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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lord; how does one begin to tell the tale that can't be told, but must be experienced? I guess and will start from the beginning.

A month ago I had a plan to head to Port St. Joe this weekend with Flipper and campout, Yak fish and eat about 12 dozen oysters. In that plan we were going to go watch Regional Cross Country race in Tallahassee on Sat morning. I scheduled last Thurs/Fri off work to go and do the deed to oysters and such with Flipper. Anyway Flipper called and canceled early this week due to work as I was just about to load the Yaks on the truck... :crying which meant a Fri off with nothing to do.

So then I read on the forum that dkdiver is going spearing on Fri!! WoooHoo!! I send a PM/Email and call Clay Doh to reserve that lasts until Wed - and gets canceled - :crying which meant a Fri off with nothing to do.

Then I see Inn-Deep is going grouper fishing deep-dropping and I send him a PM - Call and I'll glowing 'cause he's a great fisherman by accounts and ... he posts that his trip had to cancel. :crying which meant a Fri off with nothing to do.

Then I see a post - which combined with the wx report for Fri-Fri night Sat looked awsum!!

So I call Mark and get on a list with some other dudes on his boat heading out ~1100-1200 on Friday. Now this is Thursday evening so I go pack some stuff for the trip as I'm sure I'll get a call in the morning CNX the trip and... I'll be :crying because I took Fri off with nothing to do.

...But no call came and I showed at Bahia Mar Marina and started loading the boat with gear and such. Mark and Bret were off getting a couple last min provisions - we took off about 1330. Mark had a couple of bud's that bagged him so it was just Mark, Bret and I. Both Bret and I responded from Mark's post for a crew. Now Mark's boat is Nice! 30' CC with 2 berths in the hatch forward and aft in case somebody wanted to crash for a couple mins... NOT! We left with with the Blues in full swing and entered the Gulf of Mexico. Now I enter this here as no-one would believe me if I said the gulf was a bathtub... a Flat piece of water like my bathtub, a veritable bullfloated waterway to the Rigs SSW of Pensacola. SO here's a 1000+ words on how the gulf looked on our way out Fri afternoon.

My favorite pic of the trip - no lie it's just such a tale to see that and relive the Nothingness of that vast living water.

It just didn't get any better then then that or so we thought. Mark and Bret were bundled up for Siberia but really it was chilly but not too cold.

We just could not get over the gulf and state of the water out 30- 40 -70 - 90 miles from shore.

So we planned on fishing the Ram Powell and then Horn Mountain based on RipCharts info - old info you can find on line now. anyway I printed off the charts and it showed the two platforms in the clorofill bloom.

So here's the ifno for the trip and it seemed to work!

Anyway with the ride out coming to the Ram Powell we crossed a nice rip.
NOTE: The first line is the Tide wind rip, the second faint line is the horizon - look close and how UNBELIEVABLE the seas were.

You couldn't miss it as there wasn't anything else on the ocean! Well, we talked about it as the Ram Powell was easy distance from us but we could not pass up this line. Mark got a spread up as very quickly as I drove the boat East along the well defined clear edge of the grass.

We worked it for about 30 mins but the lure of the rigs tore us away and we trolled just 'till the sun set.



So we wrapped the lines up with not one knock down adn this was after a nice board was sighted and we did a couple figure eights around it. Just not the area at that time.

We arrived to the Ram Powell just aftersunset but before dark:

We didn't see anything for the first hour and thought - Damn there isn't anything here and LOTS of discussion about when and where but the kicker was there was NO sign of bait. No Blackfin after sunset etc... so we packed up for the Horn Mtn about an hour after dark.

Well as we coming off plane into the Horn Mtn there were BFT busting the top and flying fish could be seen scooting here and there in the lights(We all thought, "Good Call!!"). Basically the place looked "fishy" and we were very psyched!!

We had brought a flat of Boston Macs and I brought about 70#'s of pogis and bobo fillets to chunk and chum with. We started sloooowwwww trolling boston macs and tossing a hand ful of chum over.

I had brought a couple jigging spoons when I was overseas (far East) this spring and hadn't used them yet. I tied onto the 40TN I brought and dropped it.. Blackfin immediately .. and again... and again.. Now these BFT were babies. I mean the average was 7#'s or so when Bret and I brought up a couple 10-12#'s we wanted to keep them and Mark was like, "Well, you can but they burn up the ice and there's not much too them." With that I practiced my Tuna bleed and brain with a special little knife I got from a bud and we had BFT blood all over the deck in no time and 3 on ice. Now I always thought Wade adn Woodley and The Blue Hoo were full of [email protected] but I put a coupel BFT back for chunk bait aas well. Those little guys were like perfect for chunking!

