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The Floater

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Aug 19, 2002
There is a new exciting thing going on in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the deep water floating (also called semi-submersible) oil platforms. They are exciting for two reasons. First they are lessening our dependence on foreign oil. The second is they are a magnet for tuna, marlin, and wahoo. People are saying that never before, off the Texas coast, has there been such a concentration of these fish.

The one problem is that the platforms are a long ways off the coast. In Texas you usually have to go about 50 nautical miles to get over 250 feet deep. Fortunately after 250 it drops fast.

The first big floating platform off our coast was the Hoover-Dianna platform. From my port it was 131 nautical miles. This meant it had to be at least an overnight trip, and with 20’ open console boat, that was a little difficult. My boat is very special; it’s a catamaran, with two 50hp 4-strokes, four fuel tanks, modification to the hull, and air suspension seats to soften the ride. To do a long trip like that I need 2-foot waves or less, a good two-day forecast, and a lot of prayer that the weather holds as forecasted.

This year a new floater was anchored in 3000’ plus water, 83 miles from my port. About mid-summer I first heard of it and toward late summer and fall, the word was a lot of fish were being caught there. Unfortunately fall was not good for me. I caught the flu and had a fever for two weeks, just starting getting better, and caught something else that gave me a fever for another week, then after that I got a prostate infection. The doctor put me on antibiotics for 30 days. Needless to say, I lost a lot of strength from this.

The seas had been from 4 to 11 feet for several weeks, which didn’t bother me, because I wasn’t up to going anyway. Last week I was feeling good enough to go to the weight room and resume my breathing exercises. I also have children that are with me about ever other weekend, and I wouldn’t want to endanger them on a long trip in the winter.

I was thinking about Saturday. Early last week, it looked possible, but probably not likely. I had a free weekend and the weather was forecasted 2 to 4 feet for Saturday. The waves were high, but the forecast remained 2 to 4 feet until Thursday, when it changed to 3 to 4 feet. Didn't look good. That’s just too big to make a long trip in my boat. Thursday night, they changed the forecast to 2 to 3 feet, which got me excited again. The wind was supposed to stop on Friday and be light on Saturday. Friday, I watched the weather buoys on the internet; the wind was not dropping. The wind was still 17 knots at 3 PM. With disappointment I left work for home.

I told my wife, it didn’t look like we would go. She wasn’t disappointed. She had a big test coming up and wanted to study. We go through a little routine where I say lets go, she says she doesn’t want to, then I say “okay, I will find someone else to go with me”, and then she says, “well if your going I want to too!” This was one of those times.

I notice the wind finally dropped at about 5:30 PM, so I log on to the internet and the evening forecast had remained 2 to 3 feet and the wind had indeed dropped. I went into high gear, loading, fueling, programming the coordinates to floater in the GPS, etc.. Woke up at 5 AM, logged on and it looked good. The waves were 2 feet even and the wind was low.

Due to a GPS equipment problem, we didn’t leave the port until 7:30AM. We wouldn’t have been able to maintain 20 or more knots, except for the fact that a big deepvee passed us and I got right behind. I think the captain didn’t like the fact I was benefiting off his work, so he kept increasing the speed. I could see their boat taking a beating, but it sure left a smooth wake behind it. We got about 4 miles out before they pulled far enough away that we lost the benefit of their wake.

We spotted the tower of the rig at 14 miles. It’s that big! At about 5 miles away we went by a 10-foot by 9 inch diameter log. I said to my wife, I’m sure glad we didn’t hit that!

I had full intentions of diving, but our number one goal was to take fish home. Especially a yellow-fin tuna, which we had never landed before. There were 6 other boats there. We were by far the smallest boat. There was one other semi-trailerable boat with about a 10 beam and two 225 hp outboards. All the rest were big 40 to 55 footers.

We started out by trolling. Which didn’t yield anything, but we got a good look at the other boats and what they were doing. From a distance it looked like they were drift fishing and probably trying to chum, but as we got close enough to each boat, we could see a bent over rod and man straining to hand on. After 40 minutes of trolling we pulled everything, put the outriggers up and went over next to the rig, like we had seen some boats do.

My wife grabbed a big spinning rod with a Penn 9500 reel (biggest spinning reel Penn makes) but a cigar minnow on and dropped it in. Meanwhile I started throwing out the left overs from the cleaning of several snapper from our last trip. I had two 5-gallon buckets of them, and had only been able to fit one in the cooler so I started with the one that had just spent several hours out in 70-degree heat. Needless to say, it stunk, but when the big snapper scales hit the water, it lit it up. Like hundreds of little flashers!

Something hit her bait and she rebaited with a half of a ribbon fish. She hooked up! It looked like the fish was going to pull pretty good, so she gave the rod to me. After working it for a few minutes, I thought yea this is probably about a 30 lbs fish. Then it started running! It got about 150 yards off and stopped. I started taking back line and thought, okay I got it now. I got about 60 yards back and then it ran again. This time the reel started smoking. After hearing so many horror stories of reels locking up from the heat expanding the metal, I loosen the drag a little.

