Offshore Action Heats Up

The offshore fishing summer season is in full swing right now. It is time to stop thinking and talking about it and get out there and do it. Red snapper season is currently open and there have been some excellent catches of red snapper brought back to the Port Aransas docks by both private and charter boats. We had a lucky break in the weather around the first week of June and the Port Aransas fleet was able to get out there and land some nice fish.

There have been some nice wahoo, dolphin, tuna, sailfish and blue marlin caught within 60 miles out of Port Aransas. With a bit of luck maybe the southeast winds will lay off and let us get back out there in July and August. The blue marlin have been around in good numbers this year. The Blues Brothers, a private vessel out of Port Aransas saw three blue marlin in one day. While they only managed to land one, it is an impressive feat to get three shots at three blue marlin in one day, anywhere in the world. Other vessels have been reporting seeing good numbers of other billfish as well.

July and August are also excellent months for catching king mackerel or kingfish. Trolling Russell lures, Rapalas, X-raps, spoons, ribbon fish, or anything else that happens to be shiny is a good way to land a smoker king right off the end of the jetties. Just be ready for that occasional tarpon or sailfish bite. If you’re not sure what to do out there, perhaps the best bait of all time is the ribbon fish. It all starts with the leader. If you know how to twist wire, you can twist your own leader, or you can purchase premade 3-hook kingfish leaders at Port “A” Outfitters. The key to trolling ribbon fish is hooking them so that they don’t spin around. This not only decreases your chances of getting a bite, but will seriously twist your line.

To properly rig a ribbonfish on a three hook leader, the first thing you need to do is to put the rod in a rod holder and reel up most of the slack on the line so that the hooks are hanging at a comfortable working level in front of you. Straighten and unkink the leader before placing the first hook up under the chin and through the nose of the ribbonfish. This is probably the most important step as the bait will not spin if it is pulling only from the nose. At this point the other two hooks should be hanging down pretty much where they are going to go. Pull the ribbonfish straight and slip the other two hooks in the belly of the ribbonfish.

When you let go, the ribbonfish should look straight and should pull straight. This obviously works best on baits that are thawed out, but the key to remember is that it should pull from the nose. Don’t be scared to pull some with weights on some of the rougher days out there and you will be surprised to find that just about everything out there will eat a ribbon fish. This ribbon fish method will work on both kingfish, red snapper, and even the occasional sailfish or dolphin.