters for recreational anglers. The decision came mid month and was welcome news for many anglers. The original, dismal 2017 season opened June 1 and closed June 3.

The extended federal season will open each weekend, Friday to Sunday, and close again the next day on Monday. These weekend openings will continue until Monday, September 4. Fishing also will be allowed on Monday and Tuesday, July 3-4 and Monday, September 4. The minimum length is still 16 inches and two fish per person may be retained per day.

However, Texas state water snapper will be off limits Monday through Thursday during the extended federal season, with the exception of holidays. Texas might also gain a fall season but there has been no confirmation on this matter yet.

There is still much work to be done, but this is a victory for advocacy groups, Gulf residents and the economies of many coastal communities.

See this PDF for the full recreational regulations for red snapper and all other species.

2017 Lone Star Shootout

blue marlin 2017 Lone Star Shootout

Slight Edge took first place blue marlin at the 2016 Lone Star Shootout.

Now in its 13th year, The Lone Star Shootout is an Invitational Billfish tournament known for its great format, abundant, spirited festivities, large payouts to participants and, most importantly, for its contributions to numerous charitable causes. The Lone Star Shootout provides the opportunity to compete against some of the Gulf Coast’s most talented billfish teams in a format and location that is second to none!

With the central Texas coast location in Port O’Connor, the tournament draws the top billfish tournament teams from South Texas to Florida to compete in the unique format that emphasizes billfish release, women and junior participation and a relaxed family friendly atmosphere.

Often coined “the highlight of the event” (outside of catching the winning fish), the Shootout Champion’s Party is the culmination of nearly a week of preparations, long hours, hard fishing and FUN! Praised for the generous open bar, tasty catered food, live musical entertainment and “Saloon” atmosphere, this night is the true apex of the event. The revealing of the winners and the passing on of The Perpetual Champion’s Trophy also occurs on Saturday night. This magnificent trophy is the prized possession of each year’s champion and has become one of the most sought after trophies on the Gulf Coast tournament trail.

Caracol Club has played host to the Tournament for the past 8 years and, along with the great bay city of Port O’Connor, will welcome the Tournament again this year. Known for its tranquility, laid-back fishing village atmosphere and easy access to the premier billfish spots in the gulf, the town of Port O’Connor is alive with action the entire week of The Lone Star Shootout. Numerous sponsors (and quite a few participants) are residents of or business owners in Port O’Connor and the tournament welcomes the community and visitors to come to the weigh in at Caracol Club on Saturday, July 22nd to see the beautiful boats and amazing fish being weighed in.

Last year over 45 boats competed for the title and coveted Perpetual Trophy. Online entry is currently open on the Tournament website (www.thelonestarshootout.com), along with tournament rules, scoring and side pot information, prior year’s results, photos and much more!

Don’t forget to follow all the events and photos from this year’s event on The Lone Star Shootout’s social media channels:

Participants, volunteers and Shootout guests are encouraged to actively participate on the above channels by using the “check in,” tag and share features of social media! We welcome your photos, videos and interaction!

Please find, below, a schedule of events for this year’s Lone Star Shootout. Dates and times are subject to change prior to the start of the event without prior notice. Please check the Shootout website for the most accurate, up to date information.

DATE TIME EVENTS / LOCATION

Sunday, July 16, 2017

  • 3:00 p.m. Boats may arrive. Caracol Yacht Club, Port O’Connor

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Registration and side pot entry at Lone Star Saloon
  • 7:00 p.m. Lone Star Pot Party at Lone Star Saloon. Come enjoy a delicious dinner and open bar. Dinner will be served from 7-9 p.m. Last chance to enter side pots

Thursday, July 20, 2017

  • 2:00 p.m. Mandatory Captain’s Meeting at Lone Star Saloon.
  • 5:00 p.m. Boats may depart Port O’Connor jetties

Friday, July 21, 2017

  • 12:01 a.m. START FISHING!
  • 7:00 p.m. Midnight Weigh station will be open for blue marlin only

Saturday, July 22, 2017

  • 3:00 p.m. Quit Fishing – All lines out of the water
  • 3:00 p.m. Weigh station open
  • 6:00 p.m. Boats must be in the POC jetties to turn in videos or weigh fish
  • 8:00 p.m. Lone Star Shootout Champion’s Party at Lone Star Saloon. Come join us for a fantastic steak dinner, open bar, awards presentation and live music by the Line Up Band!

2017 Billfish Tournaments

cajun canyon 2017 Billfish Tournaments

Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic

May 30 – June 5

Venice, LA

ComeFishLA.com

mgcbc logo 2017 Billfish Tournaments

Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

June 5 – 11

Biloxi, MS

mgcbc.com

Deep Sea Roundup

July 6 – 9

Port Aransas, TX

DeepSeaRoundup.com

Poco Bueno

July 12 – 15

Port O’Connor, TX

Poco-Bueno.com

Lone Star Shootout

July 18 – 23

Port O’Connor, TX

TheLoneStarShootout.com

Bastante John Uhr Memorial Tournament

July 26 – 30

Rockport, TX

RockportTournament.com

Texas International Fishing Tournament

Aug. 2 – 6

Port Isabel, TX

tift.org

Texas Legends

Aug. 9 – 13

Port Aransas, TX

txlegends.com

Texas Billfish Classic

Aug. 16 – 19

Freeport, TX

TexasBillfishClassic.com

TWAT

Aug. 25 – 27

Port Aransas, TX

GoFishTX.com

Memorial Day Weekend

birdsworking2 Memorial Day Weekend

Birds working. Photo by Kelly Groce.

The start of our summertime coastal fishing

By Capt. Joe Kent

While not the official start of our summertime fishing season, Memorial Day Weekend often offers excellent conditions for both inshore and offshore fishing.  For many anglers it is their first run of the year to offshore waters.

Others focus on the jetties and bays, with all areas capable of producing some nice fish.

Most years, the water temperature has reached the 80-degree mark and, while not as warm as in the mid-summer range of July through mid-September, it is at the point when all of our summertime fish are around.

The bay waters are not so warm as to keep trout and other fish that are sensitive to dissolved oxygen levels, in deep water.  This means that wade fishing the shorelines continues to be a viable option for catching trout, reds and other fish.

During May, the jetties begin turning on with trout activity and other fish join the prized specks in feeding up and down the rocks.  May through August is prime time around the collection of granite rocks known as the North and South Jetties and many locals add still another designation, that being the Bolivar Jetties for the North and the Galveston Jetties for the South.

Regardless of which designation you use, Memorial Day Weekend is a great time to fish them.

Bird action in both East and West Bays will continue until the waters warm to the point that the fish go deeper.  Normally that does not take place until late June or early July.

kent king Memorial Day Weekend

Polly Kent with Joe Kent’s 48 pound ‘smoker kingfish’ in 1972.

Memorial Day Weekend is a Holiday Weekend that I always have looked to as the time to head offshore, conditions permitting.  My first Memorial Day trip was in 1972 and what a trip it was.  King mackerel were thick beginning about 10 miles south of the Galveston or South Jetty.  Before that I had made an offshore trip in my boat only four or five times over the previous years.

A learning experience it was.  One of the largest kings I have ever caught was landed that day.  It was a real “smoker” that weighed 48 pounds on the unofficial scales at Wilson’s South Jetty Bait Camp.

Wayne Tucker, operator of the bait camp, said the king was one of the largest he had seen.

