Late report - October 2-3 Venice LA Shrimp boat fishing

A couple years ago at the SE bash tournament. I had the winning bid for a day trip with Relentless charters in Venice, LA. We initially made the trip in April 2015. The weather was less than ideal and Capt. Mike Ellis gave us the option to fish inshore. So, we decided to delay using our offshore trip voucher and would return in October to chase tuna. We had so much fun and caught so many redfish on the first day, we decided to fish again on the second day.

Well, the October trip was not to be either. The weather forecast was so unfishable, that we canceled our flights and decided we would try again in 2016.

So, the trip was scheduled this year for October 2-3. Everything went according to plan and we hopped on a flight from Orlando to New Orleans. The crew was to be my Dad, my oldest daughter, and myself. My brother was not able to make the trip due to a work commitment.
Capt. Mike wasn't available those dates, so he put us with one of the other Captains who works with/for him, Capt. Chaz.

We arrived at the boat at 6:15 a.m. to load our gear. Chaz had the boat ready to go with ice and tackle rigged. We waited a few minutes for the sun to rise. Capt. Chaz advised that there were quite a few logs floating down the river lately. A lot of the other boats took off in the dark. However, I appreciated waiting a few minutes for the sun to give us a little more light, especially with my daughter on the boat.
We headed down the river until we came to the mouth. After we hit the gulf, we looked for mullet flipping for a few minutes. We didn't see any and all the other boats were looking too, not throwing the net. So, Capt. made the call that we would be dead bait fishing. We headed out to the shrimp boat fleet. We came to the first boat about 25-30 miles from the river. He explained how we would approach the boats, toss the chum baits and throw our hook baits in the chum baits. On our first attempt we hooked a small blackfin that broke us off. The leader must have gotten under the gills by I'm not sure how else a 15 lb chafes through 60 lb fluoro. We were pumped to go back and repeat the process as it was exciting to see the fish blast through the chum baits.

We repeated the process except Chaz had me pitch a bait in after he pitched a bait. We were rewarded with a double of Bonita. We kept the Bonita for future chunking and kept repeating the process. Normally it is a odds game of weeding through a few Bonita, to get to a blackfin or yellowfin. This day the odds were really tough on us. We tried multiple shrimp boats. We probably caught 40 Bonita behind the shrimp boats along with some medium to large sharks.
We did manage to catch one nice chunky 30 lb blackfin. Which made my daughter really happy. We went to Walmart to get groceries in NOLA, her one request was soy sauce and wasabi so she could enjoy dockside sashimi. After we ran out of bait and bonito in mid afternoon, Capt Chaz switched it up and put out some trolling plugs. We picked up a couple of nice kings and a small dolphin on the way back to the river.
Although it was not the day we had hoped for in terms of quality or quantity of tuna, we had an action packed day of catching. And, we had a few shots at Tuna. We went through a little learning curve casting 30W Accurate Reels. We really enjoyed this style of visual fishing and had a blast. Seeing hundreds and sometimes thousands of bonito behind the shrimp boats was an amazing site. When we got back to Cypress Cove Marina, the dockhand commented that everyone else had already come back to the dock and it was a tough day across the board. He said one nice YF was brought in and besides that our BF Tuna was the largest he had seen that day. We grabbed dinner at Venice Marina and crashed to get some rest before Day 2.

We repeated the same process the next morning except we picked up some extra cervezas to trade with the shrimp boats for bycatch. We tried for live bait with the same results. Off we went to give dead bait another shot. The first boat we saw was the "Mystical Sea."
As we approached, we could see fish airing out behind the boat. We quickly got our chum baits ready and baited the rods. We could already tell today was a different day. We quickly hooked up to a few Bonita and sharks, but shortly after my Dad put a chunky blackfin in the boat.
I followed a with another a drift or two later. Chaz made the comment he felt like we should stay with this boat until when or if we stopped catching quality fish. We pulled up to the boat to ask if they had any bycatch. They told us they would be pulling their nets around 11:30. We kept fishing the boat and other boats kept coming up to rotate in on the drift. They would usually leave after a drift or two. The bonito seemed to be close to the boats and the blackfin seemed to be off the boat a hundred yard or so.

We had some real excitement when a very LARGE Wahoo swam up to the side of the boat. Of course it was right after I had been cut off by a shark, so I needed to tie on a hook. The Hoo picked up my Dad's bait but clipped the fluoro leader. It picked up my bait too, with the same results, unfortunately. One of the coolest sights I have seen on the water...A 90 lb wahoo(captain's estimate) eating chunks on the side of the boat like a yellowtail snapper in the Keys.

