Chasin’ The Sun ventures farther than ever before when Capt. Justin Leake hops on board a sportfisher for a trip to blue water in search of yellowfins.
Capt. Jeremy Mullis is at the helm when the “Ellie B” leaves the dock in the pre-dawn hours of a calm December day. The plan is to greet the sunrise at an oil drilling platform more than 100 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. The giant rigs attract baitfish and the species that prey on them such as tuna, marlin and other pelagic fish.
At daybreak, the blackfin tuna bite turns on but that’s not what this trip is about. These small, early predators become prey for yellowfin tuna when the Ellie B crew uses them for bait. “When you get a bite on a fish that weighs five or ten pounds, you know you’re hooking into something good,” says Joey Sostheim, a local angler and Justin’s longtime friend.
Experience pays off when a big tuna takes the bait and, after a tiring battle, winds up on the deck of the boat. Not to be outdone, inshore sight fishing specialist Justin foregoes the deep drop and hooks a monster tuna on spinning tackle.
Later, Capt. Mullis makes a stop at a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) where flying fish put on a show and trophy mahi mahi end up in the cooler.