For years thereafter Memorial Day Weekend was set aside for offshore fishing and the percentage of times we were able to make it beyond the jetties was higher than normal for offshore trips.

Some of the largest pelagic fish which include kings, ling, sharks and Dorado make it to the shallower offshore waters during May and early June, with Memorial Day right in the middle of that timeframe.

Besides good fishing and statistically good weather, the Memorial Day Weekend does not normally have the intense heat we experience later in the summer.  One advantage of fishing offshore during this time is that the crowds are much lighter than for inshore fishing.

While inshore fishing is in its prime, the weekend is one of the busiest on the water.  Normally, that does not bode well for fishing and one way to escape the heavy concentrations of boats is to head out from the jetties and enjoy the offshore.

Don’t forget the sunscreen, as the sun is intense, and that warmth of the season along with good fishing and crabbing, make Memorial Day Weekend a very special time of year.

Keep up with Joe Kent’s daily fishing report here.

Rods and Reels for Tuna Popping

tx tuna popping Rods and Reels for Tuna Popping

Throwing poppers and swimbaits at night can be extremely productive when fishing for yellowfin tuna in the Gulf. Tuna love flying fish and readily come up to the surface to feed. Long, specialized rods and heavy duty spinning reels are best for this type of fishing. From budget minded, to top-of-the-line, these rods and reels for tuna popping will get you on the right track.

oceanxtreme oti Rods and Reels for Tuna Popping

OTI OceanXtreme

MODEL: OTI-3106-765S

These are some of the highest performing, and best valued popping rods on the market today.  With shaped EVA grips, new Fuji “K” series Alconite guides, and a new padded rod sock, the OceanXtreme can defeat monsters. Depending on your needs, the 40/60 or 60/80 rods are best for our size of tuna in Texas. MSRP $249

Specifications 

  • Length: 7’6″
  • Line: 40-60lb
  • Lure: 2-4 oz
  • Weight: 17.1 oz

OTI Tuna Sniper 

MODEL: OTI-3108-808S

The newest line of Tuna Sniper rods are lighter, stronger, and have a faster taper for the longest possible casting distance and more control boat side. These rods have a moderately fast action, with a slightly faster tip section, shaped EVA grips, new Fuji “K” series SiC guides, and a new padded rod sock. The size 40 stripper guide and new 8’ length give this rod a balanced feel and lighter weight than pre-2012 Tuna Sniper rods. MSRP $449.99

Specifications 

  • Length: 8’0″
  • Line: 60-80lb
  • Lure: 2.5-5 oz
  • Weight: 18 oz

Fin-Nor LT100 Lethal

This all-aluminum body reel from Fin-Nor could be one of the best values in high-performance saltwater spinning reels today. The Lethal 100 adds a triple-supported spool shaft, a forged brass main gear and a back-up pawl and ratchet anti-reverse. MSRP $139.95

Specifications 

  • Braid Capacity: 310 yds./100 lb
  • Max Drag: 45 lbs
  • Ratio: 4.9:1 /45″
  • Weight: 30.8 oz

PENN Spinfisher V

This tough, all metal construction reel from Penn works well for tuna at a good value. Features include an anodized aluminum superline spool, five stainless steel ball bearings and a sealed drag system with 3 HT-100 washers that stays smooth during big runs. MSRP $179.95

Specifications for model SSV850

  • Braid Capacity: 650/40,  540/50,  470/65
  • Max Drag: 35 lbs
  • Ratio: 4.7:1 /42″
  • Weight: 31.6 oz

QUANTUM Cabo PT

The Cabo series is built for long-lasting, fish-stopping performance – from the indestructible TiMag® bail to the multi-layer corrosion protection. This reel utilizes hybrid ceramic bearings in high-load areas. Specifications for 80PT model. MSRP $229.95

Specifications for PT80

  • Braid Capacity: 380/65
  • Max Drag: 50 lbs
  • Ratio: 4.9:1 /38″
  • Weight: 24.9 oz

SHIMANO Saragosa SW 

A Gulf tuna staple with excellent performance at a good price. Improvements in the current Saragosa® include SW Concept design with X-Ship & X-Tough drag and durable cam oscillation system for better drag performance. Specifications for 10000 model. MSRP $309.99

Specifications for SRG10000SW

  • Braid Capacity:50/360, 65/260, 80/215
  • Max Drag: 33 lbs
  • Ratio: 4.9:1
  • Weight: 24.3 oz

ACCURATE SR-20

Accurate’s TwinSpin reels are machined from high-grade materials and can handle the Gulf’s largest tuna. Features include Accurate’s patented TwinDrag™ system, five class 5 ABEC stainless steel bearings and a skirted spool that reduces heat build-up and help trim weight. These reels are designed, manufactured and assembled in the USA. MSRP $859.95

Specifications

  • Braid Capacity: 50/425
  • Max Drag: 32 lbs
  • Ratio: 5:1
  • Weight: 26 oz

Shimano Stella SW

Widely considered one of the finest spinning reels in the world, the Stella SW can handle the largest fish swimming our waters. This reel utilizes high quality materials and technology in every aspect, including a high rigidity aluminum body, X tough drag washers at the base of the spool, a cold forged aluminum handle and forged metal internals. This latest version of the Stella is the longest casting reel yet. Specifications for 14000 size. MSRP $1,159.99

Specifications for STL140000SWBXG

  • Braid Capacity: 50/400,65/315,80/240
  • Max Drag: 55 lbs
  • Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Weight: 24.3 oz

The Galley: Red Snapper Two Ways

By Betha Merit

Red Snapper is in season and colorful, fresh recipes abound. A fun suggestion for foodies is to research several similar recipes and then add your own twist. In the South, that might be a dash of cayenne or tiny bit of minced jalapeño. Using juice from limes or clementines instead of the standard lemon is another change-up. Creative substitution is a great option with limited galley ingredients while on the water. Who knows, you might invent the seafood equivalent of the genius BLT or PBJ sandwich. Speaking of which, the world is always ready for another take on ceviche…

limecilantro snapper recipe The Galley: Red Snapper Two Ways

Lime Zest Cilantro Snapper

  • 6 (6 to 8-oz) red snapper fillets (with or without skin)
  • 6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • Finely grated lime zest from two limes
  • Juice from the two limes
  • Dash or two of cayenne pepper

Brush both sides of fish with 3 Tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss together cilantro, garlic, zest half reserved lime juice, and cayenne in a small bowl.

Pan sear snapper at medium high heat about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer fish, skin side up to a platter. Sprinkle with cilantro mixture and drizzle with remaining 3 Tablespoons oil. If desired, add remaining fresh lime juice.

Side Dish Option: roasted fingerling potatoes cooked with rosemary, butter/olive oil, and garlic.

baked fish recipe The Galley: Red Snapper Two Ways

My Mom’s Baked Fish Recipe

Serves 4 (cut ingredients in half to serve 2)

  • 4 (8-ounce) red snapper fillets, about 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 fresh onion cut in rings
  • 2 bell peppers, cut in rings
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2-4 cups cooked rice. (white, brown, jasmine, wild…)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Season the fish with salt and pepper. Spread the onions and peppers in a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish and place the fish on top. Dot the fish with butter. Sprinkle with a little Worcestershire sauce and parsley and cover with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes then baste fish with pan juices. Sprinkle the fish with Parmesan; if desired, place under the broiler for about 2 minutes or until the cheese browns. Spoon the vegetables and pan juices over the fish.

Serve with steamed rice.