We picked up a couple more blackfin and then we saw the boat pulling it's nets.
Really a cool site to see as they hauled the nets. The birds were diving picking up the bycatch that floated out of the nets and fish were boiling all over doing the same. I tossed the beer aboard to the deckhand and he tossed a 75 lb sack of bycatch with croakers, trout, ribbonfish, and more. After he threw the bycatch, he said "come back if you need more." I think he was pleased as we gave him an 8 pk of 16 oz vs. a typical 6 pk.

We would pitch a bunch of the bycatch and then drift back croakers hooked through the eye. I think we picked up a blackfin on almost every drift. My daughter got her first chunky blackfin on one of those drifts. She caught her first small one during our Bahamas trip in August. So, she was thrilled with the fight of a 20-25 lb blackfin.
Chaz had me take a white trout on the last drift. Shortly after we pitched out the chum and I free lined it back a ways, I felt a pick up and pushed the lever drag forward. As soon as I did, we knew we had the bite that we had been waiting for. The line ran off the reel faster and stronger than any of the other bites. The fish made a couple of good runs away, as well as at the boat. The fight on a fast action rod and a 30 class reel was an absolute blast. Capt. Chaz did a great job maneuvering the boat and preparing me for what was next. He told me as the fish got closer to the surface, that Yellowfin will do crazy things. Sure enough he was right. We saw color on the fish and shortly after, it made a run for the bow of the boat. I reacted and so did Chaz. The fish settled back into it's death circles and we watched it come closer to the surface. After a 50+ minute fight Chaz sunk the gaff into a nice YF Tuna.
The crew was done at that point and we decided to head back to the dock to clean up the box full of tuna.

Great trip overall with lots of good family time with my Dad. In addition to Dad - Daughter time. Capt. Chaz was super impressed with Lexie, my daughter. She asked him how big his boat was and then articulated that we have a 26 Regulator, but it has a bracket , so when you look at the total length of the boat it's really about 30'. He looked at me and said how many 12 yo girls know that? I replied, she had no chance because I had her watching fishing from the time she was 4 hours old in the hospital room.2eb4492ffff835c2234d5376e3d3b590.jpg41e8be36b21b71c5599e83153e0bbef3.jpge39a71b82ac6338263ab27f414b74464.jpgc980686473874952f673e8e9f470c83c.jpg

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  • GRSCGRSC Posts: 924 Officer
    Killer report!
  • Osprey45Osprey45 FT Pierce/ Boonton Twp NJPosts: 966 Officer
  • 4Rs4Rs Posts: 201 Deckhand
    Looks like a great family time on a nice fishing trip. Well done!
  • oaksoaks Posts: 90 Greenhorn
  • Flight RiskFlight Risk Posts: 2,320 Captain
    oaks wrote: »



    Pura Vida!
  • PaulBoatPaulBoat Posts: 4,389 Officer
    Fishing reports worth reading have been fleeting... thanks for changing that!

    Good luck in the keys...
  • Fi$h2nguyenFi$h2nguyen Posts: 7,780 Moderator
    Best report I've read in a long time! Which bash was it that you won the charter, 2012? Cool to see it go full circle.

    Keeping busy while away from Florida
  • bambam78bambam78 Posts: 555 Officer
    Best report I've read in a long time! Which bash was it that you won the charter, 2012? Cool to see it go full circle.

    Thanks all for the positive comments on the report.

    2014 was the year.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • bambam78bambam78 Posts: 555 Officer
    PaulBoat wrote: »
    Fishing reports worth reading have been fleeting... thanks for changing that!

    Good luck in the keys...

    Thanks Paul! That means a lot coming from you with the great reports you write.

    Once we get the boat thing figured out, I am looking forward to chasing some tuna in the Bahamas next year. This trip definitely got me hooked on tuna fishing.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • jayseasjayseas Posts: 811 Officer
    Great report, I'm glad you posted even if it was late. Venice is a very special place indeed.

    I can certainly understand fishing the redfish a second day. It is an assume fishery. Happy you got your yellowfin and proud for Lexi for her blackfin.
  • GotBass?GotBass? Posts: 202 Deckhand
    Great report and cool pics. Thanks for sharing!
  • bambam78bambam78 Posts: 555 Officer
    jayseas wrote: »
    Great report, I'm glad you posted even if it was late. Venice is a very special place indeed.

    I can certainly understand fishing the redfish a second day. It is an assume fishery. Happy you got your yellowfin and proud for Lexi for her blackfin.

    Thanks, Jim! The inshore and offshore fishing is amazing there. Hoping we can get back there to get Dad a YF, too.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  • JIMinPBJIMinPB Posts: 1,840 Captain
    Just Wow.

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