Winter Blues

Bobby Byrd & John Cochrane
Winter Blues
Crew landing a large yellowfin.

Winter weather on the Texas Coast can make it tough to get offshore. Many of us are thinking more about ducks and bucks than marlin and tuna. However, if you watch the weather and can go during the week, the fishing can be good. Blue marlin have been caught off our coast in every month of the year. With the distances involved in running to the fishing grounds, weather is the limiting factor. In the next few months however, the fishing can be great, if you can get out.

Big wahoo start showing up at the deepwater rocks near Flower Gardens and many will average well over 50 lbs. Anglers watching the weather will run out near the Gardens and fish the rocks. Most fishermen gun for wahoos with several techniques. A deep swimming lure like a Yo-Zuri Bonita or Strike Pro Wahoo Hunter is deadly. Our favorite colors are Purple/Black, All Black, Blue/Silver and Green/Yellow. Other great choices for wahoo are ballyhoo with a jet head or Islander in front of it, as well as drifting live or dead bait. However, drifting a bait can be a problem if the barracudas and sharks are bad. Most weather windows this time of year only last one day so a fast boat and calm seas are the key to success.

If want to go a little farther out, yellowfin tuna will be concentrated around the deepwater spars as well as a few marlin. Drifting at night with live and dead bait will work especially if you can catch some flying fish. One of our favorite techniques for tuna is using surface poppers. When tuna are up on top you can cast or drift back a popper and have some fun. The bite is awesome and is fun to watch. We like medium and large tuna hunters as well as Rapala Skitter-pops. Be sure any poppers you use have extra strong hooks and split rings or the fight may not last long. Flying fish lures like the Yummy Flying Fish can also work well if the fish are on top, eating flying fish. Big live baits and traditional lures can be deployed if you are looking for marlin.

This past Thanksgiving week the weather was right for about 3 days and many boats got out to the closer spars, Boomvang and Nansen. Plenty of yellowfin tuna were caught along with a 300+ pound on the "Stacey Le'Anne" out of Freeport.

One thing we would like to point out here - Do not push your luck.

If there is a cold front on the way, be sure you get back safely, well before it arrives. We promise that you will not like the consequences. It can be not only miserable, but also very dangerous. Pick your weather window wisely and don't try to go just because it's the weekend and you are off work. You are going a long distance, so make sure the weather conditions are right before you go.

If you want to try something a little different, you can travel east to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Fishing out of Venice, Cajun fishermen have discovered a great bite for yellowfin tuna in the winter months. The place is called Sackett Bank or better known as Midnight Lump or just The Lump.

Fishing the Lump is unique because large concentrations of yellowfin tuna show up there January through March and it's only 17 miles from the mouth of the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River. Cold, choppy, foggy conditions are the norm, but the yellowfin tuna are as big as they get in the gulf. These tuna are the ticket this time of year, with many pushing the 200 lb mark, they will make your reel smoke!

This is where the Louisiana State Record yellowfin was caught and the future record will probably also be caught. Lump season fishing is more of an anchor and drift type fishing with chum bags and chum-churners attracting the fish up to the boat. It can also get crowded at times, especially calm weekends when more anglers try to get in the game.

With the New Year also comes the boats shows, hunting and fishing shows and the end of hunting season. We start thinking more about warmer weather and visiting with our old fishing buddies we haven't seen since summer. For us the Houston Boat Show is a tradition that brings fond memories back to when we were kids. We always loved going to the Boat Show with our dads and see all the new stuff. It's a great place to check out the latest boats, equipment and accessories as well as lots of other exhibits. This year will have larger boat models on display for the bluewater fisherman. If you get a chance come by and see us at the Tops-N-Towers booth at Reliant Center, January 6 14. We always have lots of great pictures and love hearing and talking about the latest fishing news.

We are also proud to announce that Byrd & Cochrane is now the authorized broker for Fox Yacht Sales in the Houston area and we have opened a Clear Lake sales office. Pete Fox and company have been in the business for over 20 years and are based out of Port Aransas, TX. We consider it a privilege to be associated with them. Our office is located at Tops-N-Towers on Nasa Road One, in Seabrook, Texas.

Now, not only can we help you rig your boat, but we also offer new and used boats sales, as well as the to sell your boat for you. We offer new Cabo and Riviera Yachts and a large selection of pre-owned boats. If you are in the market for a boat, or want to sell your boat, we would like to help you get the best deal. Call our Fox Yacht Sales office at 281-291-0656.

Adventure Yamaha Marine
, also located at Tops-N-Towers will be introducing three new boats lines, Jupiter and Stamas at the Houston Boat show and Carolina Classic at the Texas International Boat Show in Corpus Christi. Come by and talk to Doug Danner or call 281-474-9358.