Jeffery and I had been planning this trip for a while. He has been fishing this area for a while and finally decided to hire me for some additional knowledge. We met at Cypress Cove Marina and waited for a little bit of light. The fog was thick so a bit of vision may help.
Right from the beginning the lessons would start. It did not take long for him to realize the radar at 1/8 and 1/4 mile is what you use in situations like this. We had an open window to cross at the jump and he had no track on the East side so we crossed the mighty Mississippi. He now has a track on his system if needed. I like running the east side in the fog because there I not as much boat traffic and it is usually safer and easier to cross there instead of at the head of passes. Once in the gulf the fog was still hind of thick for about 3 miles. He had a track he had run several times before so not a problem. Unfortunately that brought us dangerously close to the sand bar out of North East Pass. We made an adjustment without incident. I showed him the safe way to run as we came in so he will not get in trouble again. 50 to 100 feet off course could have put him on the bar in open water with his old tracks.
We trolled several rigs on the way out not marking anything. The water was dirty every where we went. Not starting out well. Once at my desired area I set out some Russelures while looking for some good marks. We get hit and have a king on. Right at the boat a shark comes up for breakfast. I cut up what we had left and turned it into yellowfin. On our first drift we are blessed with a nice 97 pounder.
They wanted tuna and this was a great way to start. Once almost everybody got into the program it made the job easier. 2 of the guys were helping us chum. One got over it as the day went on but one wished he never left the dock. We did a lot of hook tying. The kings were brutal. Every now and then we would get one to the boat. This monster king was one of them. It was the biggest we had for the day. My guess is 50 to 60 pounds. A lot of bait for us.
We battled the sharks also. We had hammerheads and blacktip sharks mostly. One almost took a 60 pound amberjack right off the gaff. It was exciting to see them attack right at the surface. We were getting wet from the splashing as the attack was going on.
There was no doubt what we had when this hog hit. The challenge was to get it in before it became shark bait. When it made it's first run I said "That's the real thing". We already had 3 in the box by this time and this would be our best fish of the day.
Note the straight gaff in the picture. You get what you pay for. We were lucky we had another gaff in it when we got it on the deck. I fixed it right on the boat and showed him how to do it in an emergency. A shinny gaff at Bass Pro or Academy can not match an Aftco or any other well built gaff. The right tool for the right job. Another lesson learned. This guy tipped the scales at 136 pounds.
We put another in the boat and added a pair of very nice 60 and 62 pound amberjack to our box. The 62 pounder was almost another shark disaster. He attempted to get the fish right off the gaff. luck was on our side. We called it at close to 3:00. By the time we got everything cleaned up it was dark.
Life is Good!
Fishing is not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that.
CAPT HOOP -- OUR FREEDOM