Offshore Fishing Checklist

yamaha 150 outboard Offshore Fishing Checklist

Get ready, summer will be here before you know it.

By Capt. Joe Kent

Not too long ago, offshore fishing was a year-round sport.  While the peak of the season is from around the Fourth of July to not long after Labor Day, red snapper and other reef fish provided action all year long.

When tight regulations began being imposed on the recreational sector in Federal Waters, winter fishing for red snapper was virtually eliminated.

While recreational anglers do have a short window of time to catch their two fish per day limit of red snapper, the timeframe usually begins on June 1 and lasts anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks or so.  The season usually ends about the time when action on pelagic fish such as king mackerel, ling and Dorado begins to get hot.

With the exception of anglers owning large vessels, those in the 45 foot and larger range, most of the offshore boats are used on a limited basis or sit up a good part of the winter months.

The same can be said of fishing equipment and tackle, all of which leads to the point of this article and this is now is the time to get prepared for the offshore fishing season.

Many offshore anglers postpone their preparations until close to the time when they will make that first venture of the year to the rigs and other areas offshore.  In doing so, often it is discovered that the boat and/or fishing equipment is in need of repairs or service.

While there is normally no problem getting the gear in shape, it usually takes much longer than it would have earlier in the year.

March and April are excellent months to address all of this and here are some suggestions on what you should look for and respond to during the process.

Let’s start with the boat.  The gasoline tank is one of the biggest problems and it is not the tank itself, but the contents.  Gasoline that has been in the tank for several months should have a special treatment added before venturing out for the first time.  Ethanol blended fuel is the main culprit.

Although a stabilizer may have been added before storage, over time it loses its effectiveness and water will build in the tank. This is largely due to the absorption aspects of ethanol.  Water and gasoline do not mix and can cause big problems that are expensive to repair.  Check with your mechanic for a recommended gas treatment and if the gas has been in the tank for a long period of time, it may be recommended that the fuel be removed and replaced. That is much cheaper than a major engine repair.

If the gasoline is not an issue, one of the best ways to check out the other boating and fishing equipment is to make a trial run offshore.  March and April are the two windiest months of the year and the number of days offering tolerable conditions offshore is limited.

Regardless, a bay run is a good substitute.  The main thing is to be able to open up the engines and run them at cruising speed for at least thirty minutes.  During the process, check out the fresh and saltwater pumps and all other electronics.  Fuel indicators are one of the more frequent items to become stuck during storage.

Next would be the fishing equipment.  Look for rust and corrosion on tackle and if suitable for cleaning, do so, if not replace.  Reels and line are the two items of fishing gear than normally need the most attention.  If the line has been used much or has been on the reel for two seasons or more, replace it.

Reels will need to be cleaned and oiled and if you are not comfortable taking them apart and putting them back together, take them to a professional.  The cost is worth it.

You have often heard the old expression of “a stitch in time saves nine,” well nothing could be truer when preparing for the upcoming offshore fishing season.

The Kraken – Galveston’s Newest Artificial Reef

galveston kraken coordinates The Kraken   Galvestons Newest Artificial Reef

GPS coordinates to the new reef are: 28 26.634 N, 94 17.168 W

kraken ship The Kraken   Galvestons Newest Artificial Reef

The Kraken prior to its sinking. Photo TPWD.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Artificial Reef Program sank a 371-ft cargo vessel, named The Kraken, earlier this year in January. Dubbed the Kraken after the mythical, squid-like sea monster immortalized on film and in literature, the vessel was sunk 67 miles off the coast of Galveston to create a new artificial reef (located at GPS coordinates  28 26.634 N, 94 17.168 W).

The Kraken began its journey in May 2016 when it was towed from Trinidad to Brownsville to be repurposed for its new life as an artificial reef 140 feet below the surface. Contractors with Cahaba Disaster Recovery LLC worked with the Artificial Reef Program to remove all fuel, oil and hazardous materials from the vessel in order to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s best management practices.

Over time, this sunken ship will become an artificial reef that attracts fish, coral and other invertebrates, as well as divers and anglers. Given its location, this wreck could become a hot spot for grouper, amberjack and snapper.

“The entire marine ecosystem benefits from artificial reef projects like the Kraken,” said TPWD Artificial Reef Program Leader J. Dale Shively. “The Gulf of Mexico has only a few naturally occurring reefs so whenever we are able to add a new structure like this, the whole area benefits from the added habitat and species diversity.”

For more information about the Texas Artificial Reef Program, please visit  tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/water/habitats/artificial_reef

Texas Wahoo on Bad Intentions

texas wahoo sharked Texas Wahoo on Bad Intentions

Dr. Bob Rose, right, reeled in this huge wahoo that got sharked on the way in. The partial fish weighed 73 pounds on certified scales.

Texas wahoo are Texas-sized at the Flower Garden Banks

Photography and Videography by Brandon Rowan | brandon@baygroupmedia.com

Bad Intentions, a 64′ Viking owned by Debbie Conway, headed out to the Flower Garden Banks late January 2017 in search of BIG wahoo. The lines hit the water at first light but the wahoo bite didn’t begin until 10 a.m. and continued until late in the afternoon. The most successful baits of the trip were Ilanders rigged with ballyhoo and trolling weights, and heavy jetheads in purple/black or halloween colors. Watch the video above to see these hard running wahoo in action.

 

Wahoo Recipes

wahoo ceviche recipe Wahoo Recipes

REHAB Wahoo Ceviche

By Jasen Gast | REHAB Fishing Team

  • 1 lb. fish fillets
  • 6 juiced limes (or enough to cover the fillets)
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 green pepper (chopped)
  • 1 medium onion (minced)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers (seeded and diced)
  • 3 TBSP parsley
  • 2 TBSP cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar

Slice your fillets into smaller strips and soak in lime juice over night. Drain the juice out and add the mixed ingredients. Chill and serve.

Lemon-Basil Wahoo

By Debbie Conway | Bad Intentions Charters

  • One 1” thick wahoo steak
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 10-15 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh basil
  • Fresh lemon, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove four round fillets from steak and place in baking dish. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, tomatoes and basil into a bowl and pour over the fish. Salt and pepper to your taste. Lift them up to allow liquid to equalize onto bottom of dish and make sure fish is coated on both sides.

Place paper-thin slices of lemons over the entire surface of your dish for garnishment and bake in the oven at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes uncovered. Don’t over cook fish!  Remove lemon garnishment and serve fish over rice.

Texas Yellowfin Tuna 101

tunapop Texas Yellowfin Tuna 101

A Quick Guide to Fishing the Floaters

By Brandon Rowan

Night owls rejoice, Texas yellowfin tuna fishing is hot from dusk to dawn.  So, it’s pitch black and you’re bobbing along 100 plus miles offshore at the floaters (semi-submersible rigs). Well now what?

blackfin Texas Yellowfin Tuna 101

Blackfin tuna will provide all the bait and chum you need.

Jigging

First things first, you need chum. The idea is to create a tasty trail of bread crumbs for fish to follow as you drift away from the rig.  You could bring a bag of shad or other baitfish to get you started but all the chum and bait you need is right below your boat in the form of blackfin tuna.

Cousin to the yellowfin, these smaller tuna max out at around 50 pounds and swarm the night waters around the floaters.  There is no minimum length or bag limit for blackfin tuna in Federal waters.  Take the knife to smaller, football sized fish but bleed and ice the larger 15-30 pounders.  They put up a surprisingly good fight and taste nearly as good as yellowfin, just make sure to remove the large bloodline.  What is the best way to catch blackfin tuna?  Jigs are your best bet.

