• Published:April 27, 2018
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Gulf conditions are looking up for a productive 2018 season.

FishTrack is a proud sponsor and official weather provider for the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, held in Destin, Florida, from June 20-24. While the tournament is still a couple of months away, the tournament staff asked us to take a look at the current ocean conditions.
FishTrack staff viewed recent satellite imagery to see if we could spot any oceanic trends that may influence where and when the billfish will likely bite come tournament time.

The largest oceanic influencer in the Gulf of Mexico is the Loop Current. This massive body of water moves northward into the Gulf of Mexico flowing through the area located in between the Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba. The Loop Current then moves in a clockwise rotation and exits the Gulf through the Florida Straits and eventually heads over and connects with the Gulf Stream, which runs up the East Coast. The northern tip of the Loop Current is currently 160 nautical miles south of Pensacola near an area known as Lloyd’s Ridge.

Warm bodies of water called eddies spin off of the Loop Current and move W/SW toward Louisiana and Texas. These warm-water eddies will push offshore pelagic fish closer to the coast. These eddies can last up to a year, and we are currently seeing a large eddy about 76 nautical miles south of Louisiana. This eddy will bring warmer, blue water to Green Canyon and several drill platforms as it continues to move toward Louisiana. We did not see a warm eddy at this early in the season last year and feel it will be a big boon to fishing in the Gulf.
"We are currently seeing a large eddy about 76 nautical miles south of Louisiana."
-- FishTrack
Offshore crews in search of billfish and tuna should monitor this warm-water eddy over the coming weeks on FishTrack’s satellite imagery, and track its movement to spot any trends that you may be able to intersect. If the eddy comes within range and you get a good weather window, you’ll want to fish along the edge where the warm-water eddy converges with cooler water or dirty water, especially over the continental shelf or near any oil rigs it may interact with. Targeting temp breaks and/or color breaks over structure is always a good starting point when looking for a hot spot offshore.

The final piece of the puzzle is weather, and it’s been a very windy spring in the Gulf region. Strong winds will affect sea-surface temperatures as persistent south/southwest winds can push cooler water offshore where these cool waters will interact with the warmer offshore currents.

Water temps in the Gulf region are a degree or two cooler than they were this time last year. How much that may affect the bite is still unknown. However, we have heard many reports of good yellowfin tuna action when boats have been able to get out. For the latest 7-day wind and swell forecasts, make sure to visit Buoyweather.com

With the ECBC taking place in June we will be keeping a close eye on any tropical waves/disturbances as this is one of the key generation areas early in the season. With that said, we usually only see around one event per season on average early in the summer. As long as there are no tropical developments, winds are usually calm in June, and we typically see an early morning land breeze and an afternoon sea breeze wind pattern. Seas are generally pretty benign this time of year as well, unless we have an active tropical disturbance over the Gulf.


All ECBC participants receive a free trial to play around with FishTrack and a 20% discount towards a premium subscription to FishTrack and/or Buoyweather. Try out these services to find the warm blue water in the Gulf before you leave the dock. You can also use the FishTrack app and save the imagery onto your mobile device so you can access the charts and data when you are fishing outside of cell coverage. Save waypoints in the FishTrack app so you have the GPS coordinates in your phone. Then, when you jump on the boat you can plug the numbers into your plotter and head offshore. If you would like to learn more about using FishTrack, check out the tutorials located on FishTrack.com.