The last couple of weeks is a prime example of why Louisiana is the sportsman’s paradise. I left the deer camp in time to drop off a couple of deer at the processers and head to Venice for six days of fishing. I tried to squeeze a duck hunt in between all of this but I couldn’t seem to wake up. But I missed a easy and quick hunt with limits for everyone. Now on to the fishing. I started this series of trips off with Franklin Hedley and his buddies from South Carolina. I had a tough act to follow since the last time they fished with me this summer we put 13 yellows in the boat and was home early. This trip sarted off on the right foot with all the mullet you would ever want and plenty of perfect hardtails. The first fish of the day was a blue that popped up behind a mullet but he would never commit to eating. After that the grand tour of the gulf started we hit three more rigs and at the third rig we finaly managed to get something in the box a 29” yellowfin. The day was really not going well for us at this time. But I still had one more rig to hit. Thankfully this rig was holding some dolphin and we quickly put five very nice dolphin in the box for a pretty decent consolation prize. If you wanted to count all of the cudas it was a banner day for them.
The following day I had Steve Gibishar and his wife out for Steve’s 50th birthday. I was going to write something up but he beat me to it so I am just going to be a little lazy and copy his post.
Well we decided to go with Capt. Mike Ellis on Relentless for my 50th birthday fishing trip. It was definitely a good call. Capt. Mike has a very appropriate name for his business and boat as he was the most tenacious capt. I've ever fished with. He was relentless in trying to get us our tuna. I don't think I've ever fished with a harder working capt. and he was a genuinly nice guy. We're already trying to figure out how soon we can afford to go again.
One thing that differs from trips in Venice to trips in Florida is that you pay for a trip, not a specific amount of hours. I've been on boats out of Destin where we didn't have much fish when the bite picked up, only to have the capt. tell us that we were out of time and had to head back in. But for 175.00 an hour, we could stay out longer. With Capt. Ellis, we paid for a trip, and he was going to do whatever it took to get us our fish. We left at 6:00 in the morning and got back in at around 7:30 PM. The bite started late and he was determined to get us our fish. I spoke with him a few days after the trip and he said that he didn't get back in till midnight on his trip the day after ours. That's determination!
My wife Char thought the boat was comfortable.
Here's our fist of four tuna coming up.
This is where it all happens.
Here's the Capt. himself.
I'm whooped on this one, it was a little bigger than the others.
I finally won.
This is what we went there for.
My wife working on one. (counting the dolphin, she outfished me)(again)
My wife savoring the heart of her first yellowfin.
My wife with one of her three dolphin, all about the same size.
The final result, four yellowfins and three dolphin.
I want to thank all the people who recommended Capt. Ellis as the trip made for a very memorable birthday. For those of you that haven't been tuna fishing in Venice, you're denying yourself a great time.
Following Steve I had Alex G. ,Karl,Rob,Alexis from Miami come up and fish with me. They also beat me to the punch and put up a report with a ton of pictures. So I am going to do the same thing with their post also.
On Wednesday November 6th marked the day our adventure would begin. The crew consisted of Karl (Flagman), Rob (Pescado), Alexis (LegalLimitII) and Alex G. We left to Venice Louisiana for what would be a fishing trip of lifetime. There were moments when we were sure that it wouldn’t be but when we had almost given up hope things turned around for us in a major way.
Here’s how the day went: Since we were supposed to meet Captain Mike of Relentless Sportfishing Charters at 6:00AM we agreed to get up at 4:45 AM. After having breakfast and getting everything we would be taking with us to the boat ready, we jumped in the car. When I start the car and look over at the clock I see that it’s not 5:45AM, as we’re expecting it to be, but 4:45AM. Everyone forgot to set their clock back for the time difference between Florida and Louisiana so we go back in and sleep another hour until it’s time to go.
We were very pleased when we arrived at the boat. The 33’ Freeman was in spotless condition with excellent tackle and the captain and mate were ready to go!
It was a beautiful day around 70 degrees with the sun shinning brightly. The weather would remain like that for the rest of the day and the seas were 2 feet or less. Catching bait on the way out was not difficult so at this point we’re convinced were going to tear the yellowfin up. Shortly afterwards is when we started to realize that things were not going to be as easy as we thought.
When we pulled up to the first rig, 70 miles offshore, we immediately start to mark big fish at the 200ft rage. We setup a slow troll consisting of live bait (Runners) which results in a small dolphin. We continue to slow troll the area while casting out a popper on a spinning rod to small blackfin tuna busting on the surface. We only managed to get one black and decided to try another nearby rig.