I have never seen any fish lose so little power over time. 30 minutes went by and everything pretty much stayed the same. He would ease up and I would get maybe two yards in, then he would take it back. We would do that for maybe 3 times and overall I would gain a foot or two. At forty minutes my wife gave me a breather. My arms went into spasms as soon as I let go of the rod.

At an hour and 20 minutes we could finally see the yellow and silver flashes of the fish about 60 feet down. There was no doubt, it was a yellow fin. At an hour and 40 minutes its tail was occasionally breaking the surface on its large spiral swim beside the boat. We had been thinking how we were going finish the fish. Our options were, shoot him with a 38 hand gun, shoot him with a speargun and hang on, gaff him with a gaff that was a little too small, or net him with a big salmon net. I preferred the spear gun, but the wife like the net. I was just certain it wasn’t going to fit in the net and feared he would bolt as soon as she tried. She kept getting the net and I kept telling her to put it away because he wasn’t close enough yet and she might spook him, which could cause the hook to rip out or the line to bust.

The plan was to get him close, hand her the rod, because she wasn’t strong enough to keep him next to the boat for long, grab the speargun and shoot him. But he swam close to the boat when I wasn’t expecting it and she grabbed the net and shoved it under him. She was yelling I got him, help me! I was standing there with the rod. His head was on the handle end of the net rim sticking over about 8 inches and his tail on the other end of rim, sticking and equal amount over. I thought, if set this pole down and he comes off the net rim, which is likely, he might pull the rod over the boat before I can regrab it. But it had been two hours and I was beat and wanted it over, so in one motion I dropped the rod, grabbed the net rim with my right hand and push the tail into the net with my left. As the tail cleared the rim and went into the net, it gave enough room for the head to clear and we pulled the fish over into the boat.

As the adrenaline cleared, my muscles started spasming again and all I could do was sit. I told my wife, lets just leave him there, until he is dead. By this time its 2:30 PM and with a 4 hour trip home, I figured it was going to put us at about 20 minutes away from the jetties when it became dark. There was also going to be no moon that night, and I really wasn’t looking forward to navigating through the jetties in pitch dark with no radar. I really wanted to dive, and my wife really wanted another fish, but I was physically wasted and there wasn’t anytime left.

We headed for home and just about then he got a spurt of energy and started thrashing. The net was tight around him and he was breaking strings. He also slammed the rod and reel against the gunnel. I put a 12” long knife behind his head, and severed the main artery I later found out he bent the reel on the rod. I tried to straight it, but it broke.

About 8 miles from the platform I was looking at the GPS when my wife yelled, log! Can you believe it? In all that water that stupid log drifted in a straight line toward the port. Hit it right in the middle and broke it in two. Amazing enough the only damage was a little jell coat.

I’m sorry I don’t have any spearfishing tales to report, but it was still a memorable trip and we learned a lot. From the action we saw, I would say the platform was probably thick with yellow fin. From what I have heard, this would make it one of the most concentrated yellow fin places on the U.S. coast and almost anywhere.

Next summer, when the wind falls for days at a time, and there are more hours in a day, you can beat where I will be. Want to go? PM me and will try to arrange it.
Geee, Don, I would not want to go 83 miles out to open sea with no possible land to hide in that small boat......you got balls. Great story.

I advice you to get a fuel flow computer called FloScan. It tells you Gallon Per Hour consumption of your engine...it is a must for long range journey. It will also tell you if your engine is not drinking right due to garbage on the props or overloading from passengers/gear. I rely on this FloScan for my trips on my client's yacht.

Radar u must have, at least you can track rain clouds from a distance and won't go very blind at night. Also please buy a 406 EPIRB for your safety.

If there is such a rig in my country, I will surely try to go but only in very good weather. I just did my 125 miles away rock but there are islands which I can hide if things turn shitty. Result not too bad but water viz surprisingly lousy.

Becareful friend and next time shoot those tuna.......and be ready for a roller coaster ride..........:p :p

PS My coated ss cable is from Riffe, but in the USA, I think it is easy to come by. The same cable as the Ice Pick.
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Thanks for the advice. The one thing I do have is a 406 EPIRB. The coast guard is pretty good here on responding fast. I have heard some stories of boats that would have sunk, but the coast guard made it to them with large pumps in time. Fortunately my boat is supposed to be unsinkable due to flotation foam, like a Boston whaler, but I really don’t want to test that feature.

