What's Biting Report: Mardi Gras and Fishing
Everywhere you turn at this time of the year you see purple, green, and gold: the colors of Mardi Gras. They are also plentiful while offshore. What could the traditional colors of Mardi Gras and fishing have in common?
Let’s start with purple. Purple is the for sure go to color for wahoo fishing. One of the most popular wahoo lures is a purple, deep swimming plug. I also pull purple high-speed lures, purple ilanders with a ballyhoo, purple jet heads, and purple trolling lures while searching for wahoo.
Being one hundred miles offshore gives you a chance to see some of mother nature’s greatest examples of purple in its most majestic form. Sometimes blue water can be so dark, beyond the coveted cobalt blue that it appears purple. That’s when you know the fishing ‘boom-boom’ is about to happen! The prettiest shade of purple I have ever seen was on the side of a ‘lit-up’ blue marlin next to the boat.
Green is also a very prevalent color offshore. Green colored monofilament fishing line, green water for king mackerel, green water butting up against blue water for big game species, and even Big Green Eggs cooking fresh fish on charter boats.
Green also describes a fish that is not quite ready to come in the boat as in “that cobia is too green to bring in here!” Cobia can be very destructive when boated while still green. A green fish is one that isn’t tired out and is likely to cause a ruckus when brought into the boat.
Green trolling lures have won many tournaments along the Gulf Coast and around the world. Green skirted lures are found in every lure bag of offshore fisherman along the Gulf Coast. Jigs that glow green underwater are also popular while catching tuna at night around the rigs. A word of caution, being on a boat at night can sometimes bring on an unwanted shade of green for those who suffer from sea sickness.
Gold may be the last of the Mardi Gras colors mentioned here, but it is the first choice in big game reels. Reel makers like Shimano and Penn dominate the big game market, and those gold reels let everyone know you are serious about your quest for big fish. Gold reels are like the Mardi Gras bling of offshore fishing.
Even the fish targeted offshore resemble the colors of Mardi Gras. A relative newcomer is the golden tilefish. Caught by deep dropping and sometimes known as the ‘clown of the sea’ or for this purpose ‘the jester of the sea.’ A Mahi-Mahi can exhibit all the colors seen by bead collectors at parades and balls. There is even a fish called the Mardi Gras Wrasse because of its festive colors.
Fishing and Mardi Gras go together beyond just color comparisons. Days off work during the carnival season have allowed me to catch tunas on Fat Tuesday and ling on Lundi Gras. Maybe that’s what I’ll do again this year; all I need is my crew, or it is Krewe?