Oil Rig Fishing in the Gulf - Tips from Top Captains | Great Days Outdoors

Gulf of Mexico oil rig fishing has been a go to for many big game anglers, for years. Be that fishing oil rigs in Louisiana, off the coast of Alabama or even those leaving the beautiful white sand beaches of Florida, these rigs have been the destination to catch big fish and plenty of them. Armed with a map of oil rig locations in the Gulf of Mexico, big game anglers can be sure they’re spending more time fishing and less time searching.

At one time, Gulf of Mexico big game anglers could locate massive oil drilling rigs, which are fish magnets in the deep blue Gulf if ever there were ones, and anglers could rest assured knowing that a particular rig would be a permanent resident at that first-found location.

Of course, down through the years, big game anglers have found that the city-size drill rigs are reliable producers of big fish, and are probably many anglers’ best bet for finding and catching big fish for tournaments. Traveling the long runs to the rigs was a good investment of time, fuel, and effort. 





gulf of Mexico oil rig fishing alabama Louisiana

Gulf of Mexico Oil Rig Fishing works for big tournament winning marlin and other big game fish.


However, many of the far offshore rigs now are “floaters”, rigs that despite their massive size, can be moved when needed and which often are moved. It’s a frustrating thing for a boat load of eager anglers to put in coordinates for a traditionally good rig, make the long, expensive run out in the Gulf only to find that the massive oil drilling rig has been moved somewhere totally different. In addition to the massive floating drill rigs, there are also drill ships and semi-submersible rigs resulting in a wide range of big drill rigs which attract big fish, and can be moved to a completely different location.

So big game anglers who want to use do some oil rig fishing at the floating offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico need a map of oil rig locations in order to keep up with exactly where the floating drill rigs are located and how to pick one that is holding fish. 




How Successful Captains Choose a Good Floater

One of the things that offshore big game anglers find out very quickly is that not all floater drill rigs produce fish at the same rate and level. There are differences in the rigs and their locations, and this can make a major effect in the fishing results.


Oil Rig Fishing in the Gulf for Tuna

Big Tuna are found regularly while Oil Rig Fishing in the Gulf.


Captain Devin Potts has done his fair share of oil rig fishing, He operates the Sea Mixer, a 66-foot long Spencer Yachts boat out of Orange Beach, and offers this information. “When you’re doing some Gulf of Mexico oil rig fishing, the location of a rig is very important.  A lot of floater rigs are close to underwater seamounts, and then the rigs work like fish attracting devices. Rigs can fire off with a great bite, and there’s no rhyme or reason. But I’d say that there are rigs and places that are just good places. Through the years, you see the floaters that really produce.  For instance, when fishing oil rigs in Louisiana, the floater Independence Hub is good, but it’s being moved.”

“There are all sorts of rigs in the Gulf. The drillships work and then move on to another job.  The rigs that are permanent, you can get an honest read on them, and they tend to put a floater at that spot.  The longer a floater rig is in a place, the better,” Potts said.

“I look at Hilton’s to find pretty water and good current. I still say a lot of studying of what you see when you get to rigs makes a big difference,” Potts added.

Captain Kyle Smith runs a 63-foot private offshore boat out of Orange Beach and is very familiar with oil rig fishing. He offers some advice to big game anglers looking for an advantage when it comes to tournament time. 

“We look at altimetry, chlorophyll in the water, and water temperature, and we always use Hilton’s RealTime Navigator. Hilton’s is accurate and we look at it before every trip. That’s who we trust,” Smith said.


gulf of Mexico oil rig fishing alabama Louisiana

While targeting Oil Rigs in the gulf, it’s important to monitor Satellite Imagery and look for areas where weed lines may form.


When arriving at a floating drill rig, Smith points out that he always looks for good current in the area and bait on the surface. Finding bait on the surface is always a good sign that big fish are around, and it’s easier for catching bait.”


Using Hilton’s Realtime Navigator to Track the Movements of Platforms and Select the most Productive Rigs

Because the open Gulf is so vast it makes it difficult for any single angler to keep track of drilling rigs and their potential locations and to identify high potential big-game fishing sites and opportunities.  This is where Hilton’s comes in.

Hilton’s RealTime Navigator is a system which provides a wide range of information for anglers to use in their planning for offshore fishing trips. When it comes to keeping track of the floating drill rigs, Hilton’s is indispensable.

“Hilton’s spends thousands of dollars to the best AIS service to track the movements of the drill ships/semi-submersibles real time.  The number of rigs vary from week to week due to rigs going inshore for service, heading out of the Gulf of Mexico to other locations, etc. But on average we are tracking around 35 structures each week.  This is in addition to hundreds of spars, surface platforms, and other structures we are tracking,” say Hilton founder and president Thomas, Hilton.

“We show the rig/floater locations on top of various imageries so that subscribers can ascertain what the current conditions are at that location before heading out to, let’s say, fish floating oil rigs in Louisiana. Water color, sea surface temperature, surface currents, and yes, altimetry all play a role in why the fish are at one location and not the other,” Hilton said.

“The biggest advantage anglers gain from specific rig locations is being able to make a call on where to go based on ALL the variables, and yes, drillship and semi-submersible locations are one variable in the equation,” Hilton noted.  “I recommend to all of my subscribers to contact me directly before they head out if they are going to fish distant floaters, be that oil rig fishing from Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, you name it. I can confirm their latest positions to ensure they are actually in position as shown on the site. They pick up and move without giving us any notice!”

Hilton pointed out that floaters can actually create conditions that can make the bite better.


gulf of Mexico oil rig fishing alabama Louisiana

Drill ships move without notice. It’s important to have an updated Oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico Map to stay with Pelagic species like this Dolphin.


“It has been my experience that drill ships/semi-submersibles have shown to create their own currents with the DPS (Dynamic Positioning Systems) which often spurs the bite.  I sent one of my subscribers to Gunnison Spar over here off Texas last year. There was a drillship positioned about one mile north of it. He fished the spar first which was absolutely dead.  Then he headed over to the drillship which was on fire. The conditions were no different between the two structures in that short of a distance. The only difference I could ascertain was the currents created by the DPS.”

And this is why it is so crucial for offshore anglers to have accurate up to date information when they are oil rig fishing in the gulf- conditions and rig positions change often.  When Hilton’s subscribers call the office for advice and direction, they don’t speak to someone who knows nothing about fishing. When the phone rings at Hilton’s, Tom Hilton answers, and he finds the information captains and anglers need.

Important Contact Information

Hilton’s RealTime Navigator




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