Waterman's Journal

Jul 21, 2012

The Encounter: Bluefin, Yellowfin, Marlin in the Gulf

April 10th, 2012, was one of those days that will never be forgotten in my logbook. We were off to a good start that morning with the first double header producing a quality 100 pound yellowfin and a 167 to beat that.

Below: Big sickle fins on this Gulf of Mexico Yellowfin

I had my eyes on the horizon watching the same school of busting fish way off in the distance that slowly was working our way. All of a sudden, small baitfish, rainbow runners, hardtails, small blackfin, even schoolie (70-90) pound yellowfin started busting all around. Usually this is indicative of a blue marlin actively feeding up top. The school of busting fish turned out to be 800-1000 pound bluefin.

Below: Monsterous Bluefin Tuna blowing up off the stern of Capt. Hunter Caballero's Tail Whipped

It’s no secret that we get bluefin here in the gulf of mexico, but usually the stories we hear are from the guys working the oil platforms in April, most often when it is too rough for us to get out and pursue them. Even if you are lucky to hook one, they are typically in water averaging 3000-10000 feet deep, and these tunas truck it straight to the bottom, dumping all but the biggest reels. Our two liveys get smoked.

The yellows we had been catching in the past few weeks were on the small side, around a 40 pound average, so we had been using the smaller Talica reels. I keep about 600 yards of braid on each one. We weren’t going to let these bluefin pass through without trying though. We pull hooks on both of these two fish.

The bluefin are now under the boat eating chunks. While I am rigging up one of the live bait leaders we use for marlin, one of my customers throws a topwater plug at them, and it gets crushed. Sure enough, the bluefin straighten the hooks on the popper like it was wire. We try one more shot with our last live hardtail and that baits get annihilated. In typical monster bluefin fashion, this fish goes straight down and takes all of my braid with it. What a rush!

Below: A solid blue marlin capped off "The Encounter"...

We get back on location and next bait out gets smoked by a nice blue marlin. We top off the box with five more yellows and call it a day - a day that I will vividly remember for the rest of my life.

- Capt. Hunter Caballero

_Note from _The Waterman's Journal _staff: _If you are ever in the Venice, LA, area - don't hesitate to book a charter with Captains Hunter Caballero and Woody Woods of Paradise Outfitters .