Waterman's Journal

Jul 05, 2009

Texas Gulf Coast Marlin

Gulf of Mexico Heating up in the Bill Department !

Location: North Padre Island, Texas

Water Conditions off the coast of Texas can vary as much as the tides themselves. Weather often makes it near impossible to get out through much of the year due to winter weather systems along with prevailing spring time winds which can shut fishing down for months at a time. However, when things calm down and seas cooperate, it is then that you can observe and appreciate the Western Gulf of Mexico's Sport Fishery which has been preserved due to mother nature's rougher elements.

Below: Currents from warm Caribbean waters feed into the Gulf, bringing in a vast array of predators, including billfish.

The Boys of Summer aboard the NYATI explore Texas' Marlin Fishery!

For Extreme Coast's Boys of Summer it was just another offshore trip planned with a group of friends aboard Y.T. Brown's NYATI . The crew of the Nyati has been no stranger to billfish the past few years as they have continually done their summer rounds on the open ocean nailing various quality gamefish. The guys were just wanting to get at it once again and on July 2nd, a crew consisting of Capt. Ronnie Hale (of the Hale Yeah ) , Pelagic Pro Team's Eric Ozolins , Capt. Nate Middleton , and a several other adrenaline driven sportfishermen buddies joined Y.T. for another offhore adventure aboard the NYATI .

The highly modified 42' Bertram has been customized by Y.T. himself to accomodate for the moderate-long range sportfishing trips into the Gulf. On the evening of Thursday, July 2nd, the guys slowly made their way out to their hunting grounds. Come sunrise there was a spectacle of action on the surface that was far amplied over the previous weekend's trip. Flyingfish and other various baitfish were evading predadators such as Tuna and Marlin. On the morning's initial pass around a large floating rig structure they got their first hook up of the trip.

Below: Angler Mickey Berry hops into the seat and begins battle with the day's first Blue Marlin ...

The fish hit hard and the crew knew they were in the game, and it was going to be a good day. After a few minutes of fighting and guidance by Ronnie Hale on the leader, they were able to subdue a beautful Blue Marlin . Little did the crew know that this was the start of a trip that would be remembered for a long time to come.

Below: One of natures great predators falls for a mimicing trolling lure.

The Marlin gets released and the lures immediately get sent back out. Almost instantly they are rewarded with an average Yellowfin Tuna on the troll.

Below: Garrett poses with the first of MANY Yellowfin Tuna landed...

The Tuna, while not a grander, it is top quality table fare and in this case will be dedicated to prestine sushi. This fish gets boxed and taken care of immediately. The boys once again get the spread back out. After more mixed Tuna chaos, they finally hook up again on a good fish. Nate hops in the chair and begins a battle of his own.

Below: Y.T. Brown at the helm backing down on a Marlin guided by Ronnie Hale .

After a several minutes of excellent execution, they have the fish right up to the boat. It is another goregous healthy Blue. It is the 2nd Marlin landed within the past 2 hours and things are en fuego!

Below: Eric Ozolins ( Oz ) gets ready to back up Ronnie on the bill and release!

Nate ends up landing his 2nd Billfish (Blue and Sail) of the season aboard the Nyati..

Below: This nice average Texas Blue comes in lit up and is ready for a smooth release..

Below: The hook gets removed and the fish gets safely released to battle it out yet another day.

Less than an hour later the boat gets hooked up on another mad Marlin. Garrett gets back in the chair and dukes it out on a much larger predator.

Below: Bent Rods and Screaming Drags once again.

Unfortunately, this would be a fish that would not cooperate and would be the one the guys wish they had landed. With the lost fish, they immediately get the lures back out. And almost instantly the spread is again attacked by Tuna. Mickey hops in the chair and immediately gets the fish in. Another nice specimen and superb candidate for sushi.

Below: Mickey poses with his first trolled Tuna of the trip.

The spread gets out and once again there is another Billfish hook-up. Ronnie's buddy Jacob jumps in the chair and gets ready for war.

Below: Mid-day action Marlin Mania!

Fortunately the war is one sided and Jacob smokes the Marlin to the boat. After a few minutes the Nyati has its first White Marlin of the season. Brilliant smaller cousins of the Blue Marlin, these Whites often come in with an attitude.

