Tuna, red snapper thick offshore
Use these tips to load the boat
The fish were thick during a recent trip offshore for this group of anglers.
"I was sure we were going to catch snapper, and was hoping for some tuna but was not really quite sure what to expect," Pizzolato said while gearing up for the ensuing overnighter.
A protege of sorts and former deckhand of Capt. Ryan Dicharry, Talbot boasts tried-and-true tuna-fishing tactics that have yielded him astounding numbers during past fishing trips.
"I'm always upcurrent of a rig when I'm fishing, and I try to locate the tuna school before I start a stream of sardine and pogie chum," Talbot said. "If the school is 150 feet down, I try to go upstream of them and just feel out the current and how much power I have to put on engine. I let everyone's lines just naturally drift with the chum stream.
"Sometimes I try different leader lengths and hook sizes if the bite isn't turning on like I want it to. I believe that this is the most effective way to fish tuna, and it keeps everyone involved."
Patience was required on this trip. But when the tuna were ready action really picked up.
"The tuna bite didn't turn on until around 7 o'clock," Pizzolato noted. "But when it turned on it went into overdrive, and we had double hook-ups in succession. We just kept the chum drifts rolling, and the action stayed intense."
Within just an hour of first contact, the crew landed five yellowfin. The bite lasted well past dusk, and by the time 10 p.m. rolled around there were nine yellowfin in the boat.
The Green Canyon proved fruitful for the crew, giving them two more yellowfin around dawn. They decided there was plenty of tuna in the cooler, so Talbot took them north to his hot bottom-fish rig in 450 feet of water.
"Again, even when fishing bottom fish, I'm always on the upcurrent side of a rig," Talbot noted. "When I take customers fishing, I always like to have a wide variety of bait and tackle to be able to feel out the fish situation.
"When I'm targeting red snapper and grouper, I like to go in between 400 to 600 feet (of water). Naturally the snapper are bigger the deeper you go."
The crew dropped their Carolina rigs sporting 42-ounce weights and baited with large threadfin herrings and butterflied hardtails. Talbot knows that big baits catch big fish, and if behemoth snapper is what you're after then a combination of deeper water and large bait will bring them in the boat.
The hook-ups started immediately after Talbot located the fish on the depth finder. The crew began hauling in 20-pound red snapper — one of which brought David Pizzolato to the first-place spot in the Star tournament for CCA at 23.90 pounds.
A few snapper before the boat limited, the warsaw of the trip showed its face.
"While I was fighting a scamp, my brother-in-law Shane gets hit by the warsaw that completely wore him out," Pizzolato said. "We brought in the rest of our limit of snapper, and we were all completely worn and ready to ride back to land and cool off with a couple of drinks and some breeze.
"What its all about is just letting them have the trip of a lifetime, and that's what they did. Its always a great time."
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"About 120 miles that way," Joey Davis said, gesturing to the southwest.
Less than 48 hours later, Davis, Colton Wood and Hussein Zayed, all of Ocean Springs, Miss., were drifting cut bait on the Lump, south of Venice, in Zayed's 27 Conch.">Tuna trip is totally worth it
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