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Fishing Louisiana's Oil Rigs At Night Page 2


Article written by:
Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella: Saltwater Fishing Articles




Continued From Page 1

Tuna can be found at just about any lighted rig in 300 or more feet of water. This is particularly true of blackfin tuna, while yellowfin tuna prefer deeper blue water where temperatures range between 68 and 84 degrees. These are ideal areas that draw flying fish, the preferred diet of yellowfin tuna.

Blackfin and yellowfin tuna also prefer to feed on different baits. Blackfin favor squid and yellowfin favor flying fish. To be successful, you have to employ baits and methods that imitate the specific bait for each species. Heavy chrome jigs, like the diamond jigs, imitate squid, while surface baits, like top-water poppers, imitate injured flying fish.

Blackfins are more interested in chasing squid at depths the light becomes less of a factor. Bearing this out is the fact that Avanzino has caught blackfin as far as a mile from a rig where there was no penetrable surface light at all. The only evidence that they were there came via the fish finder display.

Avanzino believes that fishing the up current side of a rig is far better than the down current side. His reasoning is that there is always more surface activity and a fresh supply of flying fish and flotsam. One effective method that he uses is drifting with the grass patches toward the rig, looking for the flying fish to get flushed out of hiding. When this occurs, he casts his bait right in front of them.

Blackfins are usually easy to catch at night, so easy at times anglers can virtually sink the boat with them. They will hit anything that is moving fast on the drop or rise.

For the sheer fun and challenge, most anglers choose to use light tackle. The four-to-six ounce diamond jig in chrome or glow color is the weapon of choice. Avanzino uses 30-pound line or lighter with a medium rod in an attempt to match the tackle.

Blackfin are most often found 50 to 200 feet down and close to the rig structure where they enjoy feeding on squid. At night they come to the surface. That's why diamond jigs work so effectively; they mimic tiny squid.

Though many tuna anglers think you have to jig the lure up and down briskly for a strike, this really is not necessary. It just has to be moving fast in one direction or the other— up or down. It is as simple as dropping the lure 200 feet down and then reeling it in quickly.

Comparably speaking, yellowfin tuna are harder to catch than blackfin. To be successful, it is important to catch some live bait. Hardtail jacks are a good choice but they can be difficult to catch at night. The best choice, according to Avanzino, is fly­ing fish, either dead or live.

Most of the time a spreader light and cast net are all that's needed, but a fisherman's green light will work wonders if you can find a safe way to hang it off the transom. Once the flying fish swim up to the light, all you need to do is throw a cast net to catch them.

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