After about 90 mins or so of fighting BFT and chunking and trolling Mark was looking off in the distance and talking about the MICKA or MICE rigs - now Bret and I were catching BFT and damn near every time I dropped the jig over I caught a BFT. Flying Fish were going Ape-ie around us and tuna busting the water were all over. So we put Mark's idea off. After another bit with no YFT Mark's idea was brought up agian by Mark and we pushed it off - Bait the overheads, were here and it was another 25 miles out. Then I had a Good BFT on my jig and looked back at the two lines in and they were crossed. So I said, " Hey the lines are crossed and they..ZZZZTZTZTZTZTTZTzttztzztztzt goes the 30W nearest me and I've got a damn BFT on again so there isn't anything I can do but yelp to get one of the other guys on the line. The good thing is this was mins before Mrak was going to race off to the next spot.

Bret grabs it up and it starts making the reel sing like a like only a good fish can.

Well the fight lasts for awhile and finally the YFT comes up tail wrapped making a good gaff shot very hard. The second time it comes up Mark stabs it and KABloosh -Bangggingign Ughhhhmm. The shot went a bit high in the belly and the Tuna took off taking Mark and Bret to rail and whacking the Gaff into Marks scull with a resounding Baaaggiinnggg. Mark had to go lean on the stern and had taken a HARD Gaff shot to the head. Well with froth still on the water and Bret still holding the reel and the tuna still stuck to the hook we all heard Mark - exclaim from back on on the stern, "I gotta take a [email protected]". Now we we just missed the first gaff shot on the first tuna possibly the only one of the night and it was still pinned to the hook and could come up at any time so Bret so asked, 'cause he was fighting the tune, "what?" and the answer in NO uncertain term , "I gotta go [email protected] - Now!" and Mark and I were left on the deck cracking up and looking after his line still peeling off the reel.

Mark popped out of the hatch refreshed and ready for to give better then he got a min before Mark got the tuna up again. This time it was GoodNight for Tuna #1!! After getting aboard We bled it and I popped it in teh brain with my knife and the Tuna was Done. Using a knife to brain it was not he idea but we had left the awl and tuna bat at home. SO we agreed that calling life flight while 90 miles offshore from a tuna embedded knife wasn't planed for the evening. My knifing tuna in the noggin was curtailed but it worked well while it lasted.

Next up on a chunking drift I dropped my jig to a 20 count and got Hammered! Now Bret was working the other line and Mark was working the boat and really it didn't feel that heavy but it felt - good -. So After a bit and I had color Mark had come over and I asked if could get a gaff - :letsparty Well all hell broke loose as they didn't know I had a YFT on :shedevil well it was the a nice YFT and was gaffed with what was to become the standard high stress, tension filled, Make or Break, climax scene gaff shot on each Tuna that night. We got her in and think it was about 80 pounds.

Mark bleeds it and it's off to the fishbox.

Another couple hours went by and we were working hard for each bite. Lots of BFT still and alternating between Slow Trolling and drifting with chunks. Then Mark hooked up and brought in a beautiful fish that was well played but stil had that adrenalin filled ending.

Now when we stopped to chuck and drift we cut a [email protected] load of chunk and Mark got this bottle of stuff and squirted it out. After the his fish we started another drift about an hour later and I got the bottle as he said that's Menhaden Oil and what brought them in! Soooo I threw out a handful of chunks and grabbed the bottle and started to squirt it from left to right. As I got just upwind I lifted the bottle a tad, smidgen to high and vaporized a good bit that wafted back into me... aLL OVER ME... NASTY!! Even 7 hours into chunking parts and pieces that oil leaves a rather nasty bit of unpleasantness in and on oneself :sick

So after I washed off as best I could adn the guys got done laughing at me we started another drift chunk line. I dropped my jig down the 10 count bounce - bounce - bounce bounce.... nothing another 10 count bounce - bounce bounce nothing another 10 count bounce - bounce bo-BANG ZZNNNnnggggggTNNTNTNNANnatnnaasdhf fpsdfipadfu[aso8fhiaw['fish and it took a bunch of line. Now I had caught a 80#er a couple hours ago adn this felt a bit heavier but I couldn't really tell as I was ~ 250-300' before I got hit and lost a bit of line but I started to work him with the TN40 (which Mark secretly covets) and Talas rod. So it's give an take for about 15mins I'm kickin' his a$$:

Now truth be told I had retied my topshot on the way out and went to superglue the albright knot - the super glue I had brought had all fused and couldn't be used - I was SWEATING that the knot would slip as I knew this was a good fish. So I work him up in 15-20 mins and he's huge. Not tail wrapped like a couple other ones already this night. Marks on the back of the Tuna door and Bret's on the gunnel and I'm on the gunnel furthest from the door port side of the boat. I bring him up and a quick discussion follows....

