Green Canyon or Bust!!
After a few early summer trips to Venice in search of tuna out of the mouth of the Big River had left our appetite for yellowfin less than satisfied, we decided a trip to the end of the world was in order. Now, although the deep water canyons at the mouth of the Mississippi river are home to an abundance of pelagic predators, the illustrious waters 100+ miles due south of Fourchon, never seem to disappoint.
A slack flag in Point Fourchon Saturday morning was the last piece of the equation we needed to make our decision to go deep, “Its hot, the winds are calm, and there’s no big storm front on the horizon…we’re goin to Green Canyon!” “Green Canyon or bust baby!” Before the words finished echoing through the docks we were gone!
After a quick stop for live tuna crack on the back side of the Bay Marchand “mar-sha” rigs the throttles were down and, we were headed south. After a 3 hour booze cruise that never lacks in comradery we dropped off the edge…2000…3000…4000…5000 feet. With the ocean floor now an unreachable depth below, the baits went out and, it didn’t take long before the sonar started picking up upside down Nike checks (the tell-tale sonar blip image of a tuna). A few bumps of the motor put the crack right in the kill zone and the music began…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz nothing like the sound of the Penn 50 with line ripping off the reel to get the blood flowing. Reel baby Reel…Reel…Reel! Zzzzzzzzzzzz and then the 2nd 50 wide dumped! It was on now, baby, doubled up! A good 30 minute drag ripping, back breaking battle brought the view we had all been waiting for…big yellow sickle fins! The pelagic predator circled under the boat and gave one more thunderous tail blast to the deep, bending me over the side of the boat, “woooow this is what we came for baby YFT!” With one last push of adrenaline soaked blood the last few cranks brought the muscle-filled torpedo right into the path of a 15” steel gaff. With a two man heave-ho the big girl slammed to the deck and, the first yellowfin of the night was on the boat! War cries, high fives, and chest bumps of victory 110 miles in the middle of the Gulf of America provokes a feeling that I know will never get old!
A few more hours of hard grinding brought several more nice yellowfin to the chest. Blood, beer, gaffs, and smiles filled the deck as the light faded into a magnificent sunset that no picture or description can do justice. As darkness fell and the giant steel floater lit up the night, the blackfin came out with a vengeance. Like the second wave of a tuna army the BFT’s filled up the water column and proceeded to engulf every bit of chum and live bait we threw out. One by one, two by two, and sometimes even three by three the reels sang with blackfin magic into the night.
With the ice chest bursting with meat to the brim and, our shoulders feeling like lead weights, a calm summer shower came through and made for a good break and quick couple hours of shuteye. The pitter patter of rain on the blood stained deck was all it took for the battle worn crew to recharge in a green canyon coma. As the warm rain receded, our sweet dreams where interrupted by a shout from the helm and some jams on the radio. “It’s almost daylight…time for the morning bite boys!!.”
As the dark black sky turned to blue and, a brilliant supernova of red light burst from the eastern horizon, the last of our live bait went off the back.
Looking over the calm morning ocean, I didn’t see a ripple in sight, not a wave, not a bait swirl, nothing. It was the complete calm before the storm! When I turned to look at the sonar the first check appeared…200 ft…100ft…50ft…booooom! Like an eruption of heat seeking torpedoes the yellowfin exploded out of the water, and we were right in the middle! Zzzzzzzzzzz..(first reel) zzzzzzzzzz (second reel) to the floor drag rippin with big nasty one the line. “Whoooooohoooo Baby that’s one hell of an alarm clock!” The last of the battles had re-engaged under the rising sun and we were taking no prisoners. From a green canyon coma to back on the reels, the crew didn’t need any coffee this morning to get em going! After we took 4 more yellowfins the torpedo borage subsided and the monsters sunk back into the deep until another day. With full ice chests, worn muscles, and smiles all the way around, I collapsed back into the beanbag for our long ride home, giving thanks to God for another amazing and, unforgettable adventure to the Green Canyon.