Tuna Fishing - Chunking and Chumming Yellowfin

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Instructor: Josh Howard

Venice, Louisiana is known for its abundant yellowfin tuna fishing, with captains and crews using advanced tactics and techniques. Capt. Josh Howard utilizes trawl boat by-catch to create a healthy chum slick, while In The Spread fishing video teaches ideal baits, chumming, and chunking. Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico relies on working fixed or mobile fish aggregators, making trowl boats an excellent fishing opportunity.

Description / Review / Instructor


  • Location: Gulf of Mexico, south of Louisiana, especially Venice.
  • Unique Feature: Oil platforms and the Green Water Phenomenon.
  • Key Species: Yellowfin tuna as the prime attraction.
  • Expert Insights: Collaboration with Capt. Josh Howard.
  • Focus: Tactics and strategies for chunking and chumming yellowfin tuna using dead baits.
  • Distinctive Approach: Dependence on fixed or mobile bait fish aggregators instead of bird activity.
  • Content: Comprehensive video tutorial on catching yellowfin tuna.

Unique Dynamics: Chunking and Chumming Tuna in the Gulf

The Gulf of Mexico, particularly in the region south of Louisiana, offers a distinctive and rich environment that is ideal for offshore fishing. The most noticeable aspect of this area, often first observed by anglers, are the numerous oil platforms dotting the seascape. These platforms, while primarily intended for oil extraction, inadvertently create artificial reefs. These structures provide shelter and breeding grounds for various marine species, turning these areas into thriving ecosystems. This attracts a diverse range of fish, making these spots particularly lucrative for fishing.

Moreover, the Gulf's waters are fed by nutrient-rich outflows from the Mississippi River, fostering a productive environment for both baitfish and larger predatory species. This combination of natural and artificial elements results in a unique and vibrant marine habitat. The area's biodiversity, including species like red snapper, grouper, and various pelagic fish, is a testament to the rich ecological tapestry of the Gulf of Mexico, making it more than just a location dotted with oil platforms, but a dynamic and thriving fishing destination.

The Green Water Phenomenon

The Mississippi River, one of the most significant waterways in North America, plays a crucial role in shaping the marine ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. As it empties into the Gulf, it discharges an immense volume of freshwater, which, when mixed with the Gulf's saltwater, creates a distinct zone of green water. This coloration is indicative of the rich nutrients carried by the river, which include minerals and organic matter accumulated along its extensive journey through the continent.

This nutrient-dense water becomes the foundation for a dynamic and complex food chain. Phytoplankton, microscopic plants that thrive in these nutrient-rich waters, form the base of this chain. Their abundance supports a diverse array of zooplankton, small marine creatures that feed on phytoplankton. This zooplankton, in turn, attracts and sustains a thriving population of baitfish, small fish that are a crucial food source for larger marine predators.

As a result, these green waters become a hotbed for marine life, attracting an array of fish species and other aquatic organisms. Sportfish like redfish, speckled trout, and tarpon, as well as commercial species like shrimp and crabs, find these areas particularly conducive for feeding and breeding. This creates a vibrant and productive fishing ground for both recreational anglers and commercial fisheries. The Mississippi River's outflow, therefore, not only colors the waters of the Gulf but also underpins a rich and diverse ecosystem that supports a wide range of marine life.

The Perfect Fishing Melting Pot

When the nutrient-rich waters of the Mississippi River merge with the Gulf of Mexico's natural underwater topography and the artificial structures created by oil platforms, an extraordinary marine habitat is formed. This unique combination creates an environment that is exceptionally conducive to a wide variety of marine species, making it one of the world's premier fishing destinations.

The nutrient influx fuels the lower tiers of the food chain, supporting vast schools of baitfish. These, in turn, attract larger predatory fish. The Gulf's underwater topography, which includes natural reefs, drop-offs, and ridges, provides ideal habitats for these predators to hunt and thrive. When this natural setting is augmented with the artificial structures of oil platforms, which act as artificial reefs, it enhances the complexity and richness of these marine habitats. The structures offer shelter and breeding grounds for various species, further boosting the area's biodiversity.

