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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Late report -

Son Brazos of Catchem Offshore, brother Dr. David T, and I trailered esCape (19' Cape Horn) from Dallas down to Venice, LA. for 4 days of fishing (June 17-20) with my from-boyhood fishing friends Woody, Bouf, and Steve on their Absolut (24 ft HydraSport) out of Cypress Cove Marina. Woody picked the fishing days 4 months ago, but could not have picked a more ideal weather window. 4-6 foot seas during the drive down, 0-1 foot seas when fishing (except during the lightly scattered storm cells), and solid storm cells on the departure date to force us to leave as scheduled, instead of staying a few extra days and playing hooky as we contemplated that last morning.

1st morning drove down from New Orleans, picked up 200 lbs of Pogies for chunking from Capt Larry's, stopped again to ice down at one of those great ICE-by-the-BASKETFULL places along that route (wish I knew an ice source like that in Freeport?). We headed out of South Pass, past bustling Port Eades (its hard to imagine a more remote port in the U.S.). First action, after making live bait, was AJ fishing. The deep line took off, but instead of the AJ pull it went all over the realestate, on all corners of the rig, out past the boat, back toward the rig. Our first thought was SHARK! Nope, Kingfish, Nope, turned out to be a Barracuda. Little later brought in a nice shark on the AJ rig, no wire. Cut loose without worrying about if legal/illegal type as no sharks allowed in Louisianna waters till end of June, so fed regs did not really matter. Headed out to MC243 to chunk-drift with little action. Trolled a variety of different spreads around the rig area, but always returned before getting to the buoy. Absolut went in search of a rip. Trolling it resulted in a Wahoo on a large pink diving MirrorLure, and several nice hookups on large Dolphin on pink bubblers. Absolut also tried something new for us, chunking-drifting the rip. Problem was keeping the drift in sync with the rip. Late afternoon schooling tuna were busting around the MC243 buoy. Luckily Brazos had borrowed TJ's heavy spinning outfit, so he and David threw a popper to the schooling tuna, and between the two boats we boated several Blackfin Tuna, Skipjack Tuna, and many Bonita. Sharks kept attacking the fish as they where being hauled in. The buoy and associated line were the hotspots for the popper and for trolling (wonder if they held the action earlier in the day when I was hanging closer to the rig?, or was it just time of day difference).

2nd day Mark drove down from New Orleans, brought 50 lbs of hopefully fresher Pogies (is there such a thing?), and we all headed out Tiger Pass. Tiger Pass is beautiful, winding through trees and water lilies, avoids all the large Mississippi river ship traffic, yet is actually quicker/shorter when the West Delta area is smooth. We were headed to Medusa and the floater Lexington. On way out stopped at a small rip/weedline about 10 miles out of Southwest Pass to make some bait. Hardtails were having a feeding frenzy in the grass. Made a little bait with spoons and sabikis and just as leaving someone spotted "busting Tuna" back in the dirty water toward Southwest Pass (you can see forever on deadcalm seas). We thought no way, to close in, and the water is an ugly color. Chased multiple schools around for a few minutes tossing poppers into what remained each time we got on location. Then someone spotted busting tuna back at the weedline, in the clean water, and this time they were coming completely out of the water. YFT! Managed 3 nice hookups on the spinning reels, each lasted for a good fight, but each was lost before making it all the way in the boat (I think we need a little more practice/grace with the lighter Spinning outfit, can't man-handle them in). My first time to ever see all those YFT jumping clean out of the water all over, leaping as if they were porpoises. And all this action at 10 miles out of Southwest Pass and in fairly dirty water, and to get hooked up multiple times with casting a popper. Most AMAZING fishing scene I have ever witnessed first hand. Got quiet for 20 or so minutes so JADED fishermen we were that morning, decided to headed on out to the floater Lexington where the action was bound to be even HOTTER. We trolled, and trolled, and trolled. Then chunked-drifted. NADA. Waited out a storm cell that blew in between Medusa and Lexington. Lightening chased us in closer as the Absolut's VHF antenna kept buzzing. Ended the day well with AJ and Grouper action for both boats. Then stopped outside of Southwest Pass for some red (deep) and mutton (mid-depth on pogies) snapper as our Venice hosts get a little nervous when the fish boxes still have room.

3rd day storm cell on radar appeared out of nowhere and grew right on top of Venice before moving to the southwest. Kept us in for a couple of hours or so and then we decided to head out Southwest Pass to go under the storm. This storm stayed on top of Tiger Pass and West Delta for a while. On way back in Tiger Pass was surreal, with floating lily pads all through the pass and out to the Gulf. couldn't see what was pass and what was not. The lily pads made the entire area look like the areas I normally avoid, and had to rely heavily on the markers for confidence to blast through them. Dolphin were the fish of the day. On the esCape, Dolphin were hitting a small Pink MirrorLure non-stop, with very little hitting the rest of the spread (Pink Bubblers, Squid, bait-o-matic with flying fish and pogies, Rapala....). The Absolut was having luck casting along the weedline with spoons as they trolled their spread. Lots of smaller dolphin in both boats boxes, but no large Dolphin were even hooked up? Tried Wahoo trolling and bait trolling down deep with planers. Kept going back to Dolphin trolling as thats where the action was. Stopped to hit some snapper (dogtooth and red) outside of Southwest Pass.

