What's hot: Blue water sport fishing in the Gulf of Mexico continues to produce great catches of blue marlin, white marlin, wahoo, dolphin and tuna. I fished with Sid Rice on the Marlin Hunter (a Hatteras 50) for three days last weekend. We started trolling 130 miles offshore near an area called the Steps, where the depths of the gulf drop from 800 feet to 10,000 (at the continental shelf). This area traditionally holds good numbers of fish and always has been productive. We hooked a 350-pound blue marlin within 25 minutes, and it spooled almost 880 yards of 80-pound line before spitting the hook with one great jump.
Technique: We trolled six lines and two teasers to attract the fish. We were able to hook and release a white marlin but had no other strikes the rest of Day 1. The Bottoms Up boat caught and released a nice blue and one other boat near us released a blue marlin and a sailfish. The following day we caught wahoo and numerous dolphin. One boat was fortunate and caught some yellowfin tuna. We saw numerous large fish but could not get a blue marlin to strike again.
Planning: To fish 130 miles offshore you need to provide for all your needs: food, water, bait and ice, to name a few. You should carry a life raft, EPRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) and a satellite phone for added safety. Leave a float plan with someone who knows when you plan on returning.
Larry "Huffy'' Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.