Corey Bellamy & Trask Cunningham fished Corey's Choice of 2/OIFC Contender today. Everyone said fishing was tough but these guys managed a nice wahoo. I THINK Corey's Contender is still for sale Sent from my iPhone
- Capt Papa D
Address: 65 Causeway Drive, Ocean Isle Beach, NC
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Thanks to Capt. Barrett for the awesome recount of his adventures in Houma. Reading his reports and listening to stories reminds me so much of the first 10 years of our King Mackere tournament fishing adventures. We learned new things with every adventure, experienced highs and lows, and through patience, persistence and the unrelenting committment to accomplishment of the objective, we have had fair success.
Thus I am inspired to give the recount of Team OIFC Offshore in our trip to Venice, LA. The main purpose of this trip was to shoot new episodes for next season's No Limits Fishing TV show. Capt. Barrett and I have been hosting the show for 2 years now, and if you have not checked it out, visit www.NoLimitsFishing.com . Goal 1 was Yellowfin Tuna. Goal 2 was King Mackerel. Goal 3 was to get Barrett to shoot down after the Houma tournament and do a Redfish show.
Goal 1 recap- Reports were that the Yellowfin bite had been slow. Winds were NE at 15-20 and the locals do not like wind. However, the Tuna grounds in October are only 10 miles off and they are land protected, much like a north wind at home in OIB. We figured to be dealing with 2-4' chop, so no biggie. The problem was finding fish. We started by trying to net live Mullet as they are often the best bait for big Yellowfin in October. We struggled, throwing dozens of times with only a handful of 10-18" mullet. We decided to head out anyway. Honestly I had no clue where to go really. We started running offshore to the area where we caught the fish the year before; that was all I had to go by. We got out there and then we stop and look around- "now what". This is my typcial approach as my head aches with trying to figure out where to go and what to do. I decided to toss baits in at the nearby rig just to have time to thing. Nothing. However, I look off in the distance and see 4 frigate birds circling. One thing about fishing, never ignore the birds. We picked up and headed that way and on the way we see several large Yellowfin Tuna busts. We got close and deployed but the birds moved. We put our bridled live Mullet back in the well on the ready and ran to the birds and crashing fish again and deployed. This time we got bit. I locked up the 50 wide and she was rolling with 25# of drag. Then after 100 yards or so it was gone. Broke leader 130#. We had another fish take a lighter setup with 80# leader and broke again. Through a series of swings and misses and mess ups we spent our few live Mullet and there we sat. The Yellowfin were not consistent, but a strong current edge had formed and I was marking fish in it at 50'-150' down. I was not sure but I felt like it might be Yellowfin. Now I was at a loss as I thought we were with the fish but we had no bait. I was just starting to leave to go run back in to try to get Mullet again when I remembered we had boated a 20# Blackfin Tuna on one of the Mullet. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a little for the greater good. I made the call to chunk up the Blackfin and see if the technique of chunking might get us something going. Honestly I had never done this before, only seen it on TV. We cubed up the Blackfin into 2" squares and Capt. Derek began tossing a few over at a time. I swear to you less than 2 minutes later I look down and there's a 100# tuna swimming through the chunks slurping them up. Rube had a chunk on his TLD 30 outfit and the Yellowfin swam up and took it right at the boat. We were on again. This time Rube backed off the drag some and we played the fish out and boated our first Yellowfin- right at 100#. By this time the current edge was getting stronger and the activity on the surface was picking up. We pulled back up and went to chunking again and within minutes we were on again, and again, and again. We caught and lost fish. There were also some JUMBO sharks down there that ate some of our baits which led to broke leaders and false bites. But one thing was that it was obvious all those marks on my Simrad screen were in fact tuna below. There was a rig less than a mile away so I decided to run to it to try to jig some Blue Runners. We grabbed a dozen or so and then hauled boogy back to the break and put up the kite. I rerigged with 200# leader as it was going to be out of the water anyway-- WHAM! We literally had the kite out for maybe 20 seconds and Derek was tied onto a good one. He boated that fish at a solid 125#. We caught another on the kite and fought and lost and fought and lost and caught.......... I'm telling you that Yellowfin are some tough fish. I think they are tougher than Bluefin. We capped off the day by letting Chris Campbell, camera man extraordinaire get tied up to a big one. He grabbed hold of a 50w smoking line off and thought he had the big one. Well, an hour later he put a 12' Bronze Whaler shark to the boatside and that was all we had left in us. The current edge had broken up and the sharks seemed to be taking over. When we got back to the dock, our catch caught the attention of charter guys as we were suddenly very welcome guests; so long as we told them everything we knew. Anyway, Chris got some good footage and we think we got enough for a couple of good Yellowfin shows.
