Pa­tience pays off for Mana­tee High grad in search of black­fin tuna

The Bradenton Herald (Sunday) - - Sports -

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.”

Cour­tesy of Troy Sny­der

Troy Sny­der poses with two tuna caught 35 miles off­shore in his 24-foot Carolina Sk­iff.

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