Among the myriad of species found here, the yellowfin tuna is particularly noteworthy. Renowned for its size, strength, and speed, it provides an exhilarating challenge for anglers. Venice, Louisiana, has become a focal point for yellowfin tuna fishing. Its proximity to the deep waters where these fish are commonly found, combined with the unique environmental conditions of the area, makes it an ideal spot for anglers seeking the thrill of catching this prized species.

This region doesn't just attract yellowfin tuna; it's also a haven for other sought-after species like marlin, swordfish, snapper, amberjack, and wahoo. Each species offers a unique fishing experience, from the high-speed chase of wahoo to the deep-sea battles with marlin and swordfish. The diversity of fish available makes this area a bucket-list destination for sport fishermen worldwide, eager to test their skills against some of the most challenging and rewarding catches in the ocean.

Capturing the Gulf's Secrets with Capt. Josh Howard

The collaboration between Capt. Josh Howard, a seasoned angler based in Venice, Louisiana, and In The Spread represents a significant endeavor in the world of sport fishing education. Their joint mission is to demystify and disseminate the effective tactics and strategies for targeting yellowfin tuna, particularly through the techniques of chunking and chumming with dead baits during the fall season.

Venice, Louisiana, renowned as North America's top yellowfin tuna fishery, offers an unparalleled opportunity for anglers to experience and learn about high-quality tuna fishing. In this region, each fishing trip is not just an adventure but also a valuable lesson in the intricate skills of tuna fishing. The area's rich waters and abundant yellowfin population provide the perfect real-world classroom.

Capt. Josh Howard, with his extensive experience fishing these waters, plays a pivotal role in this educational endeavor. He brings a wealth of practical knowledge, having honed his skills over many years. His approach to fishing is characterized by simplicity and effectiveness. Capt. Josh's methods for chunking and chumming – techniques that involve using pieces of dead bait to attract fish – are tailored to the specific conditions and behaviors of yellowfin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico.

By breaking down these techniques into accessible and understandable strategies, Capt. Josh and In The Spread make it possible for anglers of all skill levels to improve their craft. Their focus on using dead baits for chunking and chumming is particularly insightful, as this method is highly effective yet requires a deep understanding of yellowfin tuna behavior, particularly in how these fish respond to different types of bait and chumming techniques.

This collaboration is invaluable for anyone passionate about offshore fishing, providing insights not only into the technical aspects of fishing but also into understanding the environmental and biological factors that influence the behavior of yellowfin tuna. It's a combination of practical fishing skills, local knowledge, and scientific understanding, all aimed at enhancing the fishing experience and success of those who venture into these prolific waters.

Josh unveils how, with the right chumming technique, one can effectively become the primary food source for yellowfin tuna. This comprehensive guide delves into:

  • The best bait selections
  • Baiting strategies
  • Proper chumming and chunking techniques
  • Avoiding unwanted species like smaller tunas and sharks
  • Optimal tackle choices
  • And much more!

Fishing in Venice: A Unique Approach

In Venice, Louisiana, a unique aspect of fishing strategies is the reliance on fixed or mobile bait fish aggregators rather than solely on bird activity, which is common in many other fishing locales. These aggregators in Venice are often oil platforms or trawl boats, which play a critical role in local fishing tactics.

Oil platforms serve as artificial reefs, attracting and sustaining a diverse array of marine life, including bait fish and the larger predatory fish that feed on them. Trawl boats, on the other hand, are mobile aggregators. They aren't always present, but when they are, they become valuable indicators for fishermen. As these trawlers work, they often discard by-catch and other materials, creating a continuous stream of food that attracts larger fish, including yellowfin tuna. These larger fish, eager to feed, frequently trail behind the trawlers, making these areas potentially lucrative fishing spots.

