Louisiana’s Year-Round Tuna Fishing

Louisiana offers heart pounding, hard fighting tuna fishing action year-round. As one of the greatest fisheries in the entire world, the blue water south of Louisiana contains an enormous variety of fish species such as yellowfin, blackfin and bluefin tuna. From New Orleans, to Grand Isle, Lake Fourchon and Venice Louisiana, there are hundreds of available charting boats with experienced captains and crews that have spent a lifetime fishing the Gulf of Mexico, in the deep waters, and around the many oil platforms.

Tuna Fishing January through March
As a natural migration pattern, running from January through March, black and yellow fin tuna make their way across the Mississippi River delta, where the cold, freshwater from the Mississippi River meets the warmer salt water of the Gulf of Mexico. During this early year season, many local captains of charter fishing boats take to the Midnight Lump, which is a unique underwater reef about 1 mile square in size.

The north side of the midnight lumps is well over 300 feet in depth. The center is approximately 200 feet in depth, and the south side is much greater than 400 feet deep. Under the right weather conditions, it can be reached from the central or eastern shores of Louisiana in approximately one and a half hours, or slightly more.

It is at the Midnight Lump where the opportunity of catching a huge 150 pound (or more) tuna is quite possible. Using chumming and cut bait strategies, a quick catch can happen very close to the boat.

Yellowfin tuna are extremely fast when moving through the water, making the experience of catching one all that much more thrilling. Many times, the challenge of getting one on board can last more than an hour or more. Typically, the average size of a yellowfin tuna is approximately 60 pounds. However, it is not uncommon to see many 100 -200 pound tuna on the back of the chartered boat.

April through September
Quality tuna fishing in the Gulf of Mexico from April through September usually happens in locations where the water is 1000 to 6000 feet deep. Traditionally, captains will often switch to kite fishing strategies or live bait as a way to increase the catch load. Many of these day experiences can last up to 15 hours long. However, it is not uncommon to take a 24 hour tuna fishing trip for the ultimate offshore experience. Many of the largest size tuna are caught at night on top water plugs from a casting rod.

October through November
During this time of the season, just offshore of the Louisiana coast, the tuna tends to swim individually, instead of in schools. This is the time of year when the spawning season begins in the mouths of the larger rivers. As a result, charter boats tend to fish in the open waters, and around the shallow oil rig platforms closer to the Louisiana coastline. The tuna is often much larger in these locations during this time of year. There are a large number of other fish species available in these locations that include mullet and ballyhoo that are still running in large schools throughout the area.

The End of the Year
Many charting companies take the cold winter days of December to work on their fishing boats and prepare for the upcoming migration seasons. However, there are charting boats still available. During December, there are still great fishing opportunities to catch nearly any variety or species that include snapper, cobia, wahoo, marlin, amberjack, sharks, mahi mahi, mullet, and much more. Image Credit: Captain Brett Ryan

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