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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'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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that was a hell of a trip!! nice job, you cleaned house on the blackfins it looked like, I'm surprised the assist hooks were still working after that many fish
G
red snapper stole about 4 of my assist hooks this weekend :mad:

sounds like a good trip and thanks for the reviews of the tackle, helpful when i go for my next purchase :)

those are really nice sized blackfin.....22 of them would definitely be a fun night.

who was the goof who kept the cuda?
red snapper stole about 4 of my assist hooks this weekend :mad:

sounds like a good trip and thanks for the reviews of the tackle, helpful when i go for my next purchase :)

those are really nice sized blackfin.....22 of them would definitely be a fun night.

who was the goof who kept the cuda?

Was Lite-liner on the boat?:D
Mr. Bill,

Thanks for all the great reporting and info on what worked and what didn't! Great stuff.

Tom - DeepBlueGulf
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Thanks for the tackle report MrBill! I never thought about using the Jitterbel to brain a fish! LOL

We finally have our own assist hook designed/built that now are with the jigs and replacement packs. These are mfr'd for us by a small, but elite maker in Japan:



The fish skin on the right-side packet is made with a luminous material
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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?
Not yet, it will be available at the end of next month.
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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G
with those diamond jigs - i have no clue why they use treble hooks. i take mine off and put 7 or 8/0 j hooks instead. much better results. haven't thought abt an assist hook though. maybe i'll give that a whirl.
four friends and myself were at the falcon rig sat night and the eagle pulled in and started fishing .they made mabey 10 drifts jiged very hard but caught little. we landed 1 a.j. 3 other jacks 2cudas .bugged out about 3 am.with 1 moter down.[long ride] thought i was on the dolphin.caught lots of snapper on the way in.not a good trip ...full moon?
jig as hard and fast as you can until you figure out how they want it- when you get tired- put it down and pick up the topwater :) differnt muscle groups- so you rest one set, and work the other ones... alternate between the two and you will be successful... dont slack though, give it your "all", if you are gonna do it... or else get out of everyones way so they can be successful! :)
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