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Hoover Tuna Trip 2/22/08

6130 Views 51 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  SkeeterRonnie
When I left town to head to the coast late Thursday afternoon it was 83 degrees with clear sky's. :) When I hit the middle of Corpus Christi, it turned into Fog. :( In fact I couldn't even see Roy's as I passed it on SPID. I had never seen fog so thick as it was on top of the Kennedy bridge. It took one hour which is normally about a 20 minute to Port A.

A couple of weeks ago, a buddy asked me go out in a large center console to Boomvang this weekend. He was just waiting for his radar to get put back in order. Meanwhile I booked two spots with Deep Sea Headquarters just in case. The radar unit was not fixed in time, so we arrived at DSH at 5AM. The weather was still foggy, muggy and hot. When we started loading our gear into the Gulf Eagle, the cold front arrived. The temperature dropped and the winds were blowing around 25-30 knots from the North.

We arrived at Hoover about an hour before sunset and began trolling. We picked a number of cudas and then prepared to start jigging for blackfins as the sun set. We did one drift and then were heading back to the floating rig for a second drift. It was now dark. As we were pulling up to the rig and making adjustments for the drift a horrible screeching sound roared out and stopped one of the engines. It took less than one-second to stop the big diesel engines. The guy I was standing next to turned to me and said "That didn't sound good."

The engines would run but the wheels wouldn't turn. Either the gears in the transmissions or something stunk in the wheels. Capt. Keith got us together for a meeting and informed us that we were dead in the water and would wait until sunrise to send the deckhands under the boat to check the wheels. He was in contact with the rig and kept the engines idling to keep the batteries charged so the electronics could continue to operate. Their was a good possibility that whatever the props had grabbed could be cut out and we would be back in business. Basically everything was fine except the wheels wouldn't turn in either direction. The wind was still blowing 25 knots from the North and we were drifting south (away from Port) at a fast rate. The lights were working fine so we continued to fish as we drifted away. This was the beginning of the possibly the longest drift in fishing history.

During the night someone hooked onto a string of nylon at the transom. After pulling on it you could see a short portion of this huge three inch diameter nylon rope. This big chunk of rope wasn't seen by anyone. It just happened to be drifting across the gulf stream slight below the surface. We just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. When the sun rose, and there was enough light, the dockhands were sent under the boat to see if they could free the rope. The huge rope was wrapped very tightly all the way around the wheels and drive shaft on both engines. Not good. At this point we had drifted south around 17 NM from Hoover. Different options came up throughout the day on what would happen next.

Divers were on the way. If they couldn't free us, a boat would have to make to long haul to tow us back. That would have taken a very long time as we were around 155 NM from port and still drifting away. The divers made it to the boat along with a mechanic just before sunset.:) We had been drifting for about 23 hours. We were probably half way between Hoover and Boudreaux.

To be continued after I eat supper. (Hopefully I won't fall asleep!!!!)
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I just got back from eating a huge Mexican dinner. Here are your choices for the next thirty minutes while I finish it.

A) Me and my friend paid the Venture Capt for a ride home.
B) The rope is still wrapped around the wheels and is now finally in tow.
C) The rope was removed and we made it back to the dock in time.
The diver's arrived in one of my favorite boats. A 39 Venture with triple's. That boat is fast. It got to us in four hours. I've fished on one those before and it's a dream boat for me. They were drifting about 50 yards from us as the divers were putting on their wet suits and gear. When they pulled up to the transom, the mechanic boarded the Gulf Eagle and went into the engine room. The divers went overboard to do their thing. Within minutes sections of rope were seen floating on the surface. In ten minutes there was this huge section of rope was being pulled into the Gulf Eagle.

After the rope was cleared from the wheels the Capt. put it in gear to give a test. All was well. Shafts didn't get bent and we were free to go. Capt. Keith called another meeting. He said we could either just run back to the dock or he would take us to one of his honey holes for some Blackfin jigging on the way towards port. We opted to go fishing. It was a great spot. The blackfins were thick and very nice size. Some were hitting the decks around 25 pounds and most in the 15 to 20 pound range. We made in back to the dock Sunday morning around 8AM.

Things happen out on the water. It was a fluke that we got caught up in that rope. You certainly can't blame DSH for that rope wrap. They came through and got us back to the dock on time. We all received a gift certificate of 100 dollars to be used on future trips for up to one year.

