Finding the Fish
Covington stared into his sounder screen as he searched for the fish below. “The sounder is the most important piece of fishing equipment on our boat,” he said. “It’s our eyes. Nine times out of 10, we find the fish up-current of the rig, as close as 100 yards and as far away as a mile.”
Sure enough, we marked a large school of tuna about 100 feet down, just up-current of the rig, and it didn’t take long for them to find our live baits. Newman and I each caught a yellowfin of about 50 pounds right off the bat, but it was Pierce who hit pay dirt a few minutes later, bagging a tuna of about 150 pounds on a live mackerel.
We caught fish until our arms and backs ached, and we could have loaded the boat with yellowfins, but we left them biting because we had to head in a little early to catch a flight. On the ride back, we all agreed — the fishing off Louisiana survived the Deepwater Horizon disaster and is back.
Rods: 30- to 50-pound conventional rods rigged for stand-up fishing; jigging rods for bottom jigging 1; light spinners or casting tackle for smaller tunas.
Reels: 30- to 50-pound conventional reels rigged with mono or braid 2; high-quality spinning reels with strong drags capable of applying substantial pressure for jigging.
Lures and baits: Butterfly-style jigs, surface poppers, swimming trolling lures 3. Live baits, including Spanish sardines, tinker mackerel and blue runners (known locally as hardtails), and flats of frozen menhaden for chunking.
Terminal tackle: 80-pound fluorocarbon leader for yellowfins, plus stout hooks like the Mustad 39950BLN Demon Perfect Circle.
What: Offshore fishing for yellowfin tuna, blue and white marlin, wahoo, king mackerel, grouper, red snapper, amberjack and more.
Where: Northern Gulf of Mexico off Venice, Louisiana, and along coastal Mississippi.
When: Year-round. “One of the coolest things about the northern Gulf is that you can target big yellowfin tuna 365 days a year,” said Covington. “Not many places can make that same claim.”
Who: Covington and his crew fish out of both Venice, Louisiana, and Pass Christian, Mississippi.
Mexican Gulf Fishing Co.
Capt. Rimmer Covington / Capt. Scott Sullivan
Oil Rig Tuna Fishing On Louisiana Gulf Coast
Finding the Fish