October is a very busy month for fishing. I have not been able to post anything for a long time. I had a customer that fishes with me a lot. Vee (how it is pronounced) wanted to get some yellowfin and maybe blacks. We found some shrimp boats in close and got some bait from them. I headed out looking for shrimp boats in deeper water but due to the weather there were none out there. I wasted most of the morning looking for them or blackfin tuna on the deep water rigs. It was quite uncomfortable to remain any longer so we went in looking for other fish. We managed some mangrove snapper, almaco jacks, and a few kings for the day. Tough day with not much to talk about.
The next day they wanted to stay in close and target kings and blue runners (hard tails). With 5 Vietnamese men on board what ever way they want and me not understanding anything they were saying it was going to be another interesting day. Little did my deckhand and I know how interesting it was going to be.
I went straight to the Empire rigs. These are 8 miles from land and very shallow. We started jigging for bait with a sabiki rig. The hardtails went in the fish box and the barrel belly fish went in the live well for drift lining for kingfish. Due to the current I kept the motors running all day. They are very quiet and only burn about a gallon an hour while idling. Normally I would turn them off but for some reason I kept them running which would be a big factor later in the day. We were getting kings and loosing a lot even though I was using wire. It was chaotic to say the least but some were making the fishbox. I was running out of 141 malin wire.
Towards the end of the day one of them casts a drift line out the side so it can drift back towards the other 4 drift lines out the back. the lines got tangled a few times. They dealt with it without us getting involved much and nothing got into the motors so all was well. As the line was drifting back something hits it and starts running out and around the rig. I looked up and saw this 8000 reel spool shrinking fast. the motors were already running and they were turned in the right direction so I slammed them in reverse and yelled for Brent to cast off. He was already in front and when I looked in his direction he was throwing the lineout of his hand. in this short time the spool was still getting dangerously thin. The guys with the drift lines still in the back started reeling them in and had to go to the bow to finish getting them in. This rig is not a well head it is a very large rig in 50 feet of water that holds a lot of mangrove snapper, red snapper, and cobia. I had no idea what we had on but it was big and running where ever it wanted to go. After chasing the fish in reverse all the way to the other side of the rig it headed out away from the rig. This allowed me to get the boat in a position I could get the fisherman in the middle of the boat and I could help the fisherman with the use of the boat. The first thought was a record king or cobia. As the fight wore on well over a half hour I was thinking maybe a monster jack Crevalle or a big shark. We still had no idea what was there but it was big. It tired out more and came near the surface. I noticed a flash way out there and I said Jack. My deckhand had a higher advantage and said yellowfin tuna. I said "No way not in these waters". About 5 minutes later I saw the monster. What the heck was it doing in 50 feet of water at the Empire rigs? It was lost for sure but it was going to be mine unless something goes wrong before it is introduced to the gaff. We got 2 gaffs in it and The guys were jumping around and going nuts yelling in Vietnamese. The tuna was still hanging off the boat and with then crowding us I could not get it in the boat. I felt like I was in a crowd at times square on New Years Eve.
This topped off the box and we headed in with a limit of kings and our trophy fish that was lost. We started on the left side of the rig in the background and went behind it to the right side before I had control of the situation and ended up where we took this picture. Back at the dock it was time to tell an unbelievable fish story with the pictures to back me up. This fish topped the scales at 104 pounds.
The following day I had four guys and we went for yellows and some blacks. We lost 2 good yellowfin and were only able to bring in 8 blackfin tuna.
The next day I decked for RJ Hunting and fishing. This day we had a couple that fished Alaska a lot but never down here actually targeting tuna. We made the run out to a rig where we had been getting some good fish. Although we marked them very well they would not bite. About 8 other boats came and with no action they went on to other rigs. We were alone and I was thinking a move was in order. Mike choose to stay there and hope for something to get stupid enough to take our offerings. We were soon rewarded for our patience. After a little over a half hour fight this 110 pound beauty was ours.
The bite was slow and we lost a few but we ground it out. We had plenty of bait. Eventually she does battle with a good size blackfin.
We lost a few others throughout the day but just the yellow and black to show for our efforts. It is getting late and the customer said he had a good day and was very happy with the big boy in the box and was ready to head in. Our bait was almost done so we made one last drift while I cleaned up the boat a bit. The line the wife is feeding out starts screaming and you could tell it was a good fish right from the start. We belted her in with a harness and the battle was on. Once we landed this fish we were ready to head in with the icing on the cake.
Could not ask for a better ending. Yes there are 3 fish in the picture. One is hanging in the middle.
Life is Good!
Fishing is not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that.
CAPT HOOP -- OUR FREEDOM