At Captain Experiences, we like to say that we help you book the fishing trip of a lifetime every time. This Tuna fishing trip out of Galveston, Texas with Captain Lee was exactly that.
We started planning a repeat trip as soon as we returned from my first trip out with Captain Lee and the Tequila Sunrise crew. That offshore fishing trip out of Galveston was a resounding success as we caught Blackfin Tuna all night 110 miles southeast of Galveston at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
This time, Captain Lee wanted to try his hand at putting us on some Yellowfin Tuna. Fishing reports noted that the Yellowfin Tuna bite was running rampant at the Nansen oil rig, and Captain Lee prepared his gameplan accordingly: we'd head out early Saturday morning at first light, head due south, hit the Cerveza oil rig to check on the Blackfin Tuna bite, and then decide whether or not to pursue Yellowfin Tuna at Nansen.
News also broke just a week before our trip that the new pending Texas state record 820 lb. Bluefin Tuna was caught at the Nansen oil rig, further stoking our imaginations...
After a short run out of the Galveston jetties, we set up our trolling spread 7 lines wide, with two Nomad divers, a few offshore candy skirts, and a ballyhoo rigged up to an Ilander trailing the spread from the flybridge.
Conditions of comfortable 1-3' easing humps could not have been better. Out of nowhere, our smooth ride and sips of Miller Lite were interrupted by a whack on the trailing islander.
Joel grabbed the rod, nudged the drag up to set the hook, and the fight was on. Wahoo on board- back to Cerveza and Miller Lite.
We reached Cerveza in the early afternoon and circled the block. Boom! We immediately doubled up on Blackfin Tuna on the troll. After a few more Blackfin Tuna between trolling and gigging, Captain Lee called a team huddle:
"Look, we can either stay here and wait for the Blackfin Tuna bite to pick up tonight, which it almost definitely will, or we can head out to Nansen and try for Yellowfin. I'm pretty confident they'll be there but it's totally up to y'all."
Willy, Ricky, and the gang all decided we'd do whatever Captain Lee thought best. We reeled up and pushed to Nansen...
If we thought conditions couldn't get any nicer on our initial run, we were pleasantly proved dead wrong. 100-130 miles out and it was water skiing water. Simply unbeatable.
We reached Nansen around 5-6pm and the welcoming committee was jumping out of the water to see us! Swaths of previously calm waters 30-70 yards off the base of the Nansen oil rig were boiling with activity. Yellowfin Tuna were busting at the surface as we trolled up.
This video doesn't do it justice, but I swear I had to crick my head straight back to watch a 40+ lb. Yellowfin Tuna jump 10 feet out of the water.
With the Tuna going crazy on the surface and everyone jigging in the back, I grabbed the Nomad Chug Norris topwater plug and started casting from the bow. On my 4th or 5th cast, this happened:
My first topwater tuna, what an absolute blast. As night started creeping in, we turned our attention to jigging lures 40-80' down the water column. A few bites, but not much action at all. The winning ticket proved to be free-lining Backfin Tuna chunks mixed in with a generous chum slick.
To start our Tuna drift, Captain Lee would nestle the stern of the Tequila Sunrise up to the Nansen rig, and we'd toss our chum bag filled with Ballyhoo and Blackfin Tuna off the boat. We'd go open spool on our reels, feeding out more line as needed to ensure the Blackfin Tuna chunks hooked on our lines camoflaged perfectly in the greater chum slick.
As the current nudged us away from the rig, we'd toss a few handfuls of chum overboard, and would consistently hand out a little more line.
Then out of nowhere, your open-spooled line would start ripping off the reel! Flip the bail to add some drag, and fish on!
Yellowfin Tuna fight hard. They zip and dive in every direction, and just when you think you're close to a gaff shot, they'll rip off more line to lengthen the struggle. For this reason, it's important to have an experienced Captain to stabilize the boat. Tuna also "helicopter" in circles near the boat, so you have to have a buddy or crew ready with an accurate gaff snipe.
After wearing out the Tuna all night, we headed back due North to Galveston and stopped for some nearshore rig fishing. We caught a few Sand Trout and Triggerfish, but nothing to write home about.
Back at the Galveston Yacht Basin to clean fish by mid-afternoon Sunday. What a trip and what a group! Thanks to Captain Lee and the Tequila Sunrise for putting us on the Yellowfin Tuna and getting us back safe!
To read about what happened next in the kitchen, be sure to check out our Texas Yellowfin Tuna Catch & Cook blog post here.
Click here to learn more about Captain Lee, the Tequila Sunrise and these bucket list offshore fishing charters out of Galveston, TX. As always, feel free to reach out with questions or comments.