We were scheduled to fish for 2 days. Our first day was foggy as usual. The ride down the river was not welcomed. It seemed there was an unusual amount of boat traffic as well as dredge pipes being moved. A bay boat found our wake and followed us all the way to South Pass. Even in South East Pass we could not see both banks. As we headed out the water was a bit better looking. I was already feeling good about the day. I had a good catch 2 days ago and yesterday the bite was very slow. Figured the fish would be hungry again. We went straight to the tuna grounds while others went looking for wahoo and blackfin.
There was no problem getting a king on the troll while attempting to mark the fish. We set up and got into the action almost at once. Our problem was getting our bait past the kings and sharks. We may have lost a tuna or two right off until the guys got the hook set down. Don't wait to feel the fish. Any hint of a bite let the line go, slide the lever drag up and reel like hell. The sharks were a real pain today.
We did hook up a good yellowfin but after about a 20 minute fight it came unbuttoned. Once in I found the problem. The customer had his own gear. He made a wind on loop and attached the fluorocarbon leader to it with his "Special" knot. The loop remained perfect. The knot slipped. The bonito were also active and occasionally we would get a blackfin. The kings kept us in the hook tying business. Fighting the big sharks and yellowfin that never made it to the boat was taking the strength out of the guys. I know we had a yellow throw the hook and another break the line or a toothy critter swam by and cut it. All these fish fight differently and after a while you can tell just what type of fish you have on the other end almost at once.
About noon Dad hooks a monster but part way through the battle he taps out to his son. This big kid did everything right. Once in sight I see a very big, fat, 180 to 210 pound yellowfin. The sickles went all the way to the tail and this stud had monstrous shoulders. I had one gaff and another guy had the second. I think he got excited seeing something like that which is understandable. Instead of letting the fish circle till one of us had a good head shot he reached way out as the fish was diving under the boat. The fish was too deep to hit but he managed to hit the top of the back. The fish shot away and took the gaff out of his hands. The gaff must not have penetrated much because it popped right to the surface and one of the customers retrieved it. The second mistake he made was reaching across the line. Doing that can break the line and/or prevent the gaff from sinking in properly.
About an hour later we hook a speedster on a chunk that makes a few blistering runs back and forth across the port side. I am thinking wahoo but in less than 30 seconds something hits the bow very hard. It only made a few marks on the boats wrap just below the lettering in 2 places. The scratches below those were already there. but then went air born. What an aerial display this 400 to 500 hundred Mako shark put on. I figured we were going to loose in about 2 minutes but the fight lasted for over 25 minutes for us. We had it on a 7/0 circle hook with 100 pound mono leader set up. We had to chase it most of the time as it was spooling the 50 wide Penn with ease. After we lost that beautiful Mako we set up again and managed a nice 50 to 60 pound amberjack for the box.
We never put a yellowfin in the box We ended up with 4 good size blackfin tuna 1 amberjack and 1 king I did not cut up for bait. Can't win them all.
That evening they look at the weather and decide there will be a window to fish in the morning. I got up this morning and got a text. "Stay in bed talk to you later" I replied "Was just about to tell you No fish is worth it." The deadly front that hit us today could have caught us out there.
Life is Good!
Fishing is not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that.
CAPT HOOP -- OUR FREEDOM