Tuna Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico

Idled for months by the Deepwater Horizon disaster, charterboat captains and anglers in the Gulf of Mexico have finally been given the green light by NOAA to once again fish offshore and Outdoor Life was on the scene on Saturday and Sunday for one of the first offshore trips. The game plan was to fish for swords on Saturday evening with good friend captain Devlin Roussel of Reel Peace charters, but after spinning out a prop on the way to the swordfish grounds, we were forced to fish some of the close-in rigs for snapper and amberjack. And it didn't take long for the fish to eat. The first fish in the boat was a nice amberjack expertly reeled in by Jessica Cremer (left).
Jessie Milsap (left) was next on the rod and she, too, put the screws to a nice A.J. The bite was on!
It was a steady pick of fish through the night when suddenly the blackfin tuna started crashing baits. Our crew put five nice-size blackfins in the box before the sun came up on Sunday morning. Our engine problems slowed us down a bit, but didn't put us out of commission. The game plan for first light was to hunt down some shrimp boats in an attempt to find yellowfins. The tuna shadow shrimp boats and feed on the bycatch. The water was alive with feeding fish.
Marc Amos was the first to hook up‚ with the first bait in the water. It didn't take long to realize that Marc was into a good fish. The first run was a scorcher and Marc held on for dear life.
The reel's drag screamed steadily for 1 1/2 hours as Marc battled a huge yellowfin.
It was a titanic battle of wills, but Marc finally won out. What a fish!
Unless you've fought a yellowfin, you really can't imagine their sheer power. They're built for speed and power.
Jessie sizes up a true monster.
Time for a date with the fish box.
But the day was young and we were a long way from being done. James Hall was next up on the rod and he, too, was into a huge yellowfin. Not bad for a guy's first yellowfin. His battle lasted an hour and 45 minutes.
A joyous crew with smiles all around. Two 100-plus pound tuna on the very first offshore trip since the Deepwater Horizon disaster. "The Gulf is back!" Roussel shouted while posing for photos.
Amos and Hall with their stud yellowfins. Lots of sushi was about to get iced down.
Back at the dock at Cypress Cove Marina in Venice, we put the fish on the scales.
Marc's yellowfin yanked the scales to 198 pounds‚ no doubt a 200-pound fish had we weighed it immediately.
Hall's fish went 166!
A happy crew and an incredibly successful trip. Great fishing in the Gulf is indeed back.
And here is proof indeed.