Gulf Coast Fisherman Magazine VOL 40 No 3 - SUMMER 2016 - Page 18

Shrimp Boat Showdown (Continued from page 14.) and start chumming. This will pull the fish to you so they can find your baits.” In this scenario, a traditional chum block won’t hurt, but it’s tantamount to standing next to a team of fire fighters with the hose on full stream and shooting a water gun into the flames. Capt. Travis Holeman, who fishes shrimpers off South Florida, as well as the Mississippi Delta, prefers live chumming, but he won’t hesitate to chunk up dead baits like ballyhoo or menhaden. Trossett often acquires several dozen mojara from local boats right at the dock, but on the water, shrimpers will usually sell bags of bycatch — or barter the “trash” for various forms of refreshment. Various bottomfish such as puffers, sea robins, hog chokes and lizardfish are common in Trossett’s region, while in the northern Gulf, Venice, LA guide Brent Ballay, finds croakers, white trout, ribbonfish and “about 20 other species” in local bycatch. (Note: bycatch may occasionally include regulated species such as lane snapper, so don’t get caught with undersized sport fish on your boat.) Notably, one of your best chum sources for tuna, kings and sharks is a fresh bonito. Maximize your catch by making a set of diagonal cuts from the dorsal to the belly and then another diagonal set facing the opposite direction. This leaves you with a cross hatch pattern, so one smooth slice down the flank releases a pile of bite-size chunks. ENGAGING TARGETS Trossett also starts by pulling up close and chumming behind a shrimper, but he keeps watch for tuna flashing in the chum and if he’s confident the footballs have moved in thick, he’ll adjust his tactics. Concentration and isolation are the keys to his plan. “The more you feed them, the more fish will come,” Trossett said. “When you first get there, everything is kind of spread out. The bonitos will run together and the tunas will run deeper. “When you start chumming, if the bonitos are there, they’ll show up immediately, but if you see a tuna or two, you throw out more chum and they’ll amass themselves.” Trossett also notes that taking your chumming operation farther away from the shrimper. Tuna are hardly bashful, but it seems they just don’t want to deal with the voracious bonito. “The farther away from the boat you get, the tunas will take over,” he said. “Sometimes you only have a few tuna in N O R T H G U L F S t. J o s e p h P o i n t, FL to S h i p S h o a l L i g h t, LA Wells Fishing Forecast Adjustment Times St. Joseph Point Panama City Destin/East Pass Pensacola Bay Entrance Alabama Point Mobile Point Horn Island Pass Pascagoula Pass Chandeleur Light -:60 -1.20 -:40 -:30 -:20 -:15 Same -:10 -:15 Long Point/Lake Borgne Bay St. Louis Rigolets South Pass/Delta