This report is a glimpse into the life of every charter fisherman in Venice right now. This story started out as a simple run down to Venice to do some routine maintenance on the boat. It turned out that I would not get home until eight days later. Once I arrived at Cypress Cove it looked like someone had kicked an anthill. There were satellite trucks all over and media crews from all over the world were running around with cameras and microphones wanting a story. Well we gave them a story but it has now come back to bite us in the ass. We were all scared of what could happen if they closed our fishery. How would we pay our house and boat notes and feed our family and send our children to school. So unfortunately we gave them the story they wanted. With the threat of not having a source of income coming we all started running media trips to take them to see oil boom and different rookeries. Meanwhile as the stories started to hit the TV paper and newspapers around the world. The phone calls started to come in not to book charters but to cancel. Some of my cancellations were all the way into August. The story was the same thing we are not coming because of the oil, we can’t eat the fish,fishery is closed and any number of other oil related excuses.
With the oil not hitting the beaches the media started to get antsy and started to get real pushy wanting the story of doom and gloom. Which simply wasn’t there all I managed to find was a little light sheen on the surface. Now after several days of this it started to get kind of old and stressfull being at the center of this with no information. It was time to go fishing. The 20-30 knot winds that had been hammering Venice finaly let up and dropped and we had mirror calm conditions. Perfect right, NO the clients I had canceled out. So here I am stressed out and perfect weather and no clients. A couple of other charter operations got out a put a whipping on the tuna. So the scramble was on to call some of my regular customers to come and get in on the great tuna fishing. I only had to make a couple of phone calls. Before Jared and his brother Schawn and Bret from Texas said were on the way. I rounded up Scott a hunting buddy from Mississippi to finish off our crew.
I don’t think I have ever been more excited the day before a trip than I was this time. I iced the boat heavier than normal in anticipation of the slaughter that was to come. I went over everything. Then the ultimate oh s_ _ t I have no tackle down here. Remember this started out as a simple routine maintenance trip. But I was able to borrow some gear then I spent more time going over it and changing line and tying new leaders and hooks. With Scott’s help and a special guest appearance by the captain himself, Captain Morgan the rod work was done before the alarm clock went off.
Finaly here is the story I have been building up to. Arrived at the marina and loaded the rods and the crew. The conditions could not have been better. [img]http://www.forumpictureprocessor.com/pictureprocessor/images/DSC04660_1.jpg[/img]
There was no horizon the surface just melted into the sky. We were on the lookout for oil slicks so the livewell pickups could be shut down but we never ran over a drop of oil. We ran across several weedlins loaded with chicken dolphin. We didn’t bother to stop to pick any up since we had a date with the yellowfin. Once we got to the first rig the tuna were going nuts on the surface maybe they were jumping out of the water to escape the oil they heard was all over the gulf. We quickly made bait and pulled off to try our luck with them. After several perfect shots at them with poppers the livebaits went out and the first fish of the day was soon in the box. This was Schawn’s first yellowfin ever so the trip was a success. [img]http://www.forumpictureprocessor.com/pictureprocessor/images/IMG_1340_4.jpg[/img]
With the fish being very picky there we picked up and made an18 mile run to the southeast where we quickly picked up two right off the bat on live baits. [img]http://www.forumpictureprocessor.com/pictureprocessor/images/me%20&%20sean.jpg[/img]
Then the key to the fish was found and we put it to good use. The only problem was we had to make more bait since we used exactly what they wanted up. Back to bait fishing: Luckily this rig had the absolute most perfect red tail scad on it. Here is a shot to show you how thick they were.
This rig would be our final stop the yellows were marking real thick on the sounder and the lack of man-o-war jellies and the small bait under them were no where to be seen. I forgot to mention it but this rig is about 15 NM from where the Horizon was anchored. The first fish came as I was letting it out and the second fish hit as I was putting it in the rigger. With them biting like that I didn’t even bother putting them in the riggers. We just fished them on flat lines. Before we knew it we had 13 yellow fin in the 35-60lb range in the box around 3PM so with 80 miles to the dock we cleaned up and headed north. The best part was when I had Scott throw the rest of the bait overboard it all ran under the boat and when we took off they had nowhere to hide and the tuna went nuts destroying them on the surface. On the way in we ran across another group of animals that didn’t know they should not be here because of the oil and it was a pod of whales. Not what you would expect in an oil polluted gulf. The amount of life right now offshore is amazing. Every rig we checked had yellow fin and there were open water schools of tuna from well offshore all the way to the pass. Every charter that has managed to put trips together has been able to box at least 10 yellow fin a trip. So people PLEASE DON’T CANCEL YOUR TRIPS YOU TRUSTED ME AND THE OTHER CAPTAINS YOU BOOKED SO CALL AND TRUST OUR JUDGEMENT NOW BEFORE YOU JUST CANCEL.