Blackfin are not particularly finicky and will hit just about any diamond, knife or butterfly jig you send down to the deep.  Jigs from 4 to 10 ounces with glow-in-the-dark colors seem to draw the most attention.  Yellowfin will also hit jigs although not with the regularity of blackfin. In fact, on one trip my two best yellowfin tuna, in the 50-pound class, were caught with glow-in-the-dark and blue 8-ounce diamond jigs.

To start your drift, position the boat down current of the platform and drop your jigs down.  Stay alert as you let your lure fall, many times fish will strike as the jig flutters downward. If your line suddenly goes slack, ratchet up the drag and set the hook.

The Japanese style of speed jigging can work in this situation but is tiring and not necessary when many bites happen on the fall. A slower yo-yo style of jigging is also effective, and if you’re at the right depth then sometimes a few lifts of the rod tip is all it takes to entice a bite. Load your jigging reels with color metered braid to help determine what depth the fish are feeding. Sometimes it’s 30 feet, other times it can be 300 feet.

 

Chunking

If things are going as planned, then you should have plenty of blackfin after a drift or two.  Cut your fish into one-to-two inch chunks and keep them handy in a designated chum bucket.  On your next drift have one angler continue to jig while another tosses out a handful of chunks every couple of minutes.  Set up two drift lines, one long and one short, each sporting a large bloody chunk of blackfin at the business end.

Chunking, as it is called, provides your best chance for landing big yellowfin tuna, so heavier tackle is a must.  Stout stand-up rods, 30 or 50 lb. class reels, 50 to 100 pound fluorocarbon leaders and strong 4/0 to 8/0 circle hooks are standard gear.  You don’t want to be outgunned when that 100 pounder finds its way to your chum line.  Don’t be discouraged if the bite doesn’t happen in first 15 minutes.  Many good fish have been hooked and landed far from the rig’s lights.

 

Yo-Zuri Sashimi Bull Metallic Popper

Yo-Zuri Sashimi Bull Metallic Popper

Pop the Top

Yellowfin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico sometimes shy away from jigs but will violently assault a topwater lure if conditions are right.  It’s a good idea to have a heavy spinning setup ready at all times for tossing poppers to surface crashing yellowfin. It is not uncommon to see tuna leap high out of the water when in pursuit of flying fish. A Shimano Saragosa or Stella loaded with 60 to 80 pound braid on a 7 – 8 foot rod is a common outfit. See this article for more detailed information on rods and reels.

The technique for working these lures is similar to the ole’ tried and true popping cork.   A flick of the rod tip causes the lure’s cupped mouth to rush forward and create a commotion.  They can also be reeled in ultra fast to create a big splashing disturbance on the surface. If the flying fish have taken to the skies, then it could be a good time to toss a popper.

 

flyfish

Tuna absolutely love flying fish.

Skimming the Big Pool

Flying fish are tuna candy. Sometimes they’re so thick they’ll fly right into the boat.  Other times they drift tantalizingly close but still out of reach. Your standard backyard pool skimming net solves this problem.  Flying fish make superb bait so collect as many as you can and put them to work on a drift line. Nothing beats the real thing.

 

A Bloody Mess

Tuna fishing is exciting, it definitely tests your arms and back – but it is not clean. You might want to wear an old shirt you don’t particularly care about. Tuna must be bled to ensure the highest quality of meat. Cut the gills or make a small semi-circle cut behind the pectoral fin to drain your fish before boxing it. You can go a step further and gut the fish, remove the head and pack the body cavity with ice if you find down time between fish. Good luck and tight lines!

tunadeck




Teach Your Youngsters to Fish

brett2toad Teach Your Youngsters to Fish

Five-year-old Brett Holden ll with a Costa Rica ‘toadfish’ on board his father’s 52′ Viking, the Booby Trap.

By Capt. Brett Holden | Booby Trap Fishing Team

brett2clean Teach Your Youngsters to Fish

It’s not all fun and games. Brett Holden II earns his way as part of the crew by learning good boat maintenance and cleaning.

Start them young, teach them right. Never force your youngsters to fish and keep it entertaining. Give them fast action and fun but don’t push them to the extreme if they are bored. Forcing the kids to fish at young ages can push them away from the sport. Let it come naturally; make it so they ask to go fishing. I would actually leave my boy at the dock or home until he begged me to go. It really ate at me too, but I did that on purpose. At first, he was okay staying home but now he eats it up every chance he gets. It is still very hard to say no to the long trips, because he can’t be missing school.

I teased him into loving fishing and hunting, rather than forcing him into it. Less video games and more fishing, spooling reels, driving the boat and cleaning with the crew. He is earning his way as part of the team.

Galveston Offshore Fishing with Bad Intentions Charters

badintentionsviking Galveston Offshore Fishing with Bad Intentions Charters

Bad Intentions returns home to Galveston after a tournament winning charter.

galvestonmahi 171x300 Galveston Offshore Fishing with Bad Intentions Chartersgalvestonwahoo

Now Offering Galveston Offshore Fishing Charters

Galveston offshore fishing at its finest! Bad Intentions, a tournament winning 64’ Viking sportfishing yacht, is now available for big game fishing charters out of Galveston, TX. A group of six anglers can expect high action fishing for blue marlin, sailfish, dorado, wahoo and tuna. Bad Intentions is fully outfitted with the best, tournament level fishing setups, trolling lures and teasers.

galvestonyft

Tuna over 100 pounds are no stranger to the cockpit of Bad Intentions.

badintentionsinterior

This serious fishing machine boasts a refined, comfortable interior as well.

Bad Intentions is a 64′ Viking with enclosed flybridge, water and ice makers, plenty of cockpit seating and fish storage. Fish one or more nights in comfort with AC, beds, showers, bathrooms and a fully stocked galley.

Bad Intentions Charters is a smart choice for birthday or bachelor parties, corporate retreats or for a group of die hard fisherman looking for the best Galveston offshore experience available. Charters are available year-round but ask about which times of year are best for your target species. Get in the fighting chair and catch your fish of a lifetime!

For pricing and information, call now at 409-737-9578 or 505-577-0385 or email flyrod99@gmail.com.




Texas Billfish Tournament Wrap Up

Texas Billfish Classic 

over ride Texas Billfish Tournament Wrap Up

Texas Billfish Classic Tournament Champions, Over-Ride and their 410# blue marlin. Photo by Brandon Rowan

Another year of the Texas Billfish Classic is on the books! Tournament Director Jasen Gast came together with all tourney staff, teams and volunteers to put on a hell of an event at Surfside Marina in Freeport. Good conditions offshore allowed great fish to hit the scales, including a 118.9-pound tuna from $ea Dollar$ and a 410-pound blue marlin brought in from Over-Ride.

Congratulations to overall tournament champion Over-Ride, owned by Marty Griffith and captained by Ryan Doxey.

bottomdollartbc Texas Billfish Tournament Wrap Up

Bottom Dollar captured the trophy for most billfish release points.

TBCwinners

$ea Dollar$ with their 118lb. tuna, Over-Ride with their 410lb. blue marlin and REHAB with the winning wahoo at 32.4lbs.

Blue Marlin 

1st Place: Over-Ride

Billfish Release 

1st Place: Bottom Dollar

Tuna 

1st Place: $ea Dollar$ 118.9 lbs.

