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Anglers net 30 tuna south of Grand Isle

By Bruce McDonald -   Aug 15, 2013

It took an hour, but Jessie Sigmon finally landed this 83-pound yellowfin tuna 110 miles off the coast of Grand Isle.
It took an hour, but Jessie Sigmon finally landed this 83-pound yellowfin tuna 110 miles off the coast of Grand Isle.

An offshore fishing trip south of Grand Isle netted six fishermen 30 tuna, including four yellowfin and 26 blackfin, and gave them a chance to see a sperm whale in action.

The group, consisting of Will Sigmon, Jessie Sigmon, Cody Dufrene, Arthur Matherne, John Carson and Hunter McDonald, launched out of Port Fourchon and headed 110 miles south for the Mars rig. On the way to their destination, the group stopped to catch some hardtails for bait, but they didn’t have any luck due to the presence of chicken dolphin.

When they reached their destination at 8:15 p.m., tuna were hitting the top water.

"We were using the big Frenzy Popper around the rig. As soon as the popper would hit the water and had a couple of jerks, you could see the tuna charging the bait," McDonald said. "A big splash would take place and the fight was on. We circled the rig all night on one engine still catching tuna."

At daybreak, six other boats arrived at the St. Charles Parish group’s location. Jessie Sigmon chummed the water with sardines and the fishermen set some drift lines.

It wasn’t long before Jessie’s rod bent over.

"She grabbed the rod and set the hook," McDonald said. "One hour later, after we took turns reeling the big tuna, we boated the 83-pound yellowfin."

The anglers kept 26 blackfin tuna and four yellowfin tuna on the trip. While the fishermen were happy with their catch, it was the sights of the trip that really made it one to remember.

"We watched a sperm whale show his tail," Will Sigmon said. "That was very impressive. This was our best tuna trip this year."

After getting home, it was time to clean the big fish.

Will likes using the Bubba Blade 9-inch Stiffie fillet knife for the job. He makes the first cut around the gill plate from the top to the belly of the tuna. Then he makes a cut along the bottom, through the belly, and ends up at the gill plate.

Starting at the tail, he makes another cut along the spine until the slab is taken off and then he removes the skin from the meat.

The final cut is removing the center bloodline, which makes the tuna ready to cook or pack away.

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