When I make it there again next summer, I will definitely try and shoot some fish. I sure would like another spearo to go though.
Don...floaters are a dream for hunting palegics. We have several here such as the Ram-Powell(92 mi offshore) that produce huge fish. Last summer they caught a 1056 lb. marlin on it! Be sure to look for the mooring balls often located around the floaters. They attract schools of fish. Just be careful...if you are going to shoot a tuna I strongly recommend a multiple float set up; definately not going to be able to hang on to your gun as you could probably tell from your rod n reel encounter.
Thanks Rig,
When I look at the Gulf maps it always makes me jealous to see all the platforms off the Louisiana and Mississippi coast. You have such a selection at all different depths! Texas is improving though.

Do you make it out to the floaters very often?
Not as aoften as I would like Don. Sometimes I mate on boats during tournaments(go ahead Sven...) and we usually end up on one of them but when I hitch a ride to dive and hunt its usually with bubble blowers and they don't stand a chance with the spooky palegics(except IYA!) As good as the floater rigs are for palegics they are not near as good for big aj's, snapper and grouper they target on the nearby platforms on the edge of the drop. Our most frequent dives are on a set of rigs 87 mi. out called the "horseshoe rigs". Bluewater, massive fish and a solid group of rigs within easy hopping distance usually makes for a good day. Although I wish I was at the Ram Powell only 10 or so miles away...if I could ever get some more locals off their tanks maybe, but honestly its tough to convince them b/c they produce large amounts of quality fish so....
Mated on Boats? You too?? So there I was, and this little redhead just walked up and........

Bubbleblowers? she was one of them for sure!


If I'm ever down on the gulf coast I would kill for a ride out to one of those rigs. you can keep my fish, I just want to hunt it!

If I am ever 100 miles away from RigDiver, I will offer to be his mate.

My qualifications as follows :

01. I am a qualified captain by experience, my local licence paperwork is only 30 miles offshore but I been doing 600 miles boats delivery country to country for almost 10 times. Biggest to date 75 footer. Man, this is Indonesia, not USA.

02. I can berth any yachts with twin engine, better if bow thuster equipped.........he he he, up to 66 footer. Single engine, sorry, never try and will never want to try.

03. Qualified to tell you what is shit wrong with ur diesel engines but can't do any real job taking pistons out. I got lots of tricks most qualified Cat or Detroits engineers would not even know.

04. Qualified to operate all sorts of navigational electronics but can not do PhotoShop on PC.

05. Can navigate any water as long as the GPS didn't die on me.

06. Quite good skill in cleaning boats especially if done with my mouth instead of my own hands. "Hey you, rub it harder there "

07. Qualified electrician without paperwork. Good with DC and AC electrical but can not re-wound generator windings.

08. Will take junk food but not junk alcohol.

09. Scuba Instructor but teaching licence expired, unless some Baywatch babes wanna learn, then I will re-new my card.

10. I am as good with my mouth as with typing, so if you radio or CD is broken, I can keep talking to you all day....:t

11. Will never want to be on board a GAS in board vessels...hell no way. Ka-Boom !!!!!

12. Can approach most pelagics even with bubble blowing gears.
Rig said that.... he he he.

Last but not least, I will bring my own Riffe :D :D .

Wha ha ha ha ha...........:D ;) :p
May i join in ? ? ? :wave :wave


Will try to be as friendly as posible. I promise i will not bite or beat you .As long as you let me to shoot something big with your Riffes..rofl
Man, now all I need is a yacht!:D I was considering buying a new boat to charter since the casino I was running a boat for closed its marina and sold my boat following the damage this hurricane season, but after careful consideration I realized now is not the time seeing as though I am a full time student. Won't be long though...
Leaving for Venice today to do some fishing and maybe some diving...planning on going offshore for tuna but if the wind is still up we will fish the marsh for trout and reds...either way it will be a nice break. Just found out my fiances uncle has a houseboat at the mouth of the river(thats where we are going today) which means a possible lumps trip might even be more affordable Andrsn.

Amphibious- just let me know if you are coming to the gulf and I will see what we can arrange.

Be back in a couple of days...hope everyone had a good thanksgiving.
Originally posted by Iyadiver
If I am ever 100 miles away from RigDiver, I will offer to be his mate, especially if done with my mouth instead of my own hands. "Hey you, rub it harder there "

Last but not least, I will bring my own Riffe :D :D .

Well, alrighty then... but I don't think that bringing a truckload of Riffe's is going to smooth that one over... :yack

Hold up a second...damn you Sven, and youre wits!
the dude does'nt even use his hands, eh??

who me?, whadidIsay?? :D

Actually the last time I dove around a floater, it was from the boat's crapper...:hungover

Gotta look out for the "special" chum slick! Had a dive buddy swimming back, against the current, from a rig right after another guy had sent a floater home. We tried to tell him to look out but this guy is a real know it all-Sven you know the type;) -so he cut us off halfway through the warning with one of those YEAH I KNOW!'s so we let him keep swimming....you can figure out the ending.

Boy this thread has really gone to sh*t!rofl
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