I was totally entertained on this trip by two characters. One of my best friends who I have fished with for most of my life joined me at the last moment. He hasn't been on a party boat in many many years. His comments and strong personality had me laughing many many times throughout the ordeal. After we showered and sat down to relax, I asked him if what it would take to do it again this week. His comment was priceless and I will keep it to myself. I laughed till I had tears running down my face.

The other was Hyper Man. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him arrive at the dock the first morning. He's a real piece of work. We have become good friends and will fish together this summer. There is no doubt that some very interesting things will happen when the three of us join again.
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i have to admit I'm a bit disappointed that there are no pics of hyper man destroying some tuna

Who said there isn't!!!!!!!!:D
That guy is one active individual. He even started catching these 18 to 30" squid as we drifted away the first night. He ate one.:eek: I lost out on a couple of big blowups tossing poppers that night even though we were 10 to 15 miles from the rig.

During the day, I tossed swimbaits and poppers most of the day. I'm surprised I'm not sore. I probably tossed plugs for 12 hours on this trip. I was very close to hooking up many times. I just can't cast 150 to 200 yards.:mad:

We drifted across at least 20 schools of YF's that day. The wind was dying down and it was full sunlight. They would not show themselves when we got about 200 yards to them. There are a lot of YF's out there in that 6000 feet to 8000 feet of water. They are under the birds about 80% of the time. Sometimes they would be airborne without the birds present.

I was the only one on board that brought a spinning outfit. Hyperman can toss a popper 75 yards with a conventional reel. He was the only guy on board with a fly reel. He has caught 3 blue marlin and numerous billfish using a fly rod. He is an very experienced fisherman. He's done three or four 14 day LR trips out of SD.

I'll talk about tackle that failed and some that just wouldn't fail later when I get some time. I was very impressed with one braided line. Without it, I wouldn't have caught blackfin very single drop while other were taking three or four drops. I lost some very expensive jigs and swimbaits, and yet caught a bunch of fish with standard everyday stuff. I broke or something went wrong with one of my two speeds. :mad: It would only work in low gear, which is almost worthless when jigging.
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We stopped twice on the way to port. Falcon was full of little kingfish and cuda's. :mad: They were stealing jigs left and right. I would say of the six kingfish that got hooked and didn't cut off the jig, committed suicide. The cudas were cutting them in half. Only kingfish heads made it to the boat. We left and ran back to port. I thought it was calm at falcon. You should have been at Hoover the night before with the wind blowing your hat off your head while drifting. I found it pleasant as I usually sweat all night. I love the free air conditioning when the cold fronts arrive.:D It's 94 degrees outside right this minute. Laredo is supposed to hit 102 today.:eek:

I wouldn't go to Falcon right now. To many little kings and cuda's. If you want kings, just go to aransas or southern. Were you the guys tied up to the rig, or the guys in the sportsfisherman with the underwater lights below the transom?
mr bill - did you use the baker 12???

Yes, and no.:confused:

My goal on this trip was to put it to the test. John Baker knows that there are some shifting problems and will fix it for free if you send him the reel. I just haven't done it yet. It was the first reel I pulled out for jigging at the rig.
My second drop it kept jumping out of high gear as I was jigging. I never could get it back in high gear again the rest of the trip.

I will say that the drag was very smooth on the fish I caught with it. It's my fault for not sending it back to JB for a fix. It's very frustrating trying to keep a jig active in low gear. The anodized finish he puts on the reel is outstanding. It repels the saltwater as if it was waxed. It's a real nice sized reel. Hyperman loved it. He cranks so fast that he didn't even know he was in low gear until I told him.

He had just bought a new Avet and was trying it out. He also likes to pour on the drag and couldn't understand why his new reel was so hard to crank at full. Since I don't know much about Avets, I told him it was common to all lever drag reels. I handed him a Torsa to try out. He said it was the smoothest reel he hand ever cranked. I just might have to agree with him. I had put my torsa's aside lately to try the Accurate 665 two speeds. I don't think there is a reel out there with a smoother drag and cranking than the torsa.

Here's a pic of the Baker on its first outing along with some wildlife on the trip.


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The biggest squid I saw that night was almost three feet in length. We didn't have and lights with us so we sent one out with a 16oz bank sinker tied off about 4 feet above the rigged live squid. It soaked for over three hours without any takers. The one being held in the above picture was eaten by humans.:)


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I'm sure John Baker will take care of it. I like the reel a lot. I just have to remember to send it off. I tested a couple of new toys this weekend. As far as rods, I put the new OTI stuff to the test along with another jigging rod. I'm not associated with any tackle company and if it's not good I will break it.

