Springtime in Venice: Tuna on the Towers

Yellowfin and blackfin swarm Louisiana's offshore rigs

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SF Editor Chris Woodward and Publisher Dave Morel (pictured with a 60-pound yellowfin) joined Shimano in Venice, Louisiana, last week (May 8-9) for some bluewater-tuna fishing and a look at several products the company will reveal this summer.Chris Woodward
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After driving from New Orleans to Venice, we checked in at the Venice Sportsman's Lodge, a floating houseboat with multiple bunkrooms, a full-service galley and plush living space.Chris Woodward
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Motoring out through the marsh for the run offshore. The Mississippi River water flowing into the delta was muddy and chilly from the numerous spring cold fronts that socked the upper Midwest.Chris Woodward
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Capt. Billy Wells from the Mexican Gulf Fishing Company throws a cast net to capture pogies.Chris Woodward
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Success within a few throws means plenty of liveys for chumming and slow-trolling.Dave Morel
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Hard to beat a flat-calm day at an offshore rig any time of year. We easily spotted yellowfin and blackfin schools tormenting baits at the surface and cast to them with topwater plugs, catching and releasing a few smaller tuna.Chris Woodward
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Live baits produced the biggest fish. Here, Dave Morel is hooked up to his first yellowfin, a 60-pounder.Chris Woodward
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Coming home for dinner.Chris Woodward
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Kudos to Morel for the solo lift. Behind him is the topwater casting rig he had to set down to fight the 60-pounder on standup.Chris Woodward
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Shimano’s Brian Nolte, senior manager for retail services, wrestles the first blackfin tuna of the day. That fish fight preceded a flurry of hookups on blackfins to about 25 pounds.Chris Woodward
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The blackfin’s powerful tail beats the surface into white water as it tries to power away from the boat.Chris Woodward
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Capt. Bill Wells shows off a blackfin before release.Chris Woodward
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Editor Chris Woodward and a blackfin that landed in the fish box.Dave Morel
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Morel hooked up again while a buddy boat (one of the regionally popular Freeman 33 catamarans) tries drifting and casting closer to the platform.Chris Woodward
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Morel caught and released several smaller yellowfins like this one on live bait and topwater plugs.Chris Woodward
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Woodward harnessed into a 70-plus pounder, secretly hoping for a triple-digit fish.Dave Morel
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A beautifully colored yellowfin emerges from the purple-blue water to meet the gaff.Chris Woodward
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Woodward and her largest YFT.Dave Morel
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Almost at lines-in, a 100-plus pounder hits a live bait and thrills the angler with a thumb-searing run.Chris Woodward
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Wells hoists the big tuna into the coffin box.Chris Woodward
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Got to love a tuna that’s almost as big as you are!Chris Woodward
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A quad-powered catamaran from our Shimano group returns to the condos at Venice Marina at twilight.Chris Woodward
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Capt. Chris Wilson boiled up a pile of fresh crawdads for our hungry group. Several of the boats contributed some fresh tuna sashimi as well.Dave Morel