Wahoo 

1st Place: REHAB 32.4 lbs.

Visit TexasBillfishClassic.com for full results. Visit our Facebook for more photos.


bastante

Bastante John Uhr Memorial Billfish Tournament

 

Billfish 

1st Place Overall went to “Mucho Mas” releasing 1 blue marlin and 5 sailfish giving them a total of 1000 points.

Tuna & Dolphin

“Game Hog” released 1 white marlin and a sailfish for a total of 250 points. They took home 1st Place dolphin and tuna awards.

Wahoo

1st Place wahoo went to “Paradise Ranch”

Visit JohnnyBastante.com for full results.

 


deepsea

Deep Sea Roundup

BARRACUDA: Adriane Reese | Fish Trips.com

BLACKFIN TUNA: James Thuleen | Backlash

BLUE MARLIN: David Badalich | Dock Holiday

BONITO: Mike Hagee | Scat Cat

DOLPHIN: Reed Ruschhaupt | Right Rigger

JACKFISH: Tom Furlow | Ambush

KINGFISH: David George | Dirty Money

LING: Tommy Temple | Dirty Deeds

MACKEREL: Herbert Snowden | Full Cooler

SAILFISH: Martin Clement III | Vamonos

SHARK: Buddy Mills | Day Pay

WAHOO: Emily Bryant | Fishy Business

WHITE MARLIN: Jenny Price | Got ‘M On

YELLOWFIN TUNA: Ed Crocker | Doc Holiday

Visit www.deepsearoundup.com for full results.


poco

Photo: David Shutts (www.davidshuttsphotography.com)

Poco Bueno

Offshore Division Winner

1st Place: Reel Bounty | Tony Annan | Capt. Kirk Elliott

Tag & Release

1st Place: Cajun Queen 3 Blues, 3 Sails 1,800

Largest Fish

Blue Marlin: Reel Bounty | Andy Hollen | 547 lbs.

Tuna: Mono Chongo | Robert Brown | 176.5 lbs.

Dorado: Over the Limit | Derek Elzner | 26.5 lbs.

Wahoo: Notorious | Marsh Miller | 63 lbs.

Visit Poco-Bueno.com for full results.


txlegends

Texas Legends Billfish Tournament

Tournament Champion

Got ‘M On

Tuna

High Cotton

Dorado

Mongo Chongo

Tuna

Mongo Chongo

Visit www.txlegends.com for full results

 


twat

Texas Women Anglers Tournament

Tournament Champion

Standaman with 710 points

Dorado

1st Place: Marilyn Atkins | Mojo | 25.65 lbs.

Tuna

1st Place: Rebecca Ramming | Rebecca | 9.75 lbs.

Wahoo

1st Place: Emily Petty | Vanquish | 34.45 lbs.

Sailfish

1st Place: Sharon Smith, Laura Smith and Heidi Cluck | Standaman | 6 releases

White Marlin

1st Place: Debbie Tucker and Catherine Carr | Mojo | 2 releases

Blue Marlin

1st Place: Kathleen Wyatt | Doc Holiday | 1 release

Visit www.gofishtx.com for full results

 


lonestarshootout

The Lone Star Shootout

Tournament Champion

Backlash | Travis & Jackie Hunter | 3,300 points

Blue Marlin 

1st Place: Slight Edge | Perry Forrester | 442.5 lbs.

Tuna

1st Place: Down Time | Bobby Walters | 162.5 lbs.

Dolphin 

1st Place: Relentless Pursuit | Dennis Pasentine | 31.5 lbs.

Wahoo

1st Place: Backlash | Travis & Jackie Hunter | 54.5 lbs.

Visit www.thelonestarshootout.com for full results

Texas Weedlines: A Blessing For Offshore Anglers

texas dorado Texas Weedlines: A Blessing For Offshore Anglers

By Capt. Joe Kent

Seaweed or Sargassum Weed as it is called is found mostly in the Atlantic Ocean and comes in concentrations from the Sargasso Sea. Sargassum Weed’s name is a result of Portuguese sailors likening this ocean-dwelling species’ bladder’s appearance to small grapes called salgazo.

Sargassum weed gravitates toward milder, more temperate and tropical oceans and farther toward shallow bodies of water. While some Sargassum weed attaches to the ocean floor, there are two species – the natan and the fluitan – that have become holopelagic, which means that they drift and migrate around the oceans and bodies of water throughout the world, though they are mostly concentrated in the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding bodies of water such as the Gulf of Mexico.

Sargassum weed acts as a mobile transport habitat for a great variety of marine life and as sublime refuge for young fish that may lack mobility. When young fish find a safe haven in Sargassum weed, they are far more protected from the ocean’s predators, thus making it possible to survive to adulthood. These patches of seaweed as we call them provide shelter, food and a place where schools of fish may form, further protecting young fish and other marine life.  Many species of marine life take refuge in the Sargassum weed and travel thousands of miles with this floating habitat, seeking protection and survival. With the presence of all of these young fish in one location, large fish often hover around, awaiting a shot at the young prey. All of this serves as a great advantage for anglers in search of the predator fish.

August is in my opinion the best month for offshore fishing along the upper Texas Coast.  Anglers able to make it 20 miles out should easily locate this fishing phenomena and the variety of fish in and around it.

Chicken Dorado, as the smaller of the species of Dorado are called, attack small bait with a vengeance and fishermen focusing on weed lines and patches mop up on them.

One nice thing about Dorado is that there are no bag or size limits; however, with that being said, good stewardship dictates taking only as many as you, your family and friends will consume.

For table fare, Dorado are among the best fish in the ocean.  Other fish commonly found among seaweed are all of the pelagic fish, tripletail and all sorts of small bait fish.

Offshore anglers fishing off of the Texas Gulf Coast encounter basically two types of seaweed concentrations.  Weedlines and Weed Patches.

Weedlines are, as the term suggests, long lines of seaweed clumped together along a tide line or water color change.  The patches are big clumps ranging in size from a few square yards to several acres.

One of the best ways to fish long weed lines is to troll both sides.  However, often there is so much scattered seaweed along the edges that trolling can be frustrating as the lures keep getting clogged with the weed.  Drift fishing is the other popular method for fishing around seaweed and is the method of choice if trolling is a problem.

Once a strike takes place, it is a good idea to chum the area to keep the schools of fish nearby.  Dorado in particular will continue to feed although others in the school are hooked and fighting for survival.

ling Texas Weedlines: A Blessing For Offshore Anglers

Capt. Joe Kent and Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine Creative Director, Brandon Rowan with a 65-pound ling taken from a weedline.

Some of the largest ling I have caught have come from seaweed concentrations as there is another benefit that comes from the big concentrations and that is shade.  Ling and Dorado love shade during the heat of the day and seaweed definitely offers that benefit.

Just about any bait used otherwise for offshore fishing will be good for fishing the weed lines and patches.  The idea is to keep the bait suspended anywhere from the surface to just a few feet below.

One of the best ways to test an area is to toss some chopped bait into the water.  If fish are nearby, they normally will come check it out and you can actually see your target.

Fishing around seaweed offshore is one of my favorite types of fishing.  If you have not tried it, chances are you will share my enthusiasm once you experience it.

Deep Drop Techniques for Grouper and Tilefish

chelholden Deep Drop Techniques for Grouper and Tilefish

Chelsey Holden and a very colorful tilefish.

captholdengrouper Deep Drop Techniques for Grouper and Tilefish

Capt. Brett Holden with a real nice yellowedge grouper.

