Patience pays off for Manatee High grad in search of blackfin tuna
With weekly fronts now blowing across the Gulf of Mexico, anglers are struggling to find opportunities to venture offshore for their favorite species. Sometimes a small window will send anglers charging offshore, even if it means doing so in boats that are not the best for offshore fishing.
Captain Troy Snyder, a Bradenton native, runs inshore charters aboard a 24-foot Carolina Skiff.
The flat-bodied skiff is more at home on the inshore flats than anywhere else, but Snyder had a desire to get offshore and took the chance last Sunday.
“When it’s relatively good weather, we go for it,” Snyder said. “It wasn’t that great since seas were built from the wind we had the previous days before. We were going about 15 miles per hour straight into it. Big rollers, very inconvenient.
“It was a long, miserable ride out there, but we never thought about turning around.”
Snyder, with friends Kevin Garza and Austin Hailey, caught bait early in the morning at the Skyway. At 7:30 a.m., they began the trek offshore, where a run of more than two hours put them about 35 miles from the coast. When they arrived at Snyder’s destination, a wreck, two boats were already there.
“I didn’t want to just run up on them,” the Manatee High graduate said. “We went to grouper and snapper fish about two miles away and kept an eye on the boats. We were able to get two keeper grouper and a dozen or so snapper while we waited.”
After waiting about an hour, the boats left and Snyder worked his way over to the wreck. He wanted blackfin tuna, but before they would arrive, out-of-season amberjack made fishing a bit inconvenient.
“We caught probably 10,000 AJs,” Snyder said sarcastically. “We had almost given up, they were angering us. Finally Kevin hooked into something that ran away from the wreck as opposed to into the wreck. I started chumming like crazy after that.”
Garza worked his fish to the boat, and it was their target. The first blackfin was put on ice, and Snyder was soon hooked up to one of his own.
“I threw my bait and it must have landed right on a tuna,” Snyder said. “It was hooked on only 30pound leader and took a run of 250 yards that had me in the backing. I cranked the drag down a little bit and finally gained some line on it.”
After a lengthy battle, their second tuna was in the boat. A third was soon hooked on a topwater but found its way off.
“I was happy with one, so two was a bonus,” Snyder said. “We were stoked. I can’t wait to get back out there, but it doesn’t look like that might happen for a bit.”
Troy Snyder poses with two tuna caught 35 miles offshore in his 24-foot Carolina Skiff.