I’m often asked what makes someone want to be an offshore charter captain. It’s a job that requires eighteen-hour days, around-the-clock planning and preparation, thorough maintenance, and cleaning of vessels and equipment to ensure our guests will have experiences they’ll remember forever. We’re well known for going to great lengths to make this happen. We make runs across several states and out to remote regions more than 100 miles offshore to track down leviathans – the largest and most desired species in the sea.
While this is one of the toughest jobs known, there is absolutely nothing we’d rather be doing. So why do we do it? Well, obviously you have to love to fish. But over the years I’ve started to realize that this is just part of it – a small part. To be consistently successful, you must have an even greater love for the thrill of the hunt and a deep respect for the sea. It’s been like that for generations. I remember a line written by the legendary outdoors writer Zane Gray that put it all in perspective for me:
There are always greater fish than you have caught, always the lure of greater task and achievement, always the inspiration to seek, to endure, to find.
No truer words have ever been said. But I don’t believe there are any words to describe the tranquil beauty of the cobalt-blue waters. I’ve been nearly 150 miles offshore, where there’s not another boat in sight, but I’ve never felt alone. The prolific waters of the Gulf of Mexico are teeming with life, and every excursion is a brand-new experience. The northern Gulf is filled with mystery and awe, and many times I’ve encountered creatures larger than my 39-foot boat.
Whales have surfaced just a few yards off my bow to get a look at the anglers. We’ve spotted whale sharks the size of city buses lounging on the surface. We’ve seen manta rays of prehistoric proportions launch from the water, spread their massive wings, and glide back to the surface. We’ve witnessed 1,000-pound blue marlin crash through schools of baitfish, slashing their rostrums from side to side like lethal weapons. While fishing a tournament recently, we stared in awe as a giant bluefin tuna plowed across the surface, raising a massive wall of water more than 30 feet into the air. Huge sea turtles drift aimlessly with the currents, porpoises flip like acrobats, and flying fish sail like humming birds.