By Capt. Brett Holden

Deep dropping for tilefish and grouper is becoming more and more popular by the day here in the Gulf of Mexico. I began fishing for these deep-water critters in the mid-1980s, and the sport has grown into a daily routine for many Gulf anglers.

Faster boats with longer range have now made fish like warsaw grouper, snowy grouper, yellowedge grouper, longtail sea bass, barrelfish, tilefish and others easier targets for many Texas sport fishing vessels. These deep drop techniques will help you find these fish in 400–1,300 feet of water.

warsaw

Capt. Matt Reed, left, and Capt. Jeff Wilson with a warsaw grouper.

Species of the Deep

Mike Parsons with the new Texas state record tilefish. 43 inches and 33.08 pounds.

Mike Parsons with a huge tilefish that measured in at 43 inches and 33.08 pounds.

Warsaw, yellowedge and longtail sea bass are commonly found around mountain tops, hard spots and deep water oil rigs in the 400–900 foot range. Warsaw grouper, on average, run anywhere from 40–100 pounds. But over the years I’ve seen several fish up to 250 pounds and a couple in the 300-pound range. Regulations have changed and now only one warsaw per-vessel is allowed.

Yellowedge grouper are delicious and average 8–18 pounds, with a few 20–30 pounders still caught fairly regularly. The largest one we ever caught was around 50 pounds.

'Bubba' with a longtail sea bass.

‘Bubba’ with a longtail sea bass.

Longtail sea bass are another fish that seem to inhabit the same area. They are good eating but hold a little stronger taste than the deep-water grouper. Once again, these fish are mostly found in the 400–900 foot range.

Barrelfish and tilefish run a little deeper on average. For big barrelfish, you want to fish down current from the edges and walls of deep water mountain tops. The edges will have well-defined drops and barrelfish can stack up very thick at the top and bottom of this structure. They’re usually found a bit higher off the sea floor and mark well on a good bottom machine. These fish are most often found between depths of 850–1,200 feet.

Capt. Jeff Wilson and Mike Parsons with a trio of barrelfish.

Capt. Jeff Wilson and Mike Parsons with a trio of barrelfish.

Many times the deeper you drop for barrels, the bigger the fish tend to be. Last year we found a pile of barrels at 900 feet that ran 3–8 pounds. We moved off that ridge and found another school in 1,170-to-1,225 feet of water. All of the barrels off that ridge were running 12–18 pounds on average. These fish are a blast; they fight all the way to the surface, unlike many deep water species that tend to “blow up” as they near the surface. The barrels fight hard and really put a bend in the rod.

Tilefishing is a fast growing sport and produces exceptional table fare. Not long ago, tilefish were pretty much unheard of as a rod and reel fish. I caught my first one in the mid-1980s and have been targeting them every since. This fishery was kept very quiet for a long time and was a pretty big secret. Back in the 1990s, there were no limits on tiles, and that is what we filled our freezers with. But still to this day, they are a fish you can actually go target and pick up a few meals.

We have bigger tilefish here in the Gulf than most people would think. Just a few years ago, the record tilefish was only around four pounds. But I have caught uncountable tilefish running 25–35 pounds

and several that have been 35–45 pounds, including a couple near 50 pounds. Now that eyes are opening to the new daytime swordfishing industry here on the Texas coast, more and more tilefish are being boated.

Tilefish are probably the easiest of all the deep water fish you can target. The golden tilefish is most commonly found in the 900–1,250 foot range. Smaller tiles, averaging 2–10 pounds, can be targeted on the continental shelf wall without any special areas or specific “numbers.” Muddy areas anywhere from 900–1,000 feet of open water will hold tilefish.

Finding better average sized fish will take a little more work. Tilefish will typically get bigger off the shelf, or in valleys against the shelf. Drop on the down current side of small dips and slopes in 1,000–1,250 feet of water. Tilefish tend to feed right on the bottom, so try to stop your bait and hold the boat on an area as tight as possible.

However, slow drifting will also produce tilefish and is great for covering ground. Drag the bait against the bottom, stopping often, and then continuing the drift to explore new areas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finding bigger tilefish is another story altogether. I have learned a lot over the past few years about these large fish. The biggest ones will hold against ridges at 1,200 feet and are bold enough to follow baits headed for deep water. Drop your bait near the edge of a ridge that looks over 1,500–1,600 feet of water and be ready. The biggest tiles, those from 35–50 pounds, seem to live alone. I have caught most of these big fish away from the schools and many times, several feet off the bottom feeding in schools of squid or dragonfish. The big tilefish really don’t seem to like a lot of leader in their face. Single rigs with the weight above the bait seem to work best. A whole squid, about 14-inches-long, works very well. Use a large hook and bait to avoid the smaller fish when targeting big tiles.

I seem to catch lots of big tiles early in the year, April through May, and sometimes in as shallow as 850–1,000 feet. I’m not sure if it was due to spawning or what, but I’ve caught several in the 30–45 pound class during these months.

Other Species

Josh Graves carefully holds up a scorpionfish.

Josh Graves carefully holds up a scorpionfish.

Beware of spiny, toothy and venomous critters that you might pull up from the deep. Spiny dogfish are small, deep water sharks that have spikes near the dorsal fins that can cause a painful sting. The spines on scorpionfish can also sting if you’re not careful. But these bright orange fish are pretty good to eat.

Once the sun goes down the tilefish stop biting and the eels take over in force. Conger eels have nice white meat but lots of bones.  Banded shrimp eels and moray eels have mouths full of big teeth so watch out.

Spiny Dogfish

Spiny Dogfish

Hake, a small brown fish averaging 1–3 pounds, also bite at night and can be a nuisance. They will eat pretty much anything. Their meat is good and tasty but very soft. I use hake filets to replace crab meat in gumbo.

Hake

Hake

The tilefish don’t bite at night but grouper will if you’re in an area free of eels. Snowy and yellowedge grouper will take baits and warsaw will feed as high as 400 feet off the bottom in 900 feet of water.

Triple deep drop leader with LP circle hooks.

Triple deep drop leader with LP circle hooks.

Rigging

For years I never used any kind of light or strobe to catch tilefish and did okay. But over the past 10 years or so, I’ve started rigging them up and I think it does work better. I also found that rigging the light further from the bait will produce bigger fish. If we are targeting BIG tiles I will rig the weight and light 15 to 20 feet above the bait. Big tilefish will eat regular double and triple bait rigs, but once again, you’ll do better on a clean single rig. The standard double and triple bait drops work well for yellowedge grouper and smaller tilefish.

Your size of leader and weight will all depend on how much current you are fighting. The bite and fishing will be best when using less weight and smaller line. Thinner line means less bow in the line and that makes it easier to see bites. On the Booby Trap, we use Diamond braid made by Diamond Products. I like the orange 80 pound braid because it is easy to see.

weights

Cannonball weights and lead stick.

With a light current and this braid, 3 pounds is a good weight to start with on your standard double bait leaders. I use cannon ball style weights because they don’t get hung up as easy on rough, rocky bottoms. If the current is strong then move up in weight size to 4 to 5 pounds. If it really cranking move up to 7 pound window weights or lead stick weights.

Some of these deep water fish have sharp teeth, so heavy mono leaders are a necessity. Yellowedge, longtail sea bass and other smaller grouper are not so bad but tilefish, eels and small sharks have sharp teeth. The grouper will wear through light leaders eventually and the tiles will bite clean through them. I use 300 pound LP or Momoi mono leader for our deep drops.

