Home General Fishing

5/24 Tuna Fisihng... Venice LA with Mike Ellis. Pic intense.

Panhandler80Panhandler80 Posts: 8,836 Moderator
Well, my wife has wanted to do a night in New Orleans for a while. A few months ago I floated the idea of a nice meal there, a casual drive down to Venice the following day and then a tuna trip. Surprisingly enough, she took the bait. Don’t get me wrong, she loves to fish, but it was awesome to think that she was willing to let us spend that kind of expense and time away from home when it essentially revolved around fishing.

Rolled into NOLA around 4:30 on Thursday afternoon and walked around a bit having a drink here and there while waiting on our dinner reservations at Herbsaint and for our friend to fly in from Fort Worth. He got in around 7:30 and we made our dinner reservation just in time. Great meal. I had the musgovey duck leg, which was divine; only complaint is that I could have eaten about 8 of them… fat boys like their food.

Woke up the next day and made our way down to Venice. Got there at the exact same time that another angler did who had driven straight form PC. We got all situated on house boat and had plenty of time to watch some fish come in, have a few drinks, grill some steaks and talk about the day to come.

Next day came quickly. Here’s Mike’s new 36 Yellowfin at Cypress Cove.


Within no time we had drinks / food loaded, truck parked and we were making our way down the river.


In the picture above we are about to be into open water and ready to net some bait. We saw a few popping out here and there, but not enough to toss on. Rather than spending time (and shoulder ligaments) tossing on onsies and twosies, Mike kept easing down a particular shoal and we found them a good bit thicker maybe 30 minutes later. Two casts and we had probably 80 pogies in the barrel. Time to go fishing!

Live baits, great conditions and we’re ready!


We ran about 30 nm and in no time we have our first customer!

Birthday girl on the rod…


She made short work of an average sized late-May / June fish and in no time it was on deck….


We all high fived and Mike pulled out the heart offered her a bite after her first tuna. She willingly took a chomp out, but didn’t chew for long. Unfortunately, I don’t yet have the picture of this scene, or the one with a nice first-kill swipe of blood across her faith.

After that, we put one line back out and not long after that we caught another similarly sized fish on a live bait. Buddy from TX whooped him pretty quick and we tossed this guy on ice.


After this, we had a little lull, but not much of one. Yours truly wanted to make a move, but we were marking fish above 200’ and Mike said let’s stay put. Most folks were up front chilling on the rail when I saw a fish bust within 100’ off to port. I ran forward grabbed the popper rod and hooked one up on first cast….

Me on the popper rod…


Popper fish in box...


After this our next fish came on a live bait and it was solid… About to come over the rail…


Wife with a hero shot… And CLEARLY best picture of the trip!


Same fish…


Me with the fish…

After this we hooked up on a double. The larger of the two fish hit first (crashed a slow trolled live bait) and then a second rod went off fishing same thing. I hopped on the smaller fish and boated it fairly quickly. We were then sitting on 6 fish. After a good fight (and a little bit of embarrassing rod-passing) we boated another real nice fish. This made 7 nice tunas and bonus fish number 2. We messed around for another 35 minutes or so and headed home. In that 35 minutes I had a fish boil on a popper and we watched another boat put a 35-30 pound fish in. We probably could have soaked out another fish or two, but we had 5 average fish and two real nice ones given the time of the year. That being said, we elected to take Mike’s advice and head for the hill.

The second bonus-fish…


Same fish with fella from Texas…


After this, we scrubbed the boat real quick and headed that way with a cold beer in hand. What a day! It might have been 11:00 at this point. We had two folks on board that were up for poking around for another fish or two, but as a whole we were all fine with heading on in.
Iced fish about to get the slurry!


While out there we watched two or three fish miss live baits, but not once did we one bend a rod or peel line and miss. IMO, we went 7 for 7 with only two sharks. Fantastic!

Headed in… Ugly, boat, huh?


Picture of ugly tackle with sun at about high noon….


Back at Cypress Cove... we couldn’t find a cart, so I sprayed the dock down for a few minutes and let them lay long enough for a picture with my wife. We could have done better here, but I was in a hurry to get some ice back on them before we made our way to the cleaning table.


Again, no hand cart, so in the truck they went! Keep in mind, we had bed liner nice and cool and dumped plenty of ice on them. They stayed like this for no more than 5 minutes, and then we had them in a cart with ice all over them.



One more look at them...


If you ever go battle with 80+ pound tuna you have a few choices. 1. Learn proper form. 2. Don’t drink beer for two days prior in NOLA and marina. 3. Bring a guy like the one pictured below. Yeah, he did a lot of pumping and winding:


Also got to see a 297 warsaw at the dock… or at least it’s carcass…

Since getting home we’ve been eating pretty well:


Tuna, avocado BLT….

