As we near the end of our fishing season in the Texas Gulf, I began to reflect back on the incredible marlin fishing our tournament fleet has experienced in the previous few years. This year, on the other hand, has been a little off in comparison. While the bulk of the season hasn’t lived up to the previous few years, it seems to picking up here towards the end.
Last year at this time, this column described the Hoover/Diana Spar producing over 45 blue marlin in a five week period. These catches and releases were all reported between the Poco Bueno tournament in July and the Texas Legends tournament in August. Were the numbers not enough, many of them being solid fish and a few in the 600- and 700-pound class.
The Diana bite never really happened this summer. In fact, if you were to combine the action from all season in all of our normal tournament target areas that it would have matched last year’s bite from the Hoover/Diana Spar alone. What accounts for the difference in fishing results? For starters, the favorable current and bait conditions that produced the bite last year have not been present at Hoover/Diana in 2019.
While the overall number may have been down, there were a few boats that did have epic trips throughout the summer. In early June the Hook N Bull released six blues on an overnight trip to Diana. These early results had many thinking that the bite was about to go off again this year… but not much really happened at Diana thereafter.
In the Texas Billfish Classic, our tournament season starter this year, there was a really good bite at the shelf rigs for about a week. This area produced the majority of the 22 blues for the 26 boat fleet fishing the tournament. Of these 22 blue ones, the Bali Ha’i caught four and took home second place in the release division. The Done Deal, who won the release division, also picked up the last couple of their blues in the same area. Their total for the tournament was six blues and one white.
Fishing finally picked back up on Labor Day weekend with most of the boats reporting at least one blue marlin release. If the wide distribution of action were not enough, the Game Plan set a new Gulf record going 8 for 10 on blue marlin in a single day! Game Plan caught all eight of their blues at the Perdido spar rig using stand up tackle and estimated them all to be between 400- and 600-pounds.
Perdido is the southernmost rig that we fish off the Texas coast. In addition to the new single day Gulf record, the rig has produced many tournament winners in the past. The following weekend, the crew on the Sigsbee Deep headed back to the same spot and went three for four on blues with an extremely big girl that they gave a very conservative estimate of 700 plus pounds.
Before we call 2019 a thing of the past, we still have a little time before hunting season is full on. As long as the weather cooperates, we hope to tack on a couple more good reports.
– That’s the report from Texas.