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Amberjack Caught March 9 Just 2.7 Pounds Shy of State Record  
Amberjack Caught March 9 Just 2.7 Pounds Shy of State Record
By Chris Ginn - April, 2009

127.8-pound Amberjack caught on March 9th by Brian Ohaire while fishing with Deep South Charters aboard the “Looney Tuna,” a Glacier Bay Catamaran skippered by Captain Josh Howard was the largest Amberjack caught in 32 years out of Louisiana ports, and pending application, will be the new #2 Louisiana state record Amberjack.

Ohaire was staying with a group of 18 from the McEvain Oil and Gas Company at the Venice Palms Lodge in Venice for a few days of fishing, and this trip was his very first offshore fishing trip.
“We left Venice Marina around 6:30 on that Monday morning,” Howard reported. “The tuna action had been a little slow, so we decided to fish for Amberjack. I told the guys on board the “Looney Tuna” that I knew where there were some big ones, so off we went. Knowing that big mullet is a great bait for big Amberjack this time of year, Howard had a live well full of them. At their second stop, the anglers began dropping the big mullet down to 300 feet while fishing over 600 feet of water.

“The first bait got nailed by a 50-pound Amberjack,” Howard said. “I knew it would be a good day after that. After catching a couple more nice Amberjack, the big fish took the bait. I pulled the fish away from the rig with the boat  because those fish will run in to the rig and cut your line if you aren’t careful.”Only this time, as he was pulling away from the rig, Howard noticed that the line was disappearing from the Penn reel at a record speed. He even thought for a moment that they might have hooked the oil platform.

Howard recalled that Ohaire had been a little sick most of the morning before decided to catch a fish to take his mind off of being sick. While holding the rod and waiting on a bite, he kept turning to projectile vomit out of the side of the boat, but he never put the rod down.

“After the fish hit, he forgot all about being sick!” Howard said. “Most Amberjack will fight very hard at first then ease up a little bit, but not this fish. It was a fight to the end. After about 25 minutes, I told the guys that this was a good fish. After about 35 minutes I told them it was a huge fish. Then about 45 minutes later I saw the largest Amberjack that I have even seen come boat side.”

As soon as the crew brought the big fish on board, Howard knew the fish was over 100 pounds. After talking to a few other captains on his radio, he discovered that the state record Amberjack was 130 pounds. The entire boat thought this fish would be very close to that record.

The big Amberjack came in just 2.7 pounds shy of the state record. is a supplement to Louisiana Sportsman Magazine
Copyright © 1999  - 2009 Louisiana Sportsman, Inc. All rights reserved.
Tuna and Wahoo providing offshore action
By Chris Ginn - January 15, 2009

The old adage that you don’t know unless you go was on full display last week as Captain Josh Howard with Deep South Charters (225-572-7408) and some of his fellow offshore guides found flat seas on a day when 3- to 4-foot seas were predicted. After almost backing out, he and others found the fishing to be excellent.

“The Wahoo are turned on,” said Howard. “They tend to do well before and after the full moon, and there were a lot caught last week on Wednesday and Thursday… right before that full moon on Friday. They’ve moved in and people are catching 10 to 20 in a day.”
  Tuna and Wahoo providing offshore action
Explaining what he meant by “they’ve moved in,” Howard pointed out that he didn’t really know where they were coming from. However, he knows where they are. The Wahoo are in 200 to 400 feet of water around rigs, buoys and any floating debris larger than a 55-gallon drum from the 24-Mile rigs to West Delta.

“You’ve just got to be in the right spot at the right time,” Howard recanted. “I was fishing beside Captain Peace without much luck. I went off to catch grouper, amberjacks and tuna. He moved one rig over and went four for seven.”

One thing that might confuse offshore anglers right now is that the water hasn’t really been clear in these areas. In fact, Howard called it “murky.” However this murkiness is superficial, and there is some clear, green water underneath. He recommended watching the crew boats running to see if they were pulling green water to the surface.

“Most of the Wahoo are being caught on the troll right now,” Howard said. “Any of the Mann’s Stretch 30s are working well. Red and white is good, but hot pink is my favorite. The 111 MirrOlure is also catching fish. I would also try either a plain Ballyhoo or a Ballyhoo skirted with an Iland Lure.”

After moving off the Wahoo bite, Howard found yellow and blackfin tuna willing to eat butterfly jigs along with grouper and amberjacks. He mentioned that the 111 MirrOlure has been working well on the blackfin, and he’s been catching a lot of blackfin.

There have been some tuna hanging out around the West Delta area, and some are hanging out on the east side of South Pass. Howard suggested that if tuna isn’t your target for the day you should keep some tuna gear ready to go in case you do get on them. is a supplement to Louisiana Sportsman Magazine.
Copyright © 1999  - 2009 Louisiana Sportsman, Inc. All rights reserved.
Variety of offshore fish biting well


Variety of offshore fish biting well
By Chris Ginn - June 16, 2008

The way most offshore captains have been running out of Venice lately according to Captain Josh Howard with Deep South Charters (225-572-7408), is to head out for some early tuna and amberjack if it’s a calm day before hitting the shallower rigs for snapper on the way back in. “We’re just trying to hit a variety of species right now,” said Howard.

Seeing as how red snapper season has only been open a couple weeks, it only stands to reason that they
are on most offshore anglers’ minds. While Howard hasn’t been taking many snapper-only trips, he suggested that his results and those of his fellow guides indicate that the early season fishing has been fantastic.

“We’ve got our red snapper limit every day,” he said. “Although we haven’t been catching any huge ones, but that’s mainly a product of not fishing strictly for them. There are a lot of snapper hanging out in 60 to 150 feet of water, and the West Bay area has lots of them… they’re plentiful there, but they aren’t very big. West Bay also has some cobia and lots of mangroves.”

Howard also pointed out the 7 and 12 mile rigs as being two red snapper hot spots. Since these rigs have a little more depth on them than the West Bay structures, Howard pointed out that the fish out there have been a little bit bigger.

“The reds have been down near the bottom… as deep as 100 feet out on the 7 and 12 mile rigs,” Howard added. “The mangroves have been more up in the water… about 20 feet down. They’re staying high while the reds are staying down.”

By far the best bait on Howard’s trips has been frozen pogies, but he has also been catching some fish on butterfly jigs and live croakers. In fact, Howard said the live croakers have been pretty good at catching some of the bigger fish. Squid is working well, too.

Before hitting the red snapper on the way back in, Howard has found some yellowfin tuna and amberjacks on the deeper floaters like Elf, Ocean’s Quest, Devil’s Tower, Mars and Ursa.

“It’s been hard to beat live bait on the tuna,” Howard explained. “If you can find them, small hardtails work well, but for the most part we’ve been chunking cut Bonita and rainbow runners, which are plentiful at the rigs and easy to catch for bait. Other than that, we’ve caught a few on the Frenzy Angry Popper.” is a supplement to Louisiana Sportsman Magazine.
Copyright © 1999  - 2009 Louisiana Sportsman, Inc. All rights reserved.

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