4th day headed out Tiger Pass to try to re-locate the YFT that were 10 miles out of Southwest Pass. No luck, no rift found. Headed toward Medusa and floater Lexington. In site of Lexington but still no rift. However the north wind started building along with the seas so headed back north while we still could. AJs kept breaking the 30lb line on the TLD20 and Penn Senators, so borrowed the Tiagra with 80 lb test from the Absolut. Quickly landed our trip best AJ. Headed out towards Lena and found a weedline starting. Trolled and fly-fished dolphin for the afternoon. Lots of action around the weedpatches. Catchem Offshore Brazos had some double-secret smaller plastic skirts that were getting most of the hits. We had caught ample live bait while trolling, so decided to put it to work. AJ fished and got Almaco Jack and 2 boat limits of AJs. Then back north towards Southwest pass for a few more snapper. Then one last run up to Tiger Pass, with West Delta full of surfacing pogies every few yards as far as the eye could see.

Thanks Tex for verifying that Lexington was still on-site, TJ for the use of the spinning outfit, Rick (McGolfer) for the suggestion on Popper style/color (and you were right Rick, the split ring pulled out on the first BlackFin and we had to fix on the spot as it was the only thing getting strikes). We would have been in sad shape without the spinning and popper, watching the Absolut do all the YFT action while esCape was trying to drift pogies into the constantly moving action. And thanks to Catchem Offshore for DONATING :>) all those fine AJ rigs, plastics, and other fine tackle we burnt through in 4 short days!

Lots of great fish, cooked and raw (sushi, sashimi, ceviche), and superb cajun cooking by our Venice hosts, Woody and Bouf.

Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Pics

1. Dr David T with esCape's largest AJ
2. Catchem with Baracuda
3. Catchem at Cypress Cove Marina cleaning tables with 2-boat 4th day catch
4. Catchem with nice AJ and borrowed Absolut's AJ Reel.
5. YFT on the Absolut - pic from a different trip, but size that was busting clean out of the water 10 MILES OUTSIDE of Southwest Pass... Unbelievable!!
6. Catchem with shark
 

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great report and nice photo's. you guys are snake bit on the yellowfins. i am glad you at least got hooked up to a few. you saved your crew a lot of greif by not boating those top water fish. those tuna can beat you to death with their tails and then you have to clean all those fish. to much work....rick
 

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Going to Venice...

Thanks for the good report Escape. A buddy of mine called last night and is pulling his boat to Venice in a few weeks and I was just invited. I Won't pass this trip up as I would love to tangle with some tuna. He has hired Eddie Burger to guide us for 1 day but we will be on our own for 2-3 days. We have fished Venice before but just during Lump season.

I would like to know what type of poppers were you throwing and what baits you trolled. Also do u have the name and number of that Ice/bait place you stopped at on Rt 23.

Any info would be apperciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Highway 23 Ice

Gauthier's Seafood & Grocery
Address: 29838 Hwy 23, Port Sulphur, LA 70083 Phone:(985) 564-3403West side of road, south of Port Sulphur before Empire. Cute friendly help, clean place.

If you miss it, there is another place on the west side further down south that has the ice house on the road side of the store, ICE on the ice house, and it looks as if the icehouse was actually on a truck trailer. It also sells ice by the basketfull, but dont remember its name.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Popper style we had good hits on

This is the popper style/color that McGolfer turned us on to. It's the offshore angler LazerEye Surf Popper, I believe Croaker color.

For Dophin trolling our biggest hitters number-wise were PinkBubblers, pink diving mirror lures, a smaller bullet head plastic (different colors) from Catchem Offshore, and a chrome/dorado colored rattletrap.

For tuna, we were trolling dead pogies, live flying fish, and live hardtails with baitomatics, mostly behind planers. Also spent many hours trolling the bigger stuff (variety of ballyhood, islanders, cedar plugs, diving rapalas, glow squids) without hits.

Absolut had some success trolling Marauders and a large pink diving MirrorLure.
 

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Venice

Thanks Escape for all your help...I will pick up a few of those poppers..did u replace the hooks on those poppers? I put another thread out and Earl suggested that I replace the hooks....U never know when ur gonna get a big dog on over there!

Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Chica Dolphin Jets - smaller plastics we had action on

Checked with my son last night, and the name of those smaller plastics that we were having all the hits on our 4th day trolling is the "Chica Dolphin Jet". He added them to his website at CatchemOffshore. As usual he brought onboard lots of new-to-me tackle. These Chica's were the plastics that stood out as consistently having hits, more so than my previous favorite action plastic, PinkBubblers. I usually just buy the few lures I have faith in and troll them to death. Catchem likes to keep swapping out the spread, and I guess I was the benefactor as I now have a new favorite. Seemed like blue-and-white and a greenish color might have been the favorites, but everytime a fish came in it seemed to have a different color skirt with it.

Regarding the hooks/split-rings on the offshore angler poppers, Yes, I definitely would change out the splitrings and hooks. McGolfer warned us but I didnt get a chance before we left. Very first Blackfin Tuna straightened out the splitring on the way in the boat. Luckily the fish was already gaffed and in the boat.
 
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