Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Venice Louisiana Offshore Tuna Fishing!

We left Morton at 3 am on Saturday morning with 12 guys, 8 coolers, a change or two of clothes, and high hopes of catching some big fish down in Venice. This was the first time ocean fishing for most of the guys, so that made it even more exciting yet. Offshore fishing is my alltime favorite outdoor activity so I got a few miles under my belt out in the blue water!

We arrived down at the Yellow Cotton Bay Cabins at about 5:00 pm Saturday evening, dropped off our clothes and headed down to the Marina to see what all the boats caught that day. They were pouring in from offshore with nice catches of Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Snapper, and Grouper. We were excited!!!


The Venice Marina has a nice little restaurant so we gobbled down a bunch of seafood before heading back the 6 miles to our cabins at Yellow Cotton Bay.  The highlight of the meal was for sure the world famous seafood baked potato. It is stuffed with shrimp and smothered in a chowder like seafood bisque:

So up at 3:30 am Sunday morning Dave O and I made bacon and eggs for everyone to gobble down at 4 am. We were at the dock at 4:40 am, loaded the 2 boats and headed out for a deep sea fishing adventure with captain Josh and the crew at Deep South Charters. One of our boats went 70 miles offshore one way, and my boat went about 50 miles offshore the other way.

We stopped at the mouth of the mighty Mississippi and cast netted up a bunch of pogies for bait for the day and then we were off. The seas were calm and we were running 45 miles per hour so it took us just over an hour from the Mississippi to get to our first spot.

Nothing was happening at our first spot so we headed out another 10 miles to another spot and quickly hooked into this nice yellowfin tuna. Dave O battled this fish for about 10 minutes and was about ready to hand off the rod out of exhaustion when I said no way. So I got in a good position to leverage the rod for him and it wasnt 5 minutes later he brought this beast boat side for the crew to gaff! We were pumped!!! This is a pic of Dad and Dave holding up our first yellowfin!

About 20 minutes later and we hook a "big one" on a free lined live pogie. Chris and Jason battle this fish together for probably close to 25 minutes and when we get it close to the boat the crew starts freaking out that it isnt a yellowfin, but rather a monster wahoo!! Thats when everyone started to get real nervous cause wahoo have the sharpest teeth in the ocean and we were using a 60 lb fluorocarbon leader. Typically you need steel for any hope of landing a large wahoo and even then I have seen fish bite through the steel leaders.

Well, you see the pic! We landed that monster wahoo and we were more than excited!!

The next couple hours we missed a mahi mahi that hit a topwater popper I was casting off the front, but thats about it. We didnt so much as get another bite till for several hours. Then we decided to change up tactics and head for a big weedline that we saw on the way out. We pulled up to the weedline and started trolling some big plugs and ballyhoo and were just about to give up on that technique when we hit the motherload of a fishing spot.

This big bull mahi mahi came out from the weedline and slammed our surface bait. Todd battled the fish for about 10 minutes and we got very lucky that it didnt throw the hook as it leaped several times all the way out of the water! By far the biggest mahi mahi we have ever caught:

There were a couple other boats in the vicinity already catching mahi mahi along this weedline and they were reporting lots of marlin in the area too. Well it didnt take us long to spot massive marlin busting schools of bait just 50 yards from the boat! Awesome! The captain and mate wanted really bad to try and catch one of these beasts, but none of us were really too excited about a 3 hour battle with one of those beasts. 20 minute battles with normal sized big fish was about all we could handle.

Then out of nowhere a school of massive tunas showed up on this weedline and it was game on. The other boats were hooking up with 60-80 lb yellowfins when my live bait got hammered. I immediately handed off the rod to one of the guys to reel in and after 15 minutes the rod went to the next guy, the next guy, the next guy and the next guy until all the guys on the boat were completely worn out.

Then I battled that fish for the next one hour and seven minutes and finally after a battle of just over 2 hrs we landed this monster yellowfin tuna!

Got the fish in, mustered up enough strength for a pic and headed the 1.5 hrs back in to the marina. We got back in just a hair before 6 pm. We only caught 4 keeper fish all day, but they were all 4 fish of lifetime!! Since we were planning on fishing 2 days we decided to go for big fish the first day and lots of fish the second day. Definitely I recommend offshore fishing 2 days to give you a chance at big fish, but also a back up plan for reeling in lots of fish.

When 3 out 4 fish are just about 6 feet long, and the fourth is over 4' thats a pretty good tub of meat at the end of the day.

Out of Venice we fish 6 out of a boat so this was just the account of my boats fishing adventure. Justin's boat didnt make it back to the dock till about 7 pm so we waited anxiously to hear about their first day of adventure... stay tuned, I have absolutely tons more pics and stories, the fishing only got better from this point moving on.....

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