However, the presence of a trawler doesn't automatically guarantee that yellowfin tuna will be in the vicinity. Anglers need a keen understanding of various factors to increase their chances of a successful catch. This includes knowledge of water conditions, such as temperature and clarity, and seasonal variations that affect fish behavior and location. Additionally, modern electronics like sonar and GPS can be invaluable tools, helping to locate schools of fish and navigate to promising fishing spots.

Regarding techniques and advantages, savvy fishermen in Venice often go beyond traditional methods. They recognize that the allure of trawlers isn't just the bait they discard. By-catch from these vessels can be particularly valuable. Fishermen can procure this by-catch, which, along with other types of frozen baits, can be used to set up an effective slick. This slick, a trail of bait in the water, is designed to mimic a natural food source and attract fish, making it an effective technique for luring in yellowfin tuna and other species.

Expert insights in this fishing community often revolve around these unique aspects. The knowledge of when and how to engage with these mobile and fixed bait aggregators, the best use of by-catch and frozen baits for creating slicks, and the understanding of environmental and seasonal patterns all contribute to the high success rates of fishermen in Venice. This combination of local knowledge, innovative techniques, and the use of technology sets Venice apart as a premier destination for anglers seeking the thrill of catching yellowfin tuna and other big game fish.

Capt. Josh Howard delves deep into:

  • The mechanics of bait presentation
  • Reel settings and hook-setting techniques
  • Chumming strategies
  • Methods to keep tuna active near the boat
  • How to selectively feed specific yellowfin tuna

Enhance Your Skills

The video also sheds light on:

  1. Optimal conditions for fishing
  2. Effective fighting techniques
  3. Choice of gaffs and tackle
  4. Impact of the moon on fishing patterns
  5. Best tackle choices for different seasons
  6. Line options: braid, mono, and fluorocarbon

This video tutorial is exhaustive, focusing exclusively on catching yellowfin tuna using dead bait. Capt. Josh Howard's experience is invaluable, and his willingness to share his vast knowledge makes this a must-watch for any angling enthusiast. Remember, there's always something new to learn, and every trip can be a lesson. Happy fishing!


Q: What makes the Gulf's waters green?
A: The Mississippi River's freshwater outflow mixes with the saltwater, leading to the Green Water Phenomenon which paints a large portion of the Gulf's waters green.

Q: Why is Venice, Louisiana significant for yellowfin tuna fishing?
A: Venice has become synonymous with yellowfin tuna fishing and is considered North America's premier yellowfin tuna fishery.

Q: Who is Capt. Josh Howard?
A: Capt. Josh Howard is a seasoned angler who has collaborated with the fishing instructional platform, In The Spread, to share tactics and strategies for chunking and chumming yellowfin tuna.

Q: What's unique about fishing in Venice compared to other locations?
A: In Venice, fishing strategies rely more on fixed or mobile bait fish aggregators like oil platforms or trawl boats rather than bird activity.

What makes the Gulf's waters green?

The Mississippi River's freshwater outflow mixes with the saltwater, leading to the Green Water Phenomenon which paints a large portion of the Gulf's waters green.

Why is Venice, Louisiana significant for yellowfin tuna fishing?

Venice has become synonymous with yellowfin tuna fishing and is considered North America's premier yellowfin tuna fishery.

Who is Capt. Josh Howard?

Capt. Josh Howard is a seasoned angler who has collaborated with the fishing instructional platform, In The Spread, to share tactics and strategies for chunking and chumming yellowfin tuna.

What's unique about fishing in Venice compared to other locations?

In Venice, fishing strategies rely more on fixed or mobile bait fish aggregators like oil platforms or trawl boats rather than bird activity.

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User Reviews

brandon Gregory 08.29.2020


Josh Howard

Captain Josh Howard, owner of Deep South Charters, has a passion for fishing since he was ten. He has caught two state record fish, including a Greater Amberjack and Bearded Brotula. Howard's personal record for yellowfin tuna is 200 pounds, and he is determined to break the 200-pound mark for the tuna. His dedication to the sport and his love for the ocean make him a true fishing legend.

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