Use caribbean swivels to help keep the twist out of the leader and line. Most bottom fish will go into a spin on the way up.

Heavy duty circle hooks, from 8/0 to 16/0, work best for deep dropping. Tilefish and grouper have no problem snagging themselves on a circle hook and I would say it definitely helps keep the fish on when cranking them up from the deep. A sharp hook is also important. It’s a long way up and down, so a needle sharp edge is very important.

Be sure to take plenty of extra tackle when deep dropping. It is a long ride to the deep water fishing grounds and you might lose tackle to rocks and snags. Also, carry an extra spool or two of braided line. One break off at 1,000 feet can end the day if you are without replacement line.

When it comes to reels, the Lindgren Pitman S-1200 electric reel is the reel of choice on the Booby Trap. The LP is a deep dropping fishing machine that also has the strength and drag system to handle big warsaw grouper and swordfish. You can also hand crank tilefish and grouper on conventional tackle but it is a long way up and down.

reelcrankie

Reel Crankie in action.

The Reel Crankie is a must have, great product that can assist in getting your rig up from the bottom fast. It’s not made for fighting fish but for retrieving your heavy weight and empty hooks when you don’t catch a fish. It does a great job of winding up all the line, instead of you wearing out your arm on empty hooks. The Reel Crankie fits on a cordless drill and clamps onto several different makes of conventional reel.

You can also deep drop with two lines but it can be tricky fishing and requires some boat handling. The more bow in the lines you have, the more likely you are to tangle your expensive gear.

What Bait?

Over stuffing your hook with bait can result in fewer hookups. It is more important to get less bait nicely hooked rather than too much bait, which will result in missed fish. Avoid hard, bony, bulky baits that can push a fish off the hook. Softer baits like fish fillets and squid will result in better hook ups. Larger squid are usually tougher and stay on the hook better than the small ones. I like to take a 12–16 inch squid and cut chunks for tilefish. Squid wings work well too but not as a whole squid or chunks.

Preparing Your Catch

Gut your grouper and tilefish ASAP for better table fare. These fish eat lots of shellfish, which can result in some nasty strong tastes in the meat if not taken care of properly.

Wash down your fish after gutting them and keep on ice. Try and keep cooler drained at all times so the fish don’t soak in water.

Connor Weigelt holds up a beautiful colored tilefish.Go Get Them

Now you’re ready to go out and find your own tilefish and grouper. The entire continental shelf from Texas to Louisiana holds great bottom structure, supporting tons of deep water species.

Some fish stay directly on top of structure, some live on the walls, slopes and drop offs and some species are found on flat bottoms. Don’t forget to mark your hook ups on your GPS and keep a track record of your best catches. This is the best way to build and notice patterns on the different fish.

It is a fun way to spend the day with miles and miles of perfect habitat for multiple types of great eating fish. You never know what you will come up with and that alone makes deep dropping fun in itself.

Brett Holden is the captain of the Booby Trap, which holds the record for largest swordfish in the Gulf of Mexico. Holden is a pioneer in daytime swordfishing along the Texas coast; he holds numerous billfishing records and shares his deep drop techniques every year at the Texas Swordfish Seminar. 




Offshore Fishing Boats for the Gulf

Venture far into the Gulf on any of these fine fishing boats from 24 – 36 ft.

grady27 Offshore Fishing Boats for the Gulf

Grady-White Fisherman 257

The Fisherman 257 was built ready to go offshore. Two insulated forward 120 quart boxes and a transom 185 quart box provide plenty of room for any pelagic or reef fish you bring in. The fully insulated 32-gallon lighted livewell keeps bait lively with full column raw water distribution. This ride makes for a comfortable, yet capable sport fishing machine.

  • Length: 24’ 9”
  • Beam: 8’ 6”
  • Fuel Capacity: 135 gal.
  • Max HP: 400 HP
  • Weight (w/o engines): 4,300 lbs.
  • Draft: 20”
  • Deadrise: 20°
  • Bait/Livewell: 32 gal.
  • Fish Storage: 120 qt. (2), 185 qt.

Visit Grady-White’s website for full specifications.

sailfish27 Offshore Fishing Boats for the Gulf

Sailfish 270cc

Improved fishability with higher gunnels, larger fish boxes, more interior room and a transom livewell make the 270 one of the best laid out fishing platform on the market. The improved functional and stylish helm offers ample room for your larger electronics and multiple storage compartments for gear and equipment.

  • Length: 26’ 2”
  • Beam: 9’
  • Fuel Capacity: 188 gal.
  • Max HP: 400 HP
  • Weight (rigged): 6,700 lbs.
  • Draft: 18”
  • Deadrise: 22-24°
  • Bait/Livewell: 30 gal.
  • Fish Storage: 260 qt. (2)
  • Rod Holders: 10

Visit Sailfish Boats’ website for full specifications.

capehorn24

Cape Horn 24os

With a host of changes in both design and style, the new Cape Horn 24os is more ready than ever to face what awaits 50+ miles offshore. The newly designed hull provides impressive ride comfort and fuel economy. A sprawling floor plan leaves more room to fish. Two big live wells make sure you will never run out of bait.

  • Length: 25’ 1”
  • Beam: 9’ 1”
  • Fuel Capacity: 136 gal.
  • Max HP: 400 HP
  • Weight (dry): 3,700 lbs.
  • Draft: 20”
  • Deadrise: 23°
  • Bait/Livewell: 30/45 gal.
  • Fish Storage: 470 qt.
  • Rod Holders: 20

Visit Cape Horn’s website for full specifications.

seahunt

Sea Hunt Gamefish 25

The Gamefish delivers exactly what serious fishermen demand in a sportfishing center console boat. This boat comes ready to fish with multiple insulated fishboxes and livewells as standard features. The cockpit has abundant room for 360° of fishing and the hull delivers a soft, dry ride.

  • Length: 25’ 6”
  • Beam: 9’
  • Fuel Capacity: 148 gal.
  • Max HP: 400 HP
  • Weight (dry): 4,700 lbs.
  • Draft: 19”
  • Deadrise: 21°
  • Bait/Livewell: 27/30 gal
  • Fish Storage: 148 qt. (2), 188 qt.

Visit Sea Hunt’s website for full specifications.

worldcat

World Cat 320cc

The 320CC is a versatile performer that excels in our Gulf chop. You can run flat out to your favorite fishing spot, even in rougher seas. A large 45 gallon livewell provides ample space for bait and over 1,300 quarts of insulated storage keeps your catch cold. Twelve gunwale-mounted rod holders and comfortable seating for twelve means you can bring the entire crew out fishing.

  • Length: 32’ 2”
  • Beam: 10’ 6”
  • Fuel Capacity: 279 gal.
  • Max HP: 600 HP
  • Weight (dry): 9,200 lbs.
  • Draft: 16”
  • Bait/Livewell: 45 gal.
  • Fish Storage: 300 qt. (2), 225 qt. (2), 105 qt.
  • Rod Holders (gunwale): 12

Visit World Cat’s website for full specifications.

Yellowfin 36 Offshore

The combination of speed, an unmatched dry ride and rugged construction make the 36 Yellowfin the boat to beat no matter where you are fishing. The 36 can be powered by twin or triple outboards and either option will yield speeds that few other boats in its class can match. Numerous console, leaning post and top options, let you customize the 36 to perfectly complement the way you fish. A huge 477 gallon fuel capacity lends incredible range to this ride.