Goal 2- I have been wanting to get the King Mackerel fishing on film that we talk about so often in fishing tournaments down in that part of the world. The seas were flat calm this day and we began the process of running from rig to rig looking for the action. We found fish on our third stop in 70' of water in an area where we typically find good Kings in the Fall. Our first fish was easy over 40 and we missed two more bites at the same time. We were on some fish and now it was time to put on the show. We proceeded to find the hot corner where the Kings were biting and honed in on them and went to catching singles and doubles on most every pass. Most all of the Kings were in the 25-35 pound class. Our last fish was one of the biggest at 40+ pounds again. Through this Chris also was able to fly our film drone to get some cool footage from above us fishing, the oil rigs and us catching fish. It should hopefully be a cool perspective. We probably caught 15 or so Kings which should make for another couple of strong shows. Of course in the midst of all this fish action is GooRube doing his thing and us doing our thing, whatever that is -- so there is quite a bit of color mixed in to spice things up.
Goal 3- Capt. Barrett and wife Stephanie, hot off an "almost"/"should have" win at Houma guided Chris through some super skinny waters around Venice. Barrett had not scouted the area at all, so he was in the blind but he did find some Reds that made for good sight fishing and good filming. Chris again launched the drone camera and I saw some of this footage of Barrett running hit boat down creeks barely as wide as the boat - it looked awesome.
AND SO....... We accomplished all goals we sought out to achieve in catching fish on camera. And let me tell you, that is not an easy thing. Fish know when a camera is on board and it makes fishing HARD! I'd say we did not see epic conditions in any of the fishing, but we saw very typical Venice, LA fishing. I'd give us an 7.5 out of 10 score for fishing action. The only problem now is that you have to wait all the way until next May to see any of this footage. Our current season is finishing up airing now with the last original episode of season 2 going out next week. We will then have new content for 12 new episodes starting in May. I'm sure Chris will put together some highlights and cool teasers in the mean time, so keep an eye out for them.
Next week we head back to Venice to do a little prefishing for the SKA Nationals and then we head to Biloxi to compete. Many local teams are making the trip as well, so I am hoping we can work together to bring the trophy back to the area. Keep it local!
Several of the CCU Saltwater Fishing Club worked at the Fall Brawl tournamnet earlier in the month. They did an excellent job; working hard and being very respectful. I was impressed. The deal was they would come help at the tournament and in turn the tournament would help send them fishing. Joe Winslow, a professor at CCU, OIFC Pro Staff fisherman and CCU Saltwater Club forefather sent this email note and picture. Great job!
Brant, your donation to the club enabled all these students (pictured below) to go fishing yesterday on a headboat out of Murrells Inlet, and they had a heck of a good time. Big fish of the trip was a 32lb king (released) and a 25lb gag.
Wednesday this past week I finally had a crew of guys that didn't mind catching some big fish. We arrived at the jetties to find very few boats out there. We anchored up and started cutting up menhaden putting them on the bottom. It didn't take long for our first 40 incher to show up. We caught 10 or so in about an hour. We had a few other big critters as well and pulled the hooks on several more hook ups that may have been reds. Either way we smoked them and that is what this time of year is all about. Speckled trout are next on the hit list as the big red bite should be winding down this week. See ya on the water!
epic day catching yellowfin on the kite yesterday in Venice...filled the boat...doing some redfishing today, and back offshore for the kings tomorrow. #yellowfin #tuna #venicemarina #louisiana #nolimitsfishing #oifc #bigwhiskey — with Brant McMullan, Amy Gales McMullan and Derek Treffinger at Venice Marina.
Congratulations to Shane Britt on winning 1st place in the 2nd Annual Festival By The Sea Carolina Slam Tournament. He will claim he was using his Britt's Bucktails but I've been told he was really using a a Capt. Rickey's Custom Flounder/Drum Rig.
Thanks to Cane Faircloth and all involved for a great event..
I received these pictures from Pat Prince. Pat, fished with Jay Stanley & Tylan Medlin at the Jungle. He said his pogeys came from the Shallotte inlet and the bite was early. The cool looking picture of the guy with the king is Dr. T with a king he caught at the 90's.
Thanks for the report Pat.
Lane and Jamie Price joined me for a full day. The goal was to get Jamie one of those big bull redfish. We drifted several areas along the beachfront with no luck. We eased back into the skinny water dropping live shrimp on the bottom looking for anything. We found all sorts of croakers, pinfish, and perch. We filled the livewell with croakers planning to use them for bait. We headed for the jetties and the bite was on! I think my expectations were a little higher than Jamie's and Lane's. The class of fish were only around 30 inches, but we were steadily catching. Jamie's biggest one of the day was around 33 inches, which she said was big enough! Redfish are fun no matter was size.The bite slowed at the rocks so we headed back towards Ocean Isle. I made a couple more stops looking for dinner. Our flounder were coming up short, so I went after black drum. We found 3 keeper black drum, which are excellent to eat as well. See ya on the water!
