Overnight Fishing Trips Yield Good Times, Great Catches

Part of the What's Biting Series

Tuna on a plate Orange Beach AL

They are pound for pound the undisputed heavyweight champions of big game fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

They are the best fighters. They taste great raw, grilled or blackened (please, please just don't overcook them). They are in season all year long.

To get to them, you might have to go 100 miles, but they are worth it. They are yellowfin tuna.

Tuna fishing from Orange Beach is outstanding all 12 months of the year. The biggest challenge for most is getting to where they live. Tunas are consistently found at the deep water oil rigs that start around 60 miles from Perdido Pass. One of the most popular ways to get there is to book an overnight trip on a local charter boat.

Charter boats provide safety, comfort and, of course, unmatched fish-catching expertise. Johnny Greene, who runs Intimidator out of Orange Beach Marina, says 24-hour trips are a favorite for many of his customers. "They have become one of our more popular charter options. The diversity of not only the fish we catch, but also the different fishing tactics we use is very appealing to our customers," said Greene.

Overnight charters provide fisherman with lots of fishing action. These trips feature a combination of bottom fishing, high-speed trolling and fishing around the rigs from dusk through the following morning. The bottom fishing action is great to fill the cooler, and high-speed trolling may produce a wahoo or king mackerel, but the main attraction is without a doubt the tuna. When the Intimidator arrives at the tuna destination in the late afternoon or early evening, the crew will begin either trolling or using live baits under kites in search of yellowfin tuna. “Seeing a big yellowfin crash a live bait on the surface under a kite is one of the greatest bites that we see offshore,” said Greene.

At dark, everyone grabs a jigging rod and begins jigging up blackfin tunas from under the lights on the rig. Although smaller than yellowfins, blackfin tunas, a.k.a. 'footballs' are also great table fare and incredibly fun to catch from the deep blue water.

Men fishing on a charter boat Orange Beach Al

Once morning comes, the crew will switch back to trolling and live baiting for yellowfins. When you venture 100 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico on an overnight fishing trip, the possibilities are limitless as to what you might catch and see.

Fishing is always unpredictable even for the best captains and crews. It's tough to guarantee anything when it comes to fishing, but there are two events that will happen on every trip. The sun will set and rise, and it's the two best parts of the day for Greene. "Being offshore when the sun goes down and then when it comes up is a surreal experience.

The moon is also amazing to see offshore. Last week when we had a lunar eclipse, we were out there to see it...spending the night in the Gulf of Mexico is about so much more than just catching fish." Tuna fishing is very good at the rigs right now and will continue to get better as the temperature continues to drop.

An overnight trip will not only give the opportunity to catch the fish of a lifetime, but it also has a chance to be the trip of a lifetime. Everyone has seen a sunrise and sunset, I wish everyone could see them from offshore, at least once.

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Jim Cox
Jim Cox (1324 Posts)
Jim Cox is an avid inshore, offshore, and big game fisherman. He has twice qualified for the prestigious IGFA Offshore Championships in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He is the past president of the Mobile…