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Texas Yellowfin Tuna 101

November 4th, 2016

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




Offshore Fishing Boats for the Gulf

June 8th, 2016

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.




2015 August Billfish Classic

August 31st, 2015

OVERRIDE 2015 August Billfish Classic

Team Over-Ride took top money and won the billfish division at this year’s ABC.

VIEW THE 2015 AUGUST BILLFISH CLASSIC RESULTS HERE

By Dawn Messina

The August Billfish Classic is back after 15 years. I had a chance to sit down with Howard Andrews, the new owner of Bridge Harbor Yacht Club and Marina in Freeport, before Wednesday’s kickoff party.

“I remember as a young boy going to watch the weigh-in of the ‘ABC’ tournament,” Andrews said. “It was an important element in my decision to purchase BHYC. This tournament has a historic value to the people of Freeport and the Billfish tournament community. At one time, it was one of the most notable Texas bluewater billfish tournaments on the Gulf Coast.”

The August Billfish Classic started in 1986 and ran until 2005 when the previous owner of BHYC decided to stop all fishing tournaments. Andrews purchased BHYC in November of 2013 and immediately began major renovations with the intention of bringing back two major billfish tournaments to the yacht club; the August Billfish Classic and the Joe Hall Memorial Tournament.

ABC, with its rich heritage, promotes the release of blue and white Marlin, as well as sailfish. Like other notable billfish tournaments, there is a very lucrative payout format in the categories of billfish, tuna, wahoo and dolphin.

Jasen Gast, tournament director, along with BHYC owner Howard Andrews and Harbormaster Mingo Marquez worked together coordinating most of this year’s tournament details. What an impressive comeback after 15 years with 21 boats registered and a respectable side bet pot total!    

Boats began arriving at Bridge Harbor as early as Sunday, Aug. 9. The kickoff party was Wednesday, Aug. 12, followed by a Thursday departure from any port at 2 p.m. All boats had to return to Bridge Harbor Yacht Club to weigh fish and turn in video release verifications to receive tournament points. Also all boats had to be within the Freeport jetties and be verified by Tournament Control by 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15.

The weigh-in on Friday and Saturday was open to the general public but tournament functions access was restricted to tournament participants only and their guests.

Like other notable Gulf Coast billfish tournaments, IGFA saltwater angling and tackle rules applied with the exception that an angler may receive assistance getting the rod to the chair or harness.

On the first day of fishing, Buck N Bills reported a release of a blue marlin at 2:24 p.m. Then, later in the eveing, the 52’ Viking, Leveled Out (Owner Ed Williams, Capt. Dennis Tuttle) arrived at the scales at 7:30 p.m. with a 395.4 big blue marlin! Team Over Ride reported the release of two blues and had boated a 109” blue marlin! Team Easy Rider also called in a Blue Marlin release at 7:35 p.m.

Next day, the action continued with Team Relentless releasing a white marlin at 8:23 a.m. Solid fish were brought in all weekend. Team Over Ride weighed a 390.1 pound blue marlin and Team REHAB came in with a monster 169.1 pound yellowfin tuna! Congratulations to all the winners and welcome back ABC!

Team REHAB 169.1 YFT 2015 August Billfish Classic

REHAB does it again! The fishing team scores first place tuna with a 169.1 pound fish.