First off, I used a jigging rod (Genesis Oceancraft Long Range Special) It's a great rod rated for jigs from 320 to 525 grams and a max drag of 30lbs. It's a very nice light weight rod that is easy to handle and works the jigs without much effort. I like it a lot.

I also took a custom made OTI 600gram jigging rod by Txseadog. It is almost identical in weight and size to the Genesis. This is another great rod. Lots of power. At one point the deckhands were swamped and there was no gaff in site. So, I did something I don't recommend, but when the blackfins are thick and biting, I started bouncing them into the boat. Some of these were in the 16 to 20 pound range. I cranked the fish to within six inches of the tip with the tip at the water line. I used a slow gentle lift to heave them over the rail.

I only took one spinning rod and that was the OTI 7'6" 2pc 80# rod. I have a custom one and the production one. I took the production one. I really like the grip. The flat part on the bottom of the grip is great for putting finger pressure on the line while casting. I tossed poppers for hours and hours with this rod. It loads up great the two piece section never became unlined on me in hard two days. I once again did a couple of things I don't recommend, but I just wanted to see what it could handle. I tied a 12 ounce bank sinker on and started casting with it. I also bounced a nice size blackfin into the boat.
If someone told me I could only take one rod and reel combo to do it all on a floater trip, I would pick the 7'6" 2pc and a Stella 20K. The rod can be used for jigging as I caught a few fish with it. Obviously it's harder to jig with a longer rod, but if you have decent size arms, it's very do-able.

The jig of the weekend was jitterbel 320gr in the yellow glow color. That poor jig went through hell. At one point after 10 straight blackfins in a row I saw where the assist hook cord was getting worn from the tunas little teeth. My gut feeling was to put on another assist hook before dropping it again. But, I got lazy and kept going. In two hours that one single jig caught 22 blackfins in the 12 to 25 pound range. The assist cord actually made it to the end. The jig itself took a beating as tuna bounced on the deck of the boat time and time again. I broke the top part of the jig to-wards the end of the run by sticking it in a amberjacks head to subdue him. It still caught three more tuna before I surrendered to pain in my arms.

I fell in love with the depthfinder line. Once I found the target depth of the tuna, I counted off the colors to the magic 225 feet. Everybody else on the boat were catching tuna, but not one after another on every single drop. This particular night the tuna were thick from 200 to 250 feet. That colored line is great. Well worth the price. All the money you spend traveling to a fishing spot is down the tubes if you waste your time guessing about how far your jig has dropped.

Heres a picture of the assist cord and jig after 22 tuna. Notice I never washed it down as the surface rust has set in from a combination of saltwater and tuna blood. Also, here's a couple pics of the blackfins caught.


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I was just getting ready to place another order for a couple dozen jigs, another 7'6" rod and some line. Are these new assist hooks in stock?
I don't claim to be a jigging expert as I've only done it for two years. I learn more every trip. You never know what jig is going to work and any particular day. Water current, water color, depth of fish, and what they are feeding on comes into play. Some of the old standbys for me are the shimano butterfly jigs. For the first time, they weren't working very well. Even the new flatside ones were not getting hit. Go figure!!!!

There was a guy standing near me that was having trouble getting hooked up. He was using a standard 8 oz chrome diamond jig with the treble on the bottom of the jig.:eek: I noticed that every time he was coming to the top his treble was wrapped around the line. That's pretty normal for that to happen. After watching his frustration I cut off his treble and put an assist hook on top of his jig. He still wasn't getting hit as he was just lowering the jig to some unknown depth and slowly lifting his rod or sitting down. At least now, he wasn't getting the hook hung up with the line.

I finally told him to crank, crank, crank, crank. He ended up catching a few by making the jig rip to the surface. Getting lazy or just not knowing how to work a certain jig can make or break your fishing trip. Jigging is a lot of work. It can beat up the best of us. You are better off taking a break than wasting your time just sitting down and letting the waves and boat movement do your jigging.

I usually don't use spinners for jigging, but learned a few things on my own when dropping a jig and getting hit. I would like to learn some techniques from you experts that use a spinning outfit for jigging. Mainly on the dropping of the jig.

Minnow, check your PM. I have added a bunch to my order as it is leap day.
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