Start here…


Finish here…


A little poke. This…


Into this…


With what’s left over you try to eat…

Great stuff!

Can’t wait to get back! Hard to go wrong in South LA when you have great weather and a great captain.
"Whatcha doin' in my waters?"


  • Split ShotSplit Shot Posts: 6,193 Admiral
    Awesome trip!

    Nice looking set up! including the reels!

    I'm sure that sooner of later I will develop a closer love for tuna. Mostly because I have not had direct access for it. I know that I don't care for it warm!

    BTW they be some good looking studs! (fish) :beer
  • Anclote KeyAnclote Key Posts: 2,354 Officer
    Very nice trip. Probably my favorite fish to eat.
    The two best times to fish is when it’s rainin’ and when it ain’t. –Patrick F. McManus
  • dilligaf84dilligaf84 Posts: 876 Officer
    Looks like a bucket list trip, very cool.
  • Look Out BelowLook Out Below MiccoPosts: 3,822 Moderator
    Very nice for a half day trip!
  • Finfan13Finfan13 Posts: 3 Greenhorn
    I have fished with Mike. Its a trip you will never forget. I recommend grabbing some buddies and giving Mike a call..
  • Panhandler80Panhandler80 Posts: 8,836 Moderator
    Very nice for a half day trip!

    Yeah, When we turned her around i asked how much for a half day trip and he quoted twice the full day price. I'm sure we could have strong armed him into doing something different for another few hours, but we were happy with 7 fish!
    "Whatcha doin' in my waters?"
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,030 Admiral
    Everything looks great, I just have one question\concern...

    MUSCOVY DUCK??? People eat that stuff??? At highfalutin restaurants no less???

    I guess I wouldn't be surprised if it was at a Chinese buffet but...MUSCOVY DUCK???

    I would have to find another menu item.

    Other than that, totally bada$$ trip!!!
  • rysherrysher Posts: 381 Deckhand
    pic of the cleaning station is different from the venice dock cleaning station.
    how much was half the day? full day?
    does he do jigging only trip?
    looking for a full day, maybe 2 for a jigging and popping only trip.
  • smhsmh Posts: 333 Deckhand
    :thumbsup Thanks for sharing!
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,030 Admiral
    Oh, and are you SURE that's a warsaw??
  • Panhandler80Panhandler80 Posts: 8,836 Moderator
    tankard wrote: »
    Everything looks great, I just have one question\concern...

    MUSCOVY DUCK??? People eat that stuff??? At highfalutin restaurants no less???

    I guess I wouldn't be surprised if it was at a Chinese buffet but...MUSCOVY DUCK???

    I would have to find another menu item.

    Other than that, totally bada$$ trip!!!

    nevermind what they look like and where you see them typically. do a quick Google search you might be surprised by what you find.
    "Whatcha doin' in my waters?"
  • johnDjohnD WC FLPosts: 6,427 Admiral
    Didn't he have a Freeman 33 ?
  • Panhandler80Panhandler80 Posts: 8,836 Moderator
    rysher wrote: »
    pic of the cleaning station is different from the venice dock cleaning station.
    how much was half the day? full day?
    does he do jigging only trip?
    looking for a full day, maybe 2 for a jigging and popping only trip.

    He'll probably take you salmon fishing out there if you pay. ;-) I think the all artificial stuff depends a lot on the mood of the fish and time of year. He and other captains would be a much better source of info than me. On this particular trip he had no jigs on board and swore they would do no good. There were times when they marked deep that I would like to have tried, but hey... I'm not the guy that does it for a living. We did nab one on a popper and had another one boil on the popper later in the day.

    johnD wrote: »
    Didn't he have a Freeman 33 ?

    Yeah, he ran hull #1 for quite some time.
    "Whatcha doin' in my waters?"
  • RelentlessRelentless Posts: 29 Greenhorn
    I just had a chance to checkout the internet while at the camp. While hoping the wind lays down for tomorrow's trip. To answer the jigging question. You can catch yellowfin on jigs but truthfully in the early spring when we get a run of small fish. Is the only time you can consistently catch them that way. Sure you can pick one or two up during the summer but it's definitely not dependable enough of a technique. Poppers work when the tuna want to eat them. And I do offer jigging trips but the target is reef fish. The AJ's and scamp will eat them pretty good. I like to fish for the target species and have a fallback species gameplan. Which the tuna bite has been pretty good lately but by noon it has died off to nothing at all. It is. It is nice when you can fit a full days fishing into a few hours. The. Few did pretty well and we didn't lose a single fish we had hooks in. And I think I might have missed only one bite. It's great when you convert bites to fish like that. To answer the boat questions I sold my Freeman and picked up a 36 Yellowfin and I am very pleased with it. On another note I have a good client from California that always comes by himself looking for one other guy to jump on for the 25-26 of June. If anyone might be interested.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.


Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now