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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a call from John on Wednesday about a possible window for Sunday and Monday. John keeps his boat the Reel Thrill in Venice and the trip would be to the Mid night lump if it was on or to the floaters if the lump was dead. I asked if John needed any more crew and he said at this time he could use one more and I told him I would see what I could do. Well I ended up getting 2 more and with the other person John had already we were set as far as crew goes.

John called back on Thursday and said it still looked good so we started packing and getting our fishing gear ready for some action. After checking the weather not only were the seas forecasted to be flat but the temperatures were going to be in the 60 to 80 degree range. It doesn’t get any better than this in February .

At 5am on Saturday morning I head out to Dallas to pick up TJ and Frank. I arrive a little before 7am and we load up and our Venice adventure begins with a 10 hour drive to Cypress Cove marina. We arrive a little after 6pm after the introductions we load our gear onto the Reel Thrill a 46ft Bertram. The boat was an awesome fishing machine and was in pristine condition. That was soon to change as we had plans of tuna blood and carcasses on her deck.

After the loading was complete and the battle plan formulated it was off to bed for an early awakening to our Venice tuna adventure. 5am couldn’t get here soon enough. The coffee was brewing the diesels were purring and we were off. On board were John (the boat owner and our captain),Tim a regular on John’s boat, T.J. the photographer/fisherman, Frank the black fin tuna slayer, and myself Rick aka Mcgolfer aka old fart.

John and Tim had walked the docks the day before and the boats that had fished the Lump didn’t have much to show for their efforts. So our plan was to run to the 7 mile rigs and try and pick up a Wahoo or two and some live baits to put out in deeper waters. Well we struck out on both . We headed offshore with an empty bait well and fish boxes.

On the way out at about 30 miles we spot some trash in amongst some weeds but are unable to get the fish that were there to bite our offerings. We continue on our way offshore. We arrive at our destination and pull baits for a while with no takers. We change tactics and still no fish to show for our efforts. We decide to move to a drill ship that was about 7 miles west.

There were 2 other boats already working the drill ship and they had been having limited success and had boated a few Yellowfins but the fishing hadn’t been very fast or furious. I did put our first fish in the box as I was able to jig up a keeper yellowfin tuna on a Ocean Tackle International jumbo jig.

About 3:30 pm the tuna started to sporadically bust the surface. We had a couple of blow up but no hookups. Then all hell broke loose as frank tossed an oti Komodo popper and it was inhaled shortly after it hit the water. Frank had the deer in the headlights eyes as this fish peeled the line off his Stella 20000 like it had the bail open. This fish had to be way over 100lbs as it took 18lbs of drag like it wasn’t even engaged. In less than 30 seconds he was spooled and we broke the fish off when the drag was tightened down and the leader broke under the added drag. That got every ones blood pumping but no more fish in the box.

The other boats left to go back in as they were day charters and it was getting late. We continued to fish with nothing to show for our efforts. We made the decision to move back to the floater as darkness approached. When we arrived the blackfin are there and we started adding a few to the fish box.T.J. picked up another yellowfin on a oti Komoto popper.

The fishing slowed and we came after yellowfins and our boxes were filling fast with the blackfin tuna. We decided to go back to the drill ship and hope that either a top water or chunk bite materialized some time during the night or early in the morning.

It was non stop blackfin and Frank was on a mission to kill all the blackfin in the Gulf of Mexico. Frank had been skunked on a previous trip and couldn’t catch a blackfin. He was making them pay for not biting his baits. At 2am Frank finally had his fill of blackfins and went to bed. That left T.J. and myself up and we decided to troll oti poppers and were rewarded with another yellofin and 2 more blackfins on the troll. John and Tim awoke around 3am and T.J. and myself went off to bed in hopes of an early morning bite.

Near 6am Tim comes into the salon and states the tuna are busting the top all over the area. T.J. is the first to hook up on a top water and lands a yellowfin in short order. A big yellowfin bust the water near the boat and John perfectly casts a Komoto popper in the vicinity and the fight is on . After a 20 minute battle the 75lb yellowfin is on the deck. Out comes the fish bag as Frank has succeeded in filling the fish box and live well with blackfins.

I set up a chunk line and put out a chunk rod and in about 40 minutes manage to hook up 6 yellowfins. We manage to get 5 of them into the boat and only loose one at the boat due to a pulled hook. Now we have a good problem but a problem. We have run out of places to put fish and decide to run back Venice.

We stop at a weed line on the way in still trying to get a Wahoo but did not have any takers on our trolling baits. Pulled baits and continued on our way in. back at the marina we cleaned fish and the boat. Final tally was 13 yellowfin from 25 to 75lbs and 2 150quart coolers full of black fin tuna

While being totally exhausted but with big smiles on our faces we loaded our gear and headed off for something to eat in Venice before our trip back home. Now the only negative about the trip. No decent place to eat in Venice. We go to Venice marina café and it has already closed so we end up eating at a little store on the main drag.

John if you happen to read this report I want to thank you again for the invite and the great time onboard the Reel Thrill. Tim it was also a hoot to fish with you and thanks for helping John with the boat handling.

I sure hope the Mid night Lump turns on soon as T.J. and I are headed back in 2 weeks to fish again……rcik

· Senior Member
817 Posts
Great report, Rick!! Glad to hear that you guys caught some great fish. When in Venice....it always helps to have a photographer, (TJ is great)...you could end up with some great pics of tuna busting the water.

You just need to add a chef to your trip...cooking up some great meals while you're in Venice is the only way that you can get some good grub.

Looking forward to our trip in March with Captain Eddie!
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