Hello all Captain Rich here, we were a couple fishermen overbooked this trip due to a bunch of weather cancellations this winter so I was a bit concerned about tangles being a problem. We departed pretty close to our scheduled time of 9am, BTW we have bumped up the departure time to 9am from noon mostly because of the parking issues here in Tarpon Springs but also it gives us a few extra trip hours if we need them. The crew had customers’ coolers all iced up and everyone’s gear loaded up and organized pretty quickly and shortly after we slid away from the dock.
The weather forecast was so-so, 10-15 knots and 15-20 knots the 15-20 was on my mind with the extra 2 passengers possibly resulting in a tangley trip. Gladly I can report that the wind wasn’t too much of an issue and the tangles were virtually non existent. Yeah of course we had tangles but it wasn’t anything crazy thankfully. Now onto the fishing…
The first morning we arrived on scene around 3 am and made some prospecting night stops. It was very slow and after a few drops we picked up and steamed a bit further offshore. After daybreak we had 15-20 knot winds from the south and we picked at Yellowedge and Snowy Grouper, Queen snapper, Yellow eye snapper, Tilefish, Porgies, Vermillion and assorted others. We bounced around from 600-750 feet for most of the morning.
The wind in the afternoon backed off to about 5 knots and our drift slowed way down and the fish really liked it. We put the beatdown on the tilefish and along the way boxed up plenty of Grouper, Yellow eyes and Queen snapper. We must of made 25 drifts and it never slowed down until we had enough and we moved. The next spot was slow, actually we really just picked for the rest of the evening. The fish we were catching were decent size and were coming up with enough frequency that being it was the first day I could live with and not get too inpatient and start hunting around so we drilled it out until sunset.
We ran inshore a bit and made a few attempts for some night action and although we had some action it was basically slow. At 2:30 am, getting pretty bored we started them up and went searching. The fisherman went to sleep and we drove around looking for new bottom and running over our logged spots looking for piles of fish to work on after sunrise.
35 miles later we stop on a big mound that is 600 feet on top and drops off on all sides to the abyss. The bottom machine looks like snappers are at home, right away we had two really nice snowy grouper and a few Wenchman Snapper and some more tilefish Yellow eye and Queen snapper. Having not caught to many Wenchman and excited to have a pile that were playing with us we stayed there fore quite a while and picked at them.
I had planned on going out deeper if the wind did the same thing as yesterday and flopped out. It did… but we burned up too much time on that first stop of the day that we were committed to 600-750 foot. We made some moves and picked some more nice fish at almost every stop and at the last stop of the day we had instant bites of tiles and some snowys and two monster fish. One of the monsters broke off but after a pretty long battle we landed a jumbo Speckled Hind. It was a really nice fish and it was this anglers first time fishing the deepwater. He used one of our rentals and listened to advice from the crew and he filled up his coolers and had a great time experiencing something new.
Overall we had a good trip, the anglers all had positive reviews on the ride home. I’ve been programmed for so long to catch catch catch… that I find myself never really being satisfied with the result and thinking it could have been better.
In 2006 we started pushing the boundaries and fishing the deep-water in the Gulf with passengers. We had lots of critics of course and when we start breaking the 200 fathom barrier the critics started to follow us. Heck when I found Leviathan Ledge no one ever thought of bringing passengers out to 200 fathoms. Now there are a few boats fishing out deep and some of the on the surface copied us almost perfectly, but I can assure you that without us breaking all the boundaries first they would still be afraid of falling off the flat earth.
Stay tuned…. because soon we are about to push another limit that will for sure point out the followers and pretenders. I guess we can call it Gulfstar 3.0
P.S. Tomorrow 3/31 we depart on a 30 fathom trip that is a charter, I’m hopeful that were going to have an excellent trip to report back to you on Monday.
Captain Richard J Castellano, exploring the outer limits aboard the Gulfstar since 2006