36 Hour Tuna Trip Information and schedule
To make a reservation for a 36 hour tuna trip we have useful information to help make your trip more enjoyable and successful.
The Capt John is a 75 foot catamaran that can accommodate the 40 fisherman on a 36 hour trip comfortably. There are 40 sleeping bunks inside the spacious cabin. There is a full galley inside the air conditioned cabin where there is also a television you can watch while you eat and take a break from fishing.
The boat will leave at 7:30 A.M. the first day of your trip and will return at 7:30 P.M. the next day. We do ask that you make it here around 6:30 A.M. so that you have time to get your gear loaded and the boat can leave on time.We will provide you with a fishing rod, reel, hooks, weights, and squid.
What you need to bring:
- Sleeping bag or bed roll and pillow
- Rubber deck boots
- Change of clothes-not required but nice to have
- Ice chest left in your vehicle to put your fish in when you get off the boat
- Zip lock bags-if you are going to have your fish cleaned by the fish cleaners
- You may bring your own fishing rod and gear although it is not required
- Recommended tackle includes: Butterfly jigs, Diamond jigs (chrome), and tuna poppers. These will be needed for tuna fishing. You should have at least 4 and the size should be 6 or 8 oz
- You will need enough cash for the snack bar and gratuities
- Texas Fishing License (required by law)
What not to bring:
- No food or drinks are allowed to be taken on the boat.
- No GPS allowed.
- Ice chests are not allowed or needed on the boat. The Capt John is equipped with ice chests all around the boat to keep your fish on ice.
When the season is open, double limits are allowed for red snapper, amberjack, kingfish, etc., except that there are no double limits on ling. There are no limits on blackfin tuna. As your 6 oz chrome diamond jig is fluttering downward, the anticipation and excitement builds. If and when would a blackfin tuna inhale it during its drop? Another 36 hour trip season aboard the Capt. John has started that could be your diamond jig vs. a blackfin tuna in the Gulf's clear depths. These trips now scheduled are going to be just as exciting and productive, with the added comfort of winter and early spring fishing thrown in. They are designed to get your fishing adrenalin going - and each one is different. While they're sometimes referred to as tuna trips, it's really the variety and numbers of fish taken that's their real attraction.
The basic structure of these trips is that they leave at 7:00 A.M. and are scheduled to return around 7:00 P.M. the next day. The first fishing stop is usually around two in the afternoon, about 70 to 80 miles offshore. This stop, depending on the area, could produce vermilion snapper, gag and Warsaw grouper, amberjack, ling, dolphin, tuna, kingfish, etc. You could be fishing over rocks, wrecks, drifts by anchored shrimp boats, or at a rig. Usually, but not always, the boat will leave this area in time to be at the first rig where blackfin tuna will be fished for by around sunset. One rig or several may be fished during the overnight period. The blackfin usually hit pretty good after sunset and again just before daylight - they sort of come and go during the overnight period. On most trips the rigs fished at night will be in from 300 to 1000 feet of water with the tuna mostly being in the upper 200'. These deepwater rigs are also home to gag grouper and giant Warsaw grouper that could weigh hundreds of pounds and it's the bottom fishing for these groupers that's now my favorite part of these trips. Just after sunrise, the trip back usually starts. Depending on the weather and space left in the many fish boxes, a stop or stops are usually made on the way back at around 70 to 80 miles offshore. This fishing is usually of the same variety as the first stop/stops on the way out.
The tackle supplied by the boat for these trips is adequate to get the job done on everything except the bigger groupers in the deeper water. Bringing your own tackle and your familiarity with it is a better way to go for any fishing offshore. My personal choice for fishing deep, 300' to 1,000', is a locked drag (dangerous to do) Shimano Beastmaster 50/80 2-speed, spooled with a top shot of 500 yards of 130# Spectra (mono is too stretchy at these depths), mounted on a 80/130 Sabre 5'6" Tuna Stick. I use a 500# Sampo ball bearing swivel to connect the spectra to a 300# Jinkai mono single drop "Lemire modified Fontenot rig" I mostly use a 16/0 to 20/0 circle hook with a big cut bait when trying to tempt one of those big bottom feeders. I always use a gimbal pad and harness, the rod and reel all stuck in and clipped on, with the reel in low gear. You must be ready to put immediate pressure on after the hook up or you may lose a great fish in the bottom structure. I use high gear when the fish is off the bottom about 50 feet. I go back to low gear if the fish makes the fight too hard. Several of these gear changes up and down will most likely be used on a big grouper or amberjack before you get it to the surface. Grouper fishing requires a dedication to the bottom that most aren't willing to give. You can spend a lot of time on the bottom over several trips with little success....I've done it. The quickest big grouper on the hook was a 114# black grouper caught atop Stetson Rock in 65' of water. It almost immediately hit a head half of a 10" sand trout on his first drop to the bottom at the first stop of that trip. It's the current Texas and I.G.F.A. World record! The chance of that happening again is remote to say the least, but you never know. My two biggest catches on the deep drops (both after long waits and several bait checks at 980' and 350') is a 52# king snake eel that holds current Texas and I.G.F.A. World records and a 129# Warsaw grouper. Other sizeable Warsaw grouper that have been caught on these trips have weighed 120, 122, and 149#. For blackfin tuna, the minimum tackle should be 40# with 50# being more realistic – 50# gives you more control of a frantic tuna at boat side; I use 90 to 120# Spectra on Newell 454 and 550 reels mounted on 6-1/2 ft., 50 to 80# Allstar Graphite rods. These blackfin generally run from 15 to 25#; most readily hit 6 or 8 oz chrome diamond jigs. These jigs are fished at various depths and speeds, it's a matter of finding what they want; they also hit freelined squid, Spanish sardines and cigar minnows. The boat's catch should run from 25 to 50, a lot depends on the tuna, how they are feeding and how well and hard you fish. The same tackle used for blackfin is also good for snapper, ling, kingfish, etc.
My personal preference for kingfish is a 550-5.5 Newell filled with 130# Spectra mounted on my 6', 50 to 80# Calstar rod . Not all of these trips result in a lot of kingfish but Stetson Rock, for instance, can come alive with them at times. These are generally from the mid 20's to lower 40's pound range. Those congregations at Stetson really "slam" bullet type lures; these casting lures require a high speed reel, preferably with a 4:5 to 6:1 retrieve ratio. Freelined Spanish sardines, cigar minnows or most small live baits also get a lot of strikes, the heaviest in the past being 52, 54, 56 and 58#...true "super smokers". The weather is the only non-controllable part of these trips; you have to hope that the weather gods cooperate. If they do, you'll most likely catch fish till your arms hurt, especially since double limits of most fish are allowed on these trips. If you have any questions about tackle or methods used, email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you've never been on one of these trips, don't let this season pass without going on one. I know those of you who have experienced them are ready to go again. Some of these 36 hour tuna trips are being scheduled now. Give the Capt. John's office a call at 409-762-8808 or 713-223-4853 (Houston No.) for reservations, also check the website for fishing reports and updates. These trips usually fill up quickly since a maximum of 40 fishermen are taken on each one.
We hope this helps get you more prepared and answers some of the questions. If you have any other questions feel free to give us a call or email you questions. Here are the current 36 hour trips that are scheduled:
36 hour Tuna Safari scheduled trips:
March 21-22, 2015 Saturday - Sunday
2015 Pilot Program Red Snapper Days