Capt. Scott Avanzino with Paradise Outfitters (985-845-8006) said this is the perfect time to make a trip to the Midnight Lump because the tuna are already starting to bite, and there is very light fishing pressure right now. He reported that a 210-pound yellowfin was caught a couple weeks ago, and his boat recently reeled in one weighing 135 pounds.“It’s pretty much business as usual,” Avanzino said. “We’ve been doing well on the yellowfin and blackfin. The wahoo are biting, and there’s even been some mako sharks showing up. There’s only been about 20 boats or so when I’ve been out there, but that will change when everybody gets out of the woods. That’s when it gets nasty out there.”
Avanzino has been targeting the tuna by working chum lines with cut pogies and bonito. A hook through a piece of bait fished in the chum line is enough to entice some good bites. Avanzino has been winding up keeping about four or five yellowfin each day with four or five blackfin thrown in too.
“We’ve also been catching some good wahoo from 40 to 60 pounds,” Avanzino added. “We even had one about 90 pounds just the other day. We’ve been catching the wahoo by trolling the shelf rigs and the Lump with plastic diving plugs like a blue/white Ilander/ballyhoo or something like a Braid Marauder.”
While he has been trying the wahoo on the shelf rigs, Avanzino said most of his catching is taking place on the Lump.
“That’s normal this time of year,” he said. “It usually kicks off in late January. Now would be a great time to book a trip because of the lack of intense pressure so characteristic of the Lump.”
Anglers looking to make a trip with Avanzino can find accommodations at the Venice Marina (985-534-9357), the Lighthouse Lodge (985-534-2522), Yellow Cotton Bayside (985-534-2570) and Cypress Cove Marina Motel (888-534-8777).