By LARRY HOFFMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published August 10, 2001
August is considered one of the best fishing months for bluewater fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Two weeks ago a 1,046-pound blue marlin was caught in the northern part of the gulf for a state record.
You can expect to catch blue marlin 110-130 miles offshore while trolling 7 1/2 to 9 knots using marlin baits such as doorknobs, jetheads, snyder lures and other traditional lures. Productive colors have been black and purple, silver and blue, and black and green.
The Loop Current is the key to successful bluewater fishing in the gulf. It is the same to the gulf as the Gulf Stream is to the Atlantic Ocean. The Loop Current can be found as close as 70 nautical miles west of Treasure Island and as far as 250 nautical miles offshore.
The temperature differences between the Loop Current and the normal gulf currents produce a multitude of bait species, food fish, for the big marlin.
One of the nice sidelights of blue marlin fishing are the tuna, wahoo and dolphin hookups. It is not unusual to catch 50-pound dolphin, 80-pound wahoo and 35-pound black fin tuna. Excellent lure colors for tuna and wahoo are black and red, and purple and gold tuna clones and jetheads. As the day progresses, lighter colored skirted lures such as green and yellow, and pink and silver are effective for dolphin.
Bluewater fishing on the west coast is a major undertaking and requires extensive planning and preparation. It is important to ensure you have the required ice, capacity and skills to fish 80-100 miles offshore. We recommend all fishermen consider teaming with another boat or a local bluewater fishing tournament for safety.
-- Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396.
(All phone numbers begin with 727 unless noted)
SATURDAY: Hurricane Pass Anglers Club's Redfish tournament, Home Port Marina, 785-3018.
SATURDAY: Brandon Bass Bandits tournament, Lake Marion, (813) 654-4190.
TODAY-SUNDAY: 30th annual LOOP All Release Billfish tournament, Old Salt Fishing Club, Longboat Key Moorings, 328-7699.
UPCOMING: 10th annual Tuna, Wahoo, Dolphin Shootout, Gators on the Pass, Treasure Island Charities, 363-0071.
SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Bill Jackson's, 576-4169.
SATURDAY: Fly-casting, World Class Outfitters, (813) 968-3736.
SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Saltwater Fly Fisherman, Clearwater, 443-5000.
TODAY: Twilight race, St. Petersburg, 822-3873.
TONIGHT: USF Sail Club meeting, Bayboro campus, 821-4840.
SATURDAY: Safe-boating course, Clearwater, 462-6368.
SATURDAY: Free kayak demo, Sweetwaters Kayaks, Tierra Verde, 906-0708.
DAILY: Boyd Hill Nature Park tram tour; 893-7326.
SATURDAY: Guided hike, Brooker Creek Preserve; 943-4003.
SATURDAY: Weedon Island Preserve guided walk, 3 miles, reservations required, 217-7208.
SUNDAY: Exercise walk, Lettuce Lake Park, Tampa, Florida Trail Association, (813) 920-0702.
-- See Sunday's Outdoors for a list of next week's events. Send information to Outdoors, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. All items must be typed and arrive 10 days before the event. Include event name, time, address and phone number