Below: Jacob hops out of the chair and poses with his first White.

Below: The Lit-up White Marlin swims off after the release aboard the Nyati.

By now it is early afternoon and the crew has already had a stellar trip. But no one quits and the lines go back out. Not long and the Nyati has its fourth Yellowfin Tuna on board and iced. The boat already has a couple Dorado and Wahoo thrown in the mix. It is mutually decided that all future trolled Tuna after Jason's will get released to allow for the ice maker to catch up. The crew never thought they would see the day when they would throw back table quality Tuna.

Below: Hardcore Angler Jason Ozolins quickly destroys his first YFT of the trip!

Below: Jason poses with 40lbs of mouth-watering sashimi.

The boys get right back to it and throughout the day would end up safely releasing the next 8 or so Yellowfin Tuna . A couple more hours pass and just when things seemed to have finaly slowed down, one of the big, short lures gets hammered and there is now a quality Blue hooked up.

Below: Mickey beats everyone to the chair and gets clipped in...

Y.T. strategically backs down on fish as Mickey keeps up and gains line. Several minutes have passed and the fish is still rocking the battle. Mickey is still hanging in there and doing a fine job at the reel. The crew is anxious with this fish. After a Ronnie gets the leader and there is color. The first glimpse of the fish can be seen and the size was initially underestimated. Up on the tower, a picture is taken of the Blue with its brief appearance on the surface.

Below: A most Beautiful Blue Beast can be seen from the tuna tower.

The Marlin sounds into the deep and will not be seen for several more minutes. Mickey will eventually work the fish close to the surface and it hovers underneath the boat. Pretty much at a stalemate, it is decided that Oz will quickly dive in and get a series of underwater photos.

Below: Oz is able take a photo of sportfishing's truest iconic gamefish in action ...

Below: Another photo to help justify the beast's nice round girth.

Ronnie is able finally get the fish up to the boat for a safe release.

Below: The NYATI and its crew releasing a nice healthy Blue Marlin .

Celebration aside, the spread gets put back out. Several minutes later there is a double hook-up. Nate and Nena are both hooked up on what appear to be more Yellowfin action.

Below: Nena gets in the hot seat for the first time of the trip and puts a hurting on some Tuna..

Nate quickly gets his Tuna up to the boat and Ronnie opens up the Tuna door so there can be a quick safe release.

Below: Another Yellowfin Tuna up to the boat that was released.

Below: Nena (future Mrs. Hale) gets her Tuna in and poses quickly before the release.

Not long and yet another Yellowfin hits the spread. They are becoming a pest. But when you can consider a Yellowfin Tuna as a pest, under most circumstances it can be labeled a good day.

Below: Another Tuna gets to the boat and is safely released.

The rest of the afternoon consist of random knockdowns mainly compiled of Tuna with a Wahoo thrown in the mix. The boys troll til sundown and then the day crew hits the sac. Out comes the night crew's Tuna Cowboys consisting of Ronnie, Oz, Jason, and Jacob. The ice-maker has replenished and stacked up a supply fairly well so it is now time to go back to sticking a few Tuna. The action is on top as the Tuna destroy anything live raking the surface. Jigging only yields immediate multitudes of Blackfin Tuna thus the transition to throwing topwater lures is made. Oz strikes first on a hand-made popper, then Ronnie soon follows suit.

Below: Oz with some Top-Water Tuna action!

Below: Ronnie gets his fish in and him and Oz pose for a quick picture of the double.

Below: After countless mis-hookups, Jason's persistence finally pays off and converts on a casted Yummy Flyer.

Below: Jacob also gets into the night-time Tuna action!

The crew already stacked up a few more Yellowfin Tuna and are running low on space. Oz is able to hook up again, this time on a live Flyingfish.

Below: Oz displays more Yellowfin sexiness.

After Oz's Yellowfin, it is time to shut off the Tuna harvest once again. The fish box is getting filled pretty quick and the ice maker once again is trying to keep up. It is only 1am and the peak of the action hasn't even started. The fishing gods accept the crew's mercy toward the Tuna for a night. Just maybe it will be a good omen for the morning. The crew crashes and gets a limited amount of rest for the morning.

Come sunrise the action is again on the surface. Tuna are still around and immediately on the troll there is one landed. Things slow for a few min and the guys grab breakfast while Nena watches over the spread.

