September is well known as a transition month for speckled trout, when they begin the process of moving from offshore waters and heading back to inland marshes and bays for the winter.

The same can also be said for yellowfin tuna, who move in closer to the mouth of the Mississippi River when the river level typically drops in the fall.

“We’re transitioning into fall right now,” said Capt. Joey Davis, with Voodoo Fishing Charters in Venice. “All of the live bait is starting to show up really good, and everything is setting up for tuna-fishing to be off the chain.”

As the river level drops and saltwater pushes into the Mississippi, less freshwater pouring out means bait can move closer in.

“The cleaner water pushes in closer, so that makes everything push in closer — tuna, marlin and all that stuff,” Davis said. “We’re catching fish as close as 14 miles out of the river.

“In the peak of summer, we sometimes catch them that close, but the run is typically 30 or 40, or even 60 or 70 miles.”

Davis said “live-baiting” with hardtails is the ticket now for solid yellowfin action. 

“You’re pretty much hooking the live bait and putting them out behind the boat. We send them out a ways and set up, then pretty much wait for a bite,” Davis said. “The way that it’s been, it’s not like you’re waiting very long.”

Average yellowfin are running in the 40- to 60-pound range, with some topping 100 pounds — a fairly frequent occurrence this year that bodes well for the fall, he said.

“It’s been a phenomenal year for big fish so far, so with as many as we’ve caught, we’re expecting a really solid season,” Davis said. “It’s should be really good.”