NOAA Fisheries, Tuesday, May 11, 2021—Fishermen aboard Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Angling category and Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat permitted vessels (when fishing recreationally) may not retain, possess, or land large medium or giant Atlantic bluefin tuna (i.e., measuring 73 inches curved fork length or greater) in the Gulf of Mexico after 11:30 p.m., May 4, 2021.
By Nichole Osinski
Mid-April and the guys in Texas are already at it again, this time with yet another pending Texas state record giant bluefin tuna. The giant was caught just one year after the previous record was set raising the bar for anglers once again in the Gulf.
The story, retold by Capt. Justin Drummond, starts early on Tuesday, April 14, on the 64′ Spencer Quantified as the team headed out of Port Aransas in search of a very specific fish—the bluefin tuna.
As we say goodbye to 2020 and look to 2021 with hope and excitement for new things to come, we can’t do this without looking back at the significant stories of the year. Our editors curated the top five stories that had a significant impact for us and our readers. These are the features that motivated, educated and took us away to wide open waters for the time we were reading. We hope you enjoy.
In a very direct sense, the pending new Texas state record bluefin tuna was a victim of the coronavirus.
Whether or not fish can actually catch this disease, who the hell knows, but the trip that resulted in greasing the biggest bluefin in the history of the Lone Star State was the result of being cooped up in the house awaiting the virus to run its course. Captain Robert Nichols, who runs the Rock Mama, a 55’ Hatteras based out of Galveston, Texas was gracious enough to tell us all about this fish of a lifetime.
So many times, I’m asked about how much a captain should get paid. Sometimes, I’m asked by the captain and sometimes I’m asked by the owners. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason on what a captain should or shouldn’t make.
Back in the day, there was an unwritten rule that a captain should make a grand per foot. I don’t know who came up with that…but it was ignorant.
The InTheBiteCaptain of the Year Cup presented by Hatteras is the world’s foremost competition for professional sportfishermen. The world’s only quantifiable metric for comparing the tournament success of captains, winning an InTheBite Captain of the Year Award is a major achievement. The Cup is composed of five divisions that span the sportfishing world: East Coast, Florida, Gulf Coast, Hawaii and International.
We look back on the 2019 winners who pushed past challenges, beat the odds and showed us what it takes to be the best.
What type of steering system do you have? While most sportfish crew would answer hydraulic, there are many variables today that differentiate the design, components and operation of a vessel’s steering system. Learning about your boat’s system can assist when it comes time for maintenance, ordering repair parts and performing bleeding (more about this later).
Live bait is both the best bait and the worst bait. Nothing entices a fish to bite better than a wriggling and writhing forage fish dangling from the hook. Nothing gives anglers more trouble than catching, keeping and rigging livies. That’s right, you can’t live with live bait, and you can’t win without.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Angling Category Southern Area Trophy Fishery
The Angling category fishery for trophy bluefin tuna in the southern area will close effective 11:30 p.m., February 20, 2020. The fishery will remain closed through December 31, 2020.
The southern area is the area south of 39°18’N lat. (off Great Egg Inlet, NJ), outside the Gulf of Mexico. Trophy bluefin tuna are those measure 73 inches or greater.
Why is this change being made?
Based on the best available landings information, NOAA Fisheries has determined that the Angling category southern area trophy bluefin tuna subquota of 1.8 mt has been reached and exceeded and, therefore, closure of the fishery is warranted.
Who is affected?
Individuals aboard vessels permitted in the Atlantic HMS Angling and Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat permits fishing recreationally in the southern area (defined above) may not retain, possess, or land large medium or giant Atlantic bluefin tuna after 11:30 p.m. on February 20, 2020.
Note that the Angling category fishery for school, large school, or small medium bluefin tuna (27 to <73 inches) remains open in all areas except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NOAA Fisheries does not allow targeted fishing for bluefin tuna because it has been designated as a spawning ground.
Fishermen may also catch and release or tag and release bluefin tuna of all sizes, subject to the requirements of HMS catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs. All bluefin tuna that are released must be handled in a manner that will maximize survivability and without removing the fish from the water.
Angling category and HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessel owners are required to report the catch of all bluefin retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of landing or the end of each trip by:
- Accessing the HMS Permit Shop.
- Using the HMS Catch Reporting app.
- Calling 888-872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.).
By Ric Burnley
As soon as tuna reports leak onto the Internet, people go crazy. The day after a hot bite, every charter boat is booked and the launch ramp is backed up a mile. The madness has many causes. Tuna live in a beautiful place. They promise an explosive strike followed by a bull-dog fight. But most of all, tuna are delicious. From the hook to the dinner table, tuna are one of the most valuable fish in the ocean. From hook up to the table, the following is a best practice for making the most of your next tuna.
Mexican Gulf Fishing Company brought home these two attractive Bluefin yesterday. Captain Zach Lewis with a 528lb and Captain Kevin Beach with a 543lb. Nice score!
Check out the video of the Big Smoke 985 lbs Nova Scotia Bluefin Trip October 2015.
InTheBite was lucky enough to be on location for a recent trip to Nova [Read more…]
NOAA Fisheries closes the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) Angling category fishery for large medium and giant “trophy” BFT (measuring 73” or greater) in the southern area effective 11:30 p.m. local time, Sunday, June 7, 2015, through December 31, 2015. The southern area is the area south of 39°18’N (off Great Egg Inlet, NJ), outside the Gulf of Mexico. [Read more…]
Anglers who are lucky enough to come across any bluefin tuna this year [Read more…]
1005 lb, 115″ Bluefin Tuna caught offshore of Morehead City, NC Tuesday January 13, 2015. NC State Record!! Congrats to the Fish Bucket crew!