  • Length: 36’ 8”
  • Beam: 10’
  • Fuel Capacity: 477 gal.
  • Max HP: 1,250 HP
  • Weight: 9,500 lbs.
  • Draft: 20”
  • Deadrise: 24°
  • Bait/Livewell:
  • Fish Storage:
  • Rod Holders:

Visit Yellowfin’s website for full specifications.

bostonwhaleroutrage

Boston Whaler 330 Outrage

With its precision-engineered deep-V hull, high padded gunnels and unsinkable Unibond construction, the 330 Outrage delivers an incredibly soft, safe, dry ride, whether you’re venturing far from shore or cruising close to home. State-of-the-art navigation and command systems make captaining a breeze, while smart ergonomic seating ensures an enjoyable ride for every passenger. In the bow, a plush forward lounge lifts to reveal ample storage below while the facing bow seats invite easy conversation.

  • Length: 33’ 1”
  • Beam: 10’ 2”
  • Fuel Capacity: 300 gal.
  • Max HP: 700 HP
  • Weight (dry): 9,000 lbs.
  • Draft: 22”
  • Deadrise: 23°
  • Bait/Livewell: 40/50 gal.
  • Fish Storage: 228 qt. (2)
  • Rod Holders: 16

Visit Boston Whaler’s website for full specifications.

capehorn36

Cape Horn 36os

The 36os features “more of everything.” The wide beam and excellent speed let get out into the Gulf faster and in comfort.  A 1,400 quart insulated fish box will hold any fish you may catch, including swordfish up to 9-feet-long. The rear 40 gallon live well is standard, as is the large transom gate. The main live well sports 60 gallons for keeping the largest of baits frisky. The 36os is a solid choice for the seasoned angler looking for all the advantages needed to fish harder than any other.

  • Length: 36’ 11”
  • Beam: 10’ 6”
  • Fuel Capacity: 410 gal.
  • Max HP: 1,100 HP
  • Weight: 7,900 lbs.
  • Draft: 24”
  • Deadrise: 23°
  • Bait/Livewell: 60/40 gal.
  • Fish Storage: 1,400 qt., 85 qt.
  • Rod Holders: 26

Visit Cape Horn’s website for full specifications.




Fishing Boats: Flats, Bay and Offshore

shoalwater cat Fishing Boats: Flats, Bay and Offshore

Shoalwater 19’ Catamaran

The 19 Shoalwater Cat rides excellent in extremely shallow waters and runs well in moderate chop due to the tunnel hull design. The 6” draft will allow you to get shallower than most flats boats that are much smaller. Lower gunwales than the 21 & 23 make the 19 Cat an excellent boat for fishermen that like to travel to a destination, then get out and wade The efficient catamaran design allows the boat to run well with a 90 to a 130hp outboard. It has the capacity to carry 5 people and comfortably fishes 3-6 people with the large front casting platform and rear deck. A choice of 2 different consoles is standard or you can opt for a raised console allowing for extra storage or an in-deck fuel cell.

www.shoalwaterboats.com | 361.983.4134 | shoalwaterboats@tisd.net

hayniesSC Fishing Boats: Flats, Bay and Offshore

Haynie 21’ Super Cat

The 21 Super Cat is the newest Cat to the Haynie line. What’s the difference between the 21 Cat and the 21 SC? The 21 SC is basically the bigger brother to the 21 Cat. The beam on the 21 Cat is 8’ the beam on the 21 SC is 8’ 10” so it’s a much wider boat making it more stable. The sides on the 21 SC are higher than the original 21 Cat and the transom is also higher making it for a much dryer ride. The cat sponsons on the original 21 Cat are much smaller and don’t have much V like the 21 SC does in return giving the 21 SC a much smoother and stable ride in the bay.

www.hayniebayboats.com361.758.8486 | info@hayniebayboats.com

blackjack256

Blackjack 25’ 6”

The BlackJack 256 is the new flagship of the BlackJack line. With its larger size, you can take the 256 into bigger, rougher water, and still get the exceptionally smooth and dry ride the BlackJack brand has come to be known for. The 256 comes loaded with lots of standard features, such as LED lights, custom upholstery, and gas shocks on all the hatch lids. The console has a large door in the front, and is big enough to house a porta-potty and batteries. The large dash has plenty of real estate for aftermarket electronics. The hull itself is a work of art, with a subtly more aggressive styling, while still maintaining that beautifully unique BlackJack look.

www.blackjackboats.com479.885.0520 | info@k2marine.com

yellowfin32

Yellowfin 32′ Offshore

Jaw-dropping speed and agility come together with the highest level of fit-and-finish and construction standards in the industry. Simply creating a boat that outperforms everything in its class, the 32 tracks and cuts waves better than most much larger center consoles yet provides handling like what you’d expect from a high-performance skiff. This near-perfect blending of form and function gives fishermen the ideal platform for chasing everything from striped bass or tarpon along the coast, to blue marlin on the rip, and everything in between.

www.yellowfin.com941.753.7828 | yfyachts@mac.com

Offshore Jigging in the Gulf

Fill your tackle box with these proven jigs and colors before heading out to do some offshore jigging this year.

williamson benthos Offshore Jigging in the Gulf

WILLIAMSON Benthos Speed Jig

The  9 oz. Benthos in Blue/Purple is great for a variety of Gulf species but absolutely deadly for amberjack. Drop this one to the bottom near rigs and wrecks and work quickly back to the surface until you get bit.

ahi 8oz glow Offshore Jigging in the Gulf

AHI USA Assault Diamond Jig

blackfinA secret weapon for blackfin tuna! Use the 8 oz. Assault Diamond Jig in Glow near semi-submersible rigs and drill ships at night and at shrimp boats during the day. If tuna are there, they will bite. Most strikes occur on the fall. Slow bounce the jig at different depths on the way back up. Replace the treble with an assist hook and land more fish.

flat-fall

SHIMANO Butterfly Flat Fall Jig

Another great multi-species jig, the Butterfly Flat Fall Jig was introduced in heavier weights in 2015. The 160g jig in Pink/Blue is killer for red snapper on rigs, reefs and structure. Just let it fall to the bottom, reel up 25 – 50 feet and let it free fall again. Repeat until you have your limit of snapper. This one can also be worked in a traditional vertical jigging motion and still produce. See video below to see this jig in action.

OTI jager

rowan-gaggrouperOCEAN TACKLE INTERNATIONAL Jager Jig

The gliding, fluttering action from this OTI jig elicits strikes from big grouper and is a good choice for other Gulf species like tuna and snapper. Its erratic motion, due to a rear weighted design, draws aggressive reaction strikes from otherwise passive fish. The Jager is ready to fish out of the package with an OWNER split ring, 2 RAPTOR Assist Hooks, and solid ring. Use the pink 200g and 300g jigs in deep water and the 100g jig closer to shore.

<< Gulf Coast Mariner’s Brandon Rowan with a large gag grouper caught on a 300g Pink OTI Jager.

sproprime

dorado-gcmSPRO Prime Bucktail Jig

Pick through the chickens and target the larger dorado in the school near offshore weedlines with this  1 oz. bucktail jig in Crazy Chartreuse. Add a Gulp! grub tail or strips of squid for extra action. Don’t be surprised if the ling bite this one too. The strong Gamakatsu hook stands up to big fish without bending.