"He's Green!"
"You wanna get'em"
"He's Here"
"He's Green"
"Let's Wait"
"Let's Take'em"
"What do you think?"
"He's Green"
"He's right here"
"Get over here"
"get over there!"
"Get him over Here!"
"He's Green!"

The last real image I have in my minds eye is Mark disappearing in a wall of white-water while the biggest tuna I've ever seen got gaffed in the chest and tail-walked up to the tuna door.

The rest happened at once, in less then a couple heartbeats, but fills a void in my mind of a least a full day. As Mark is getting his a$$ handed to him and being beat against the tuna door rail my line goes tight, I hear somewhere, "Gaff'em - Gaff'em GodDa**it Get your gaff in'em" All the while Bret's launched himself into the frothing fray and sunk his gaff into the veritable belly of the beast. Just as his gaff sinks I feel the line 'ping' and I am no linger connected with the beast. I let this be known to Mark and Bret and those within about 20 miles of us, "KEEP'em on the boys, he's broke my line!!!" Then as the green as [email protected] tuna who's still frothing the water and beating everybody and everything silly still hadn't come over the side:

"**lots-a cuss words**"
"Got'em -Keep'em"
"Get'em over the side"
"Heave - .. DAmN" ... Mark and Bret couldn't get leverage on the Tuna and I was sitting my rod down...
" Heave... Can't..." ... I'm making my way to the gaffs stuck in the tuna and leaning out out over the water
"HEAVE!!!" I grab both gaff shaffs in my hands while Mark and bret pull for all they are worth and the Green as [email protected] tuna comes over the side.:clap

We scatter and clear the gaffs - poles and entire back side.Mr. YFT does NOT like being there and goes into ape shit+ mode. In about 30 secs we get her calmed down and start bleeding her.

Then Mark finally remembers a bat (AKA Hammer) and uses it to "tame" her down Smack, Smack, Thwack! - last hit has it up to the hilt in her scull and the mouth drops open!! :hotsun It's over she's ours.

My personal best fish 125# YFT and pumped!!

Once we had her in the box there was no Box - left we had a 35# 70#, 80#, 105# and 125# YFT on the boat with a handful of BFT we kept there was no place else for fish. Mark had a Fish Bag and I had a couple bags of frozen pogies left in a pinch but we were out of ice. We begged a 5 gallon bucket of ice from a buddy of Mark's buddy at daylight and then packed it up.

I really can't say enough about the good times on Zoomin-NewMan's (who does charters guys!~!) boat and the great time at the rigs. It's a first tuna trip for me to the rigs and if it weren't for all the bad luck I'd have none of this luck at all

Flipper CNX
dkdiver CNX
Inn Deep CNX
And the the last one worked!

My advice is keep looking and get out there with guys and gals you feel "good" with only you'll know what that is.

Some more snaps to sum up he trip:

Weighed at outcast: 125#

Just riding out on an unbelievable day:

The three biggest of 5 YFT:

What bleeding should look like - YEAH BABY!!

Flying Fish in the green light:


So we had a fantastic time, met some great folks, caught some fish. One note : Every fish was team effort - no fish could have been boated without everyone aboard. I really can't say enough about that.

Some great sashimi grub last night:

Lucas - Z-Man ( #6 in NW Region Div 3A Cross Country) and Jordan

One chunk of loin from processing the meat this morning:

If you go out there eat your Wheaties boys. The day:

0630 Get up start making stuff ready for the trip
1100 Show time for loading the boat
1700 First lines in
1900 First YFT in Whole Boston Mac ~ 80#
2200 Second YFT in Jig ~ 70#
0000 Third YFT in Cut Bait ~35 #
0230 Forth YFT in Whole Boston Mac ~105#
0400 Fifth YFT in Jig 125#
0500 Called on account of fish boxes full and Tuna burning ice - Damn GOOD problem to have
0630 Stop to troll a rig
1145 Pull into Marina start prepping boat
1300 Start cleaning fish
1500 Finish cleaning fish
1530 Pull away after a 33 hour day. None of us slept a wink and we took 30-45 min shifts driving back from the rigs for safety. If you're going to do it GO FOR IT!

And last but not least - the Tuna Bane - 2 of 5 five 80# and 125# off this little guy.


Jim T's sworn enemy!
2,262 Posts
Now that's a Freakin Awesome report and trip:toast:toast:toast Very nice camera work too:clap Have you been taking report lessons from Karon Bob,caused i'm really impressed man.:letsdrink
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