Peter Egan Offshore Fishing
Peter Egan recently had an opportunity to go offshore fishing with a couple good buddies from high school.
I received a phone call around 6 pm on a Friday night early in May. It was Justin Richard, a friend from high school asking if I’d like to join them for a fishing trip the next morning. That didn’t leave me with a whole lot of time to prepare given that Venice is a good 3.5 hour drive from Covington, however I made it work.
Justin and his father Mitch are a couple of the big shots at Calmar Insulation. If you’re not familiar with the company, they’re the ones that insulated the Superdome during the renovations after Katrina, so it’s a fairly large company.
Anyway, they have a really nice fishing boat, and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to do some blue water, deep sea, offshore fishing in hopes of landing a Tuna, Grouper or Red Snapper.
By the time I made it to Venice (Louisiana) everyone was sound asleep, so I slept in my car and met up with them at around 5:00 am.
The sunrise was beautiful. There’s no words to describe what the sun looks like when it peaks over the horizon out on the open water on what turned out to be a magnificent day.
It was a fun-filled day and a great chance to reconnect with a couple friends I’ve had for more than two decades.
While we didn’t get any Tuna, Grouper or Red Snapper, we did catch a few Amberjack. Unfortunately, at the time there was a federal moratorium in place and we had to de-hook the fish without bringing them into the boat so as to do as little harm as possible.
While I didn’t catch an Amberjack, I did get several bites, caught a few smaller fish in the 2-3 pound range, and landed one 60 pound Jack Crevalle that fought harder than any fish I’ve ever landed in my entire life. I kept the fish, cutting it up to use as crab bait for my grandfather. He’s too old to catch his own bait and throw his own traps so he needs someone to do it for him, and once I got that fish aboard I wasn’t about to let that opportunity slip away.
I literally fought that fish for what seemed like an hour and felt like it must’ve weight at least 150 pounds. I’ve never caught a fish that fights as hard as a Jack Crevalle relative to the fish’s size. Part of that might have been that I was using medium-action spinning gear, but I’d have it no other way.
At the end of the day, I had an incredible time offshore fishing for a solid 10 hours. People pay a lot of money to have the privilege to do that, and I got to do it because I’m friends with someone who owns a boat big enough and designed to accommodate fishing in 600 feet of water.
I am very grateful to the Richards and wish I could thank them enough for the invitation. Any time y’all care to invite me to go fishing with you count me in.
Offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is so much fun it’s hard to describe. If you’ve never done it, want to do it but don’t know anyone with a boat, I’d highly recommend doing planning your trip with a guide like Troy Wetzel and get your Venice fishing in with a professional that will ensure you catch your share of fish, and the right kind of fish.
Not all guides are the same. My great uncle for example rarely returns to shore without all of his clients limiting out on both speckled trout and redfish (red drum), sometimes with a black drum, flounder (or four) or sheepshead mixed in. However, not all guides care that their clients have a good time.
If you’re paying for a fishing trip, it’s worth putting the time and effort into thoroughly vetting your guide and making sure his clients have nothing but good things to say. I once went on an inshore saltwater trip out of Venice with a captain whose name I can’t remember (I think it was Chad, but I’m not certain and can’t recall his last name). He was just awful. He’d angle his boat in such a way that only he could cast near the grass beds, allowing him to catch all the fish and catch everybody’s limit while the rest of us fished in futility in water where we weren’t going to catch a fish if we fished it a month straight because of the way he would position the boat.
To make matters worse, he ridiculed his clients for not catching fish when it was clearly evident that the only reason he was and we weren’t was because he had the trolling motor and would angle the boat in such a way that only he had access to the grass beds and shelves. If I ever remember that guy’s name I’m going to update this post with it as a warning to anyone thinking about booking a fishing charter.
Back to my recent fishing trip, I was extremely grateful even though it wasn’t a great day in terms of catching fish. I was an invited guest. I paid them nothing. I did offer to help pay for gas but there was some kind of problem at the marina where they couldn’t split the bill and I didn’t have any cash on me. I’ll settle up the next time I see Justin.
If you’ve never been offshore fishing I urge you to make a point of doing it at least once in your life. It’s well worth the experience whether you catch that 800 pound tuna or not.