Below: NYATI morning troll...

It is not long and there is another fish on. Jason gets in his 2nd Wahoo of the trip. The fish is harvested and carefully taken care of and packaged on ice.

Below: Another excellent candidate for sushi .

Within another hour or so the boat finds its first bill of the morning. The guys get Garrett back in the chair hopeful to have him land his first Marlin. Garrett straps in and immediately takes revenge on the one he lost the previous day.

Below: Garrett back in the chair determinded to land his Marlin !

Garrett does his job and after careful guidance, is able to get his Blue Marlin to the boat. Ronnie gets the leader and Jacob gets the bill. Jacob is presented with a fiesty Blue still green but does a good and safe job at removing the lure/hooks for release.

Below: Jacob at the bill of another Blue Marlin...

Below: Garrett sneaks in and gets his pic with his first Blue.

Below: A nice tail kick by the Marlin as it swims off on the release...

The crew had just released another Blue Marlin . Everyone is ecstatic and all smiles, but there is still more work to be done. The spread gets put out once again and is as routine as the rising sun. After an hour or two a bait gets smoked by a bill in the spread and goes ballistic. An all out aerial display is on the surface. Everyone gets Jason into the chair and he is finally hooked up on his first Marlin.

Below: Jason rocking out putting down the hammer on a greyhounding Marlin.

The Marlin finally wears itself out after 20 minutes and Jason is able to get the fish to the boat for Ronnie to leader.

Below: An awesome Blue hangs below the surface almost ready to be leadered!

Below: Jacob has hold of the bill as Ronnie gets the hook out.

Below: Jason gets in for a picture with his first Blue Marlin aboard the Nyati .

Below: Another Blue Marlin gets released!

The lines are back out and the troll slows down. It is early afternoon and a couple hours later while the sun is blazing on the deck, there is some activity in the spread. Nate is manning the rods and notices a fish moving in and out slicing at the lures. It is a Marlin. It hits... misses... hits... misses, and Nate drops the lure back and feeds it to the fish and then BAMM! Fish On! Nate gets Oz into the chair to begin battle on his first Marlin of the season. While most people are home playing with fireworks on this great 4th of July, the crew of the NYATI are having a grand fireworks show of their own.

Below: Oz gets strapped in and ready for a Blue Battle.

The fish takes a fair amount of line on the initial run. Y.T. backs down on the fish and recovery of the line begins. Several minutes later the fish is straight down under the boat, still 100+ feet. The rod is bouncing and acting very strange as if it is tail wrapped. Feared that this was the case, the crew did not want to drown the fish so Oz pushed up the drag and slowly works him up.

Below: The Marlin is right underneath the boat and being very stubborn...

The guys finally get the fish up to the surface and the situation is not as bad as predicted. The fish is not tail wrapped but still fairly green. Jacob is going to have fun with this fish!

Below: Oz's Blue rides the surface.

Below: Another Beautiful Blue is alongside the NYATI ...

Below: Oz slips in for a quick pic with his Blue Marlin .

The 3rd Blue Marlin , for two consecutive days is released aboard the NYATI . Life is good for the crew. It is getting late in the afternoon and the wind is picking up. The boat is well over 100 miles for land and is time to make the journey back. The guys troll on in til sundown with little action remaining other than an ultra stray Cuda.

Below: Relaxing and let the gear do the work on the ride in.

The night is spent traveling back in at a slow pace conserving fuel and also for safety reasons. Come morning the boat is just a couple hours from home. As they get toward the mainland they begin to get the flags up. For whatever unpredicted reason, Ronnie brought a stash of extra flags from his boat and there were enough to cover the weekend's fish.

Below: 7 Marlin Flags fly aboard the NYATI ..

Below: Looking up at the light... "Is this a dream?" No, it is another NYATI Adventure

The crew is overwhelmed by the action they encountered this weekend. To land and release 7 Marlin (6 Blues) anywhere in the world is an incredible trip, but to do it off the Texas Coast just makes is that much sweeter for everyone. It is a trip that will be long lived by Y.T. and the crew of the NYATI. Great teamwork and friendship help made it a very fun and sucessful trip.

Below: The crew of the NYATI take a quick group photo of their weekend's success.

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