Yes, I was on the Gulf Eagle trip as I badly wanted to catch a yellowfin before 2008.
We had 4 - 5 yellowfin and a few smaller one and bunch of blackfin on the trip. We never had hot yellowfin bites. Decent yellowfin biges after dark died down quickly.
I had three yellowfin on poppers and one nice yft on a jig, but landed only one yellowfin on a popper due to line breakage. I am going to report detailed information.
The most fascinating thing on the trip was I could have landed a small swordfish on a popper ! I was not sure it was a small marlin or swordfish at that time, but I am inclined to believe it was a swordfish.
It followed my my popper slowly, and I jigged my popper under the boat and it took it ! I fought the fish about 10 seconds, but unfortunately it got away.
I even got a nice mahi mahi on a popper !
It would have been extraordinary if I landed the swordfish on a popper as I landed two on jigs this summer.
When I go back to NJ , I'll post detailed report with pictures.
We were at the boudreaux. It was great to fish with Kil, and even though we didn't get a lot of big yellowfin, there was always some blackfin action going on. This was my first time really throwing poppers...all I got was a blackfin but it was great! I jigged most of the time which worked well. Live flying fish worked well for the yellowfin - I think all but Kil's were caught that way.
I forgot to warn you guys about the anchor and chain on the bow pulpit of the Gulf Eagle. I was casting poppers off it. That anchor and chain can cause problems in the dark even though the boat lights still let you see it. I almost lost a rod and reel when a YF was taking me around it. The deckhand likes to grab your rod when you go around the pulpit. They must lose a lot of fish to the anchor as it sticks out beyond the tip of the pulpit. He didn't realize I was using 30 pounds of drag and it almost went into the drink.
I went tuna fishing on the Gulf Eagle out of Port Aransas on Dec 29 on a short notice. The airfare from NY to Houston, Texas was very expensive on a short notice, but I was determined to catch my last yellowfin on jigs or poppers before 2008.
When I arrived at Hobby Airport at midnight on Friday, Bret was waiting for me. I am very thankful that Bret could give me a ride to Port Aransas as I could have hard time to drive alone from Houston to Port Aransas on a rental car at night.
There were 13 guys on the boat and fare was $545 per person including gas surcharge.
The first thing I noticed on the boat was it was like I was on a bluefish trip rather than a tuna trip as most guys brought light tackles. ? And only couple of guys except me brought spinning gears.
The boat left at 6:00 am as scheduled and it took about 10 ½ hours to get to Boudreaux. The chartered Pelican was fishing there already.
I brought only one custom conventional rod and one spinning rod from OTI 80 lbs 7’6” blanks and started to cast poppers first on the pulpit. While casting poppers, I saw small billfish ( I thought it was a billfish at first as I never heard anyone caught a swardfish in Texas) and it took my popper as I teased the fish under the boat by jigging my popper up and down.
Unfortunately it got away after 10 second fight. In retrospect, the fish was more likely a swordfish than a marlin. It would have been great if I had caught the swordfish on a popper as nobody ever caught swordfish on poppers.
After catching couple of blackfin tuna I finally got the first yellowfin. The tuna didn't fight well and I thought I had a good size blackfin until I saw it on the surface. To my surprise, it was a nice yellowfin which turned out to be 75 lbs. On the next drift I got another nice tuna on a popper and it took lines. But the 80 lbs mono line got broken ! I packed my tackles in a hurry and I didn’t bring leader lines and I had to borrow from the boat. The boat had 80 lb Sufix line. I didn’t like the line as the line gave me problems before, but I had to use it as I don’t have any other alternative.. This time I used about 22 – 24 lbs drag and 80 lbs line shouldn’t be broken.
As popping slowed down, I switched to jigging. I casted out to down current and I started to jig as soon as my jig hit the water and I had a nice hit after catching a few balckfin. My drag was screaming and I immediately knew I had a very nice yellwfin, but suddenly I felt nothing. My main 80 lbs Japanese PE ( braid) line got broken though I used 22- 24 lbs drag ! Recently I have been experimenting several different Japanese PE lines and I am disturbed that lines got broken a few time while fighting tuna. This is another case.
As fishing slowed down, I decided to rest for a while. When I woke up around 3:00 am, I found I did not miss much as they caught mostly blackfin. It was fun to watch them to jig blackfin with light setups. I realized how the propaganda of Shimano’s Butterfly system are powerful and influential as most guys used Japanese style jigging with assist hooks. Definitely Japanese style jerk/crank technigue is working for blackfin tuna as they caught at least 3 times more than I did while I jigged slowly for yellowfin.
After day-break I had a nice hit on my popper and the big fish shaked head violently and my 80 lbs Sufix leader line broke again !!! I seldom lose tuna due to line breakage as I normally use drag close to ¼ instead of 1/3 for safety, but I lost three nice ones on this trip.
Fishing was generally slow compared with previous trips to Boudreaux. I don't know the majority of yft left the area and we had only slow day. but I had a great time with bunch of nice people and got my wish. Capts and mates worked hard all night.
WTG Kil. Boy do you work fast! Last I heard, you had other plans!
I got a phone call that the other plan became questionable while I had a lunch on Thursday. So I searched for the flight to go on the Gulf Eagle as soon as I came back to my office and I finally purchased ticket to Houston, Tx by 3:30 pm and I left my office at 4:00 pm to drive to JFK airport.
I see "Miles" a deckhand in the background. He was the deckhand that hooked two three digit YF's last weekend while trying to catch BF's for chunking with a little white glow diamond jig.
I feel real bad now that I turned around to go to a bowl game. I had as usual to much gear in my truck. Spools of line, braid, mono, and fluoro, 50 jigs, 30 or more top waters, extra reels....etc.
We even could have fished for flounder after returning if you were up to it. It's prime flounder fishing time right now. Right off the dock. I have a friend that has a house right off the Corpus Christi channel with a channel. He has been catching flounder, and redfish with ease when drinking and barbecuing off his dock. Don't even have to go out in a boat.