The second rig was also holding fish but they where not coming up to the surface. Since trolling wasn’t working the captain decided to change the approach and we start drifting baits in the 200-300 foot range in order to bring the baits down to them. Bingo, we get a bite. We fight the fish for a few minutes but managed to lose the first 4 solid hits we get. 0 for 4 on the yellow fins and now we are starting to worry. This brings us to approximately 4:00PM with no yellow fin on the boat.
Now we have to make the decision of continuing another 20 miles and trying another rig or heading back home and giving it another try on Friday. With the way things were going it was a very tough question but after the captain advised us that the weather may be a little too sporty to go out on Friday the consensus decision was to continue on. We were all determined not to return to Florida without catching our yellowfin and we were not going to take a chance on the following day. Our decision turned out to be the right one because we would not have been able to go out Friday because of the weather as the captain had advised us might happen and we eventually started to catch fish.
We arrive at the last spot of the day and it immediately looks promising. We hook a large dolphin shortly after starting our troll but wouldn’t you guess it, it pulls the hook and add another lost fish to the list. After we give up on the trolling we start setting up our drifts in the same manner which produced the bites at the other rigs. After several drifts without a bite we start to see more and more yellowfin crashing in the area.
These were not small fish. They all looked over 100#s and our hearts where racing in anticipation of hooking one of these monsters.
Finally, Rob breaks the ice and lands the first yellowfin in the 20#s. range. At this point we’re all thrilled to have the first one in the boat when things really start to heat up.
Just as the sun is about to set Alexis gets a bite. It’s a big fish but we’ve gotten awfully close to the rig and the fish is digging down. At the same time a group of 30#s dolphin who had been swimming around the boat each time we approached the rig decided to also start to bite. We lost the tuna but landed three of the dolphin.
At this point we’re convinced our luck had changed and we were correct. Next thing we see is the small yellowfin caught earlier pulled out of the ice and getting filleted. Sweet sashimi time, so I thought, it turned into chunks and they started going overboard. A concerned look on my face was immediately relieved when yellowfin after yellowfin got hooked on the chunks. We hooked and landed every fish after that. We kept the bigger fish weighing in at 145#s, 135#s, 80#s and 75#s.
To say we ended on a high note is an understatement. If you’ve never caught a tuna over 100#s make sure you’re in pretty decent shape before making the trip. These fish will absolutely kill you. We all have sore muscles we never even knew existed.
Fresh tuna at the marina:
Special thanks to Captain Mike Ellis, from relentless sport fishing, for going the extra mile and putting us on fish. It’s nice to fish with a Captain that has as much passion and hurts as much as you do when a fish is lost. His boat was very impressive and comfortable. The fuel efficient vessel was very appreciated especially at the end of the day when you’re settling fuel cost. He never gave up on us when things just weren’t going our way and the results were spectacular. If you would like to charter Captain Mike his contact information can be found on his website: http://www.relentlesssportfishing.net
. Highly recommended!!
I was part of a two day two boat trip with Billy Wells (Wild Bill Charters). I did get the jump on them and I am putting the report from both trips up before they get a chance to do so. I don’t have any pictures from their trip as I am still waiting on them to be sent to me. The first day I had Tony, Chuck, Bill, and Jeff onboard for a day of tuna fishing. The. weather was just about on the verge of not being worth the run to the chosen area but the Freeman made the 3-5 beam sea very manageable. Mullet was hard to come by for me that day but hardtails were very easy. The fishing started out pretty slow but the dolphin started to come in one by one and we put four nice ones on the ice. The tuna were all marking deep but the marks were rising up shallower. At first there were a couple of bust here and there. Then we got Jeff on his very first yellowfin of which he did a great job on and got to enjoy eating the still beating heart. After a quick cleanup we got back into position and immediately hooked our second fish which Tony beat quick. After that things slowed down and I made the call to head to another rig to look for some easier fish. I should of stayed as Billy got onto some good ones. Of course the next rig was barren and we fished it for awhile with nothing to show for it. We headed to the house with two 70lb yellows and four dolphin. The following day we switched out some crew members and the guys that wanted to go and catch some grouper jumped on my boat. I would like to take credit for the results of this VERY ROUGH day but I can’t. The Kristal 651 did all the work for us along with some volunteer mullet. The trip actually started out slow with the first four bites we had come unhooked on the way up. But after that we shook off the bad mojo and put the smack down on 9 snowy grouper from 15-30lbs and a bouns Warsaw in the 80lb range. I put a cap of ten grouper on the deepwater grouper trips since they take longer to repopulate a rig. We hit our 10 fish limit with ease. And the satisfying thing is we left them snapping hopefully to be left alone until I need them. My crew on this trip are all bottom fishermen from Florida and they said they have never had a grouper trip like this one before. When I get the pictures from both trips I will attach them to this post. It is awesome to live in the Sportsman Paradise.