~~Where do I even start? I'm too tired to give the whole detailed story but here goes.
Stephanie and I hit the water this morning for the first day of the IFA championship in Houma along with 103 other redfish teams from across the southeast. The tournament winner is decided by the heaviest 4 slot (18" - 27") redfish- two fish each day.
Without any better intel, we opted to head back way west about 100 miles to an area I had scouted earlier in the week. I found a decent bite over there and the most encouraging piece was the fact I caught a 7.5lber that was only 25 inches. Finding fat/heavy redfish that stay within the slot limit is the name of the game. The problem with this area was the depth of the water where the fish were holding was too skinny for me to get my boat into. I just had to hope we could get close enough before running out of water to get a shot at the fish.
Everything went according to plan on the way over. We made the run in an hour and 45 minutes and didn't hit any obstacles! As soon as we arrived to my area I immediately noticed the water was already very low. I knew we wouldn't make it very far back into the ponds that were holding the big fish. We made a shot at it and sure enough, I need to push back another 100 yards to reach all the fish I could see milling around. Talk about frustrating. More of that to come. We had to back out and try to fish the surrounding area that had more water.
We started the catching with a couple over slots 28" and 29" in the nearby area. I moved back out to the opening where I had found another group of smaller fish earlier in the week. This time though I started a little further up at the opening to another pond. I looked off in the distance and commented to Stephanie, "what in the world is that? It looks like the lochness monster". I could see a mass of movement in the water about 150 yards away and figured it was an alligator. As I got closer I was shocked to see 5 separate wolf packs of redfish aggressively feeding in a big open pond. The water was once again shallow but this time I was able to push back close enough to get a shot. For the next 2 hours we sat pinned down in the same spot and hammered the reds. These were quality fish. I knew we were in a good situation and the nerves began to set in. It was a calamity of errors for a while losing numerous fish but still we managed to put fish in the boat. The agonizing part was every single fish was right on the 27" mark. They were perfect or nearly perfect. We'd catch, measure, weigh and repeat. Everyone was so close and we'd go back and forth on whether or not to cull. We finally settled on two fish, both just under the 27" mark on our board that weighed 7.5 and 8.25. The schools started to disipate so with just a few minutes left I made a last attempt to get back in the pond where we had tried first thing in the morning. I knew these fish would be heavy if we could get to them. We tried to push through the skinny water but once again, we just couldn't get where we needed. Just then, I see a pig swim up and nail him. He's right on the line again and just under 8lbs. We measure 3 times and he makes it but barely. Let's roll the dice.
We have the run timed down to the second, so we quickly throw all the gear into place and haul boogy back east. About half way through the run I open the release well and see the dreaded sight of an upside down redfish. Reminicent of last year's SKA Nationals adventure when Amy and I rode inside the bilge pumping the gas ball for 50 miles, Stephanie rode the rest of the trip back to the scales doing cpr on the fading redfish.
We make it to the scales with about 3 minutes to spare and a redfish taking his last gasps. We broad slide into weigh in, grab a couple weigh bags and get the fish to the bump man who measures and approves the fish. All this time we were worried to death about our redfish that was just about to die. Well the good news is, he made it. The bad news is apparently as the fish was transitioning from being alive to dead his body relaxed when he went on the measuring board he measured 27 1/64". Too big. "What!" Needless to say, I was fit to be tied. We had measured 3 times and he made it each time. Not this time and that's the that.
So, from the highest highs to the lowest lows so goes the life of a tournament fisherman. Now with a few hours to digest this day, I can honestly say it was one hell of a ride. It didn't end like we had hoped but the ride was still exhillarating and that's the rush we live for. Once again I'll have to chalk this up to the learning curve on my quest for redfish tournament glory. I will be building a more precise measuring device moving forward but honestly I'm not sure that wouldve changed anything. Sometimes, stuff just happens. We had incredible fishing and got to feel the tournament fishing adrenalin. Mission accomplished.
Next up for me in the redfish world is back to the HT Elite series in March. This is the big, high profile tour that I hope to put my full efforts into. This one will be televised this year on Discovery America and I intend on showing up! Enough hard luck lessons already! It's time to break through.
So, having been DQ'd on day one, we really didn't have much left to fish for in the tournament. We packed it up and headed home....Yeah Right! Nope, we shifted this program east and rendevouzed with Team OIFC/NO Limits Capt. Brant, Rube, Amy, Derek and Chris Campbell in Venice, LA. They are down here filming No Limit's shows on tuna and other offshore species. Tomorrow morning though, Chris is going to jump on with me and Stephanie with the objective of getting a good Lousiana redfish show in the can. I have no idea where to go here in Venice but as I've said before, it'll be an adventure!
A day in the life of....one day we'll look back at days like this and tell stories. "You do it for the stories you could tell" (Jimmy Buffett)