The world-class offshore fishing in the upper Gulf of Mexico is a fairly easy run in good weather for boating anglers departing from the mouth of Louisiana’s Mississippi River Delta. But the folks at Regulator Marine and its dealership, Bluewater Yacht Sales (with locations in Mobile and Orange Beach, Alabama) proposed a slightly different approach to fishing these rich grounds, one that would help prove the offshore fishing mettle of Regulator boats, both new and pre-owned.
Instead of doing things the easy way, late last May, two Regulators departed from Alabama’s Perdido Pass Inlet and ran some 120 miles to fish offshore oil rigs and rip lines off Louisiana for blue marlin, mahi, yellowfin tuna and wahoo. One boat was a new Regulator 31, owned and captained by Bennett Long of Bluewater Yacht Sales; the other boat was a 2000 Regulator 26 Classic, owned, restored and captained by Maclin Smith of HMS Marine Electronics in Orange Beach. The rest of the team consisted of Bennett’s brother, Forrest Long, owner of Bluewater Yacht Sales, as well as local anglers Angelo DePaola, Daniel Robinson and Allen McCall. Regulator Marine’s videographer Bobby Layden was also along to help chronicle the trip.
For the evening, rather than run back home, the two boats headed in to the South Pass of the Delta and tied up at Louisiana’s Port Eads High Adventure lodge for meals and overnight accommodations, as well as fuel and ice. This outpost is accessible only by water or air. Only a few miles inside the pass, it is far more convenient for boating anglers than running 20 miles upriver to Venice. The next morning, the boats ran back out 30 miles to fish offshore for a second day, finally turning for sweet home Alabama in the late afternoon.
All told, the boats covered more than 360 miles without a glitch or hiccup from either, all the while enjoying good weather and great fishing. Look for the story in an upcoming issue of Sport Fishing Magazine. In the meantime, here in photos is a glimpse of this Port Eads passage.
Among the many oil rigs in the upper Gulf of Mexico, the Virgo oil and gas platform – some 70 miles from Perdido Pass – stands as one of the most productive.
Maclin Smith hoists aboard a 50-pound wahoo that struck a trolled Russelure pink ice deep-diving plug around the Virgo rig.
Angelo DePaola battles a big yellowfin tuna from the cockpit of the Regulator 31.
Brothers Forrest and Bennett Long lift a 127-pound yellowfin tuna through the tuna door of the Regulator 31, while wireman Daniel Robinson stands ready to assist.
The Regulator 31 pulls in to the High Adventure Lodge at Port Eads for the evening. The Louisiana lodge includes a marina, fuel dock and ice machines, as well as bunk-room style accommodations and a dining hall.
Located just inside the South Pass of the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana’s High Adventure Lodge at Port Eads was completely rebuilt and modernized after sustaining severe damage from Hurricane Katrina.
The sun sinks below the marsh grass and meandering channels of the Mississippi River Delta, marking the end of the first day of this Port Eads passage.
Nowhere is the transition from green to blue water more abrupt than along the offshore rips off Louisiana. Sargassum weed piles up along the rip, attracting flying fish and other forage that in turn attracts game fish.
Mahi abound along the rip lines of the upper Gulf of Mexico. There are so many, it’s sometimes hard to catch anything else.
Rigged ballyhoo with a pink skirt proved highly effective when trolling the blue water side of the rip lines. Best trolling speed was around 8.5 mph.
A blue marlin crashed the trolling spread of the Regulator 31 on the second day of our adventure in the upper Gulf of Mexico.
Though on the small side, this blue marlin put on a spectacular aerial display close to the boat before we were able to wire the fish and release it.
Our sunburned crew for the two-day Port Eads passage included (L-R) me, Angelo DePaola, Allen McCall, Forrest Long, Maclin Smith, Bennett Long, Daniel Robinson and Bobby Layden.