You will most likely be fishing from our Pathfinder 2400 TRS Bay Boat. The 2400 TRS is good at just about everything, even floating in a foot of water. She’s 24’ long and features an 8’6” beam, has lots of dry storage, wide gunwales, multiple coolers, three live bait wells, and holds 73 gallons of fuel. The open, step-up bow is great for fly casting or spin fishing, as is the stern. With no T-Top and below-deck rod storage, the entire boat is obstruction-free. She has a comfortable, dry ride in most conditions. Powered by a jack-plate-mounted Yamaha 250 SHO outboard that has been tweaked a little bit, she can fly along in the mid-50s if we ever need to get someplace in a hurry. Her GPS-controlled trolling motor allows us to anchor-up on secret deep-water spots, and the PowerPole shallow water anchor locks us down on the flats, silently. Modern GPS and Sonar systems help us navigate to proven fishing grounds and back to port. You will enjoy fishing from and riding in this excellent vessel.
When the Gulf of Mexico is sloshy or if the Bay gets too choppy for us to be comfortable in our other boats, we’ll fish from Captain Baz’ (my brother) Classic Mako 211. The Mako is a 21-foot Deep Vee Center Console vessel customized for fly fishing and sight casting. She has an 8’ beam and is powered by a 225 horsepower Yamaha four-stroke outboard. The casting deck is large and sits 30 inches above the water providing an excellent angle for spotting fish. The bow is obstruction-free with a recessed cleat and no bow rail. From the bow, you can cast 360 degrees as there is no top to obscure casting to the stern. The second casting position is in the stern. We can safely store 8 fly rods and multiple spinning and conventional rods. She also has a built-in insulated drink cooler and a cavernous livewell.
Of course, all our boats have all necessary USCG safety equipment including Type 1 life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares, signal flags, whistles, and first aid kits. We also have modern GPS navigational aids, compasses, trim tabs, multiple anchors, lights, and more. Your safety and comfort are paramount!
We use premium St. Croix Avid and Tidemaster and TFO TAC Inshore Series spinning rods, which are the top of the pack in my opinion. Rods just don’t get any better. Light and powerful, all our chosen rods allow anglers to catch extremely powerful fish on light tackle. For instance, you may catch a 25-pound redfish on the same rod we use for trout fishing – the Avid series 6’6” medium power fast action that weighs only 3.8 ounces or the TFO TAC Inshore 6’9” Medium Fast that weighs 4.5 ounces. Or you could land a 30-pound King Mackerel on a Tidemaster 8’ heavy power fast action rod that weighs 8.9 ounces or a TFO TAC Inshore 8’ Mag Extra Heavy Fast that weighs 8.9 ounces. These elegant rods can handle the fight, and they are so light you can cast for hours and remain fatigue-free. Our light spinning rods are fitted with Florida Fishing Products Carbon Edition 3000 or Shimano Stradic 3000 reels. Our heavy spinning rods feature Florida Fishing Products SS6000 and SS8000 or Quantum Cabo 60 reels. Spinning reels are spooled with no-stretch PowerPro braided line. We don’t fool around with the cheap stuff.
Like many fly fishing enthusiasts, I have a battery of great gear for your casting pleasure. Rods from Loomis, Winston, and TFO fill the quiver. I have to say I really like the power and feel of Temple Fork Outfitters Axiom II-X series rods. They load up just right on your double haul and shoot flies in tight loops right where you’re aimed. That is, if you do your part. If you choose to use our tackle, this is what you’ll use in 6-weight and 8-weight setups when we target trout, slot or just-over-slot redfish, Spanish Mackerel, Bonito, and more. For bigger fish like the rambunctious Jack Crevalle and bull Redfish, we use 10-weight Loomis rods, while the 12-weight gear is Winston. Reels will be either Hatch or TFO BVK, depending on the setup. It’s a real advantage for me to have my brother Captain Baz, one of the most sought-after fly fishing guides in the country, available for opinions and technical help. He really knows his stuff, and we R&D (Ripoff and Duplicate) his knowledge regularly. We have tons of tried and true flies for the species we’ll target, and of course you are welcome to bring you own assortment. You just never really know what fly a fish will inhale until you give it a wet test!
When we bottom fish for the brutes we’ll stick to premium, tried and true Shimano Speedmaster II 2-speed reels spooled with 50 to 80 pound Ande monofilament. Over the years I have learned you really need some stretch in your line with these fish – braided line just does not get it. Braid is super strong and abrasion resistant, but a large snapper shaking his head will almost always throw the hook unless the line offers some stretch. (This is a secret, please don’t tell anybody.) Generally, we’ll use either Star, Shimano, or TFO 6’ to 6’6” boat rods, stand-up type, to help pull these powerful reef fish up and out of their hidey holes. Be prepared to have sore arms for a few days when we get into the Red Snapper and Grouper spots around here. These fish can PULL like crazy.