Hilton's Analysis of the Loop Current - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 03-29-2017, 08:08 AM   #1
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Default Hilton's Analysis of the Loop Current

Gulf of Mexico Loop Current Missing in Action

Hilton's Gulf of Mexico Loop Current Analysis
In the thirteen years since we launched Hilton's Realtime-Navigator, I have never witnessed an event as I am currently seeing in the Gulf of Mexico;
The driving force for most all the surface currents on the Gulf of Mexico, the Loop Current, is practically non-existent this year.

What implications this even may have on the upcoming fishing season is unknown.

Below is a brief synopsis from March 28, 2013 to March 28, 2017 of how the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current and its resultant production of upwelling cyclones and downwelling warm core eddies affect Gulf-wide fishing conditions.
Thomas J. Hilton

2013
Here you can see the Loop Current 4 years ago today in its predictable pattern of entering the Gulf between the Yucatan Penninsula and Cuba, reaching for the Mississippi Delta then turning eastward, then south exiting the Gulf between the Florida Keys and Cuba. A by product of the Loop Current are the counter-clockwise upwelling cyclones and clockwise rotating, downwelling warm core eddies. In 2013, the Loop Current extended it reach as far north as 28 degrees/30 minutes N.

2014
Here you can see the Loop Current 3 years ago today where it was about 75 NM south of the 2013 position (27 degrees/15 minutes N). Not so great for the Venice, LA fishermen, but really good for the Venice, FL fishermen!

2015
Here you can see the Loop Current 2 years ago today where the Loop Current had swung waaaay westward, barreling through Green Canyon and creating one of the most intense cyclones I have ever seen out at the FPSO Turitella area. I like to see good current, but this almost too much current. In 2015, the Loop Current extended northward to 28 deg./15 min. N and westward to 90 deg./45 min. W!

2016
Here you can see the Loop Current 1 year ago today where it had retreated back to a more normal position where it remained constant for many months. So did the counter-clockwise rotating cyclone just north of the Loop Current. This cyclone fed beautiful, nutrient-rich water washing into the outer oil structures such as Independence Hub, Blind Faith, and the drillship Deepwater Proteus for months, creating superb fishing conditions for extra large tuna and marlin. The Loop Current's position relative to the fishing grounds between Venice, LA and Cape San Blas FL is one large reason (in my opinion) this area is such a world-class fishery.

2017
Here you can see the Loop Current today - oh wait! Where is it? You can barely see it on the lower right corner of the image - it's only reaching northward to 25 deg./30 min. N. That's a full 180 nautical miles south of its northernmost position in this series from where it was in 2013. The entire region looks devoid of any meaningful currents, at least within fishing range. Fishermen know that they need current in order for the fish to feed - it will be interesting to see how this year's fishing season plays out with this wild card being thrown at us by Mother Nature!

Good fishing!
Tom Hilton
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:21 AM   #2
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:53 AM   #3
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Was reading that this morning. Be interesting to see how it pans out this year.


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Old 03-29-2017, 09:12 AM   #4
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Did not sound encouraging. I do not think I have ever seen the altimetry as bad in our area as it currently is either.
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:56 AM   #5
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https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/c...ustryoil15.htm

It happened in 2010, check it out.
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Old 03-29-2017, 12:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finmanfish View Post
The "shedding event" in 2010 where the Loop Current "overextends" itself and causes a warm core eddy to peel off, is a normal occurrence. The warm core eddy provides the same benefit to the Gulf as the Loop Current as it creates upwelling cyclones and currents as well as it drifts westward towards Texas The Loop Current rebuilt itself shortly thereafter - to see the Gulf with no Loop Current or warm core eddies is highly unusual.
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Old 03-29-2017, 02:09 PM   #7
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My comment is intended to be fodder for the discussion only. My Hiltons concerns should be taken seriously. I have been a subscriber of Toms for many years.
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:22 PM   #8
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Back in '97 we had cold water upwellings that turned the water in July to about 65-70 degrees when it was supposed to be around the low 80s. We saw king mackeral and other fish running on the surface of the water like they were trying to get out of it. Lasted about 2 months then it finally warmed up. Could this lead to something similar?
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Old 03-30-2017, 07:41 AM   #9
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Finman - agreed. I appreciate the feedback.

As seen in the first 4 years of the analysis, the Loop Current moves around quite a bit - this year is a bit odd, but is probably in the normal scheme of things overall and will regain its normal position further north in due time.
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Old 03-30-2017, 08:02 PM   #10
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Just as long as that sucker moves some big fish up to the nipple or the squiggles by June-ish ill be happy. I'm stuck in Iraq until then, key board fishing isn't anywhere near as fun.
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