Most people don’t take part in our fantastic pelagic fishery we have in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. But with planning and preparation, anglers can have some great days out there catching different species such as wahoo, tuna, mahi and sailfish. The closest and the most abundant of the “Bluewater Club” species in that area is blackfin tuna. Look for them around wrecks and springs in depths ranging from 80-500 feet. Chum is vital when tuna fishing because the fish travel in large packs. Anchoring near these spots and deploying a steady stream of both live and dead pilchards will bring them to your transom. The first to show will more than likely be the bonita, and it probably won’t be alone. Don’t get discouraged because blackfin will show up. Slow trolling live baits is an effective technique we use when targeting the speedy wahoo. Baits such as cigar minnows, blue runners and large Spanish sardines work well. Large pinnacles in areas such as the “Elbow” are a great place to concentrate your efforts. Trolling a spread of Iland Lures with ballyhoo works well in those areas, too.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com