IntheBite 2006 Captain of the Year, Capt. Ronnie Woodruff
Born and raised on the Gulf Coast, at 14 Woodruff was working as second mate on the Surprise, a job he landed after proving himself on the fuel docks at the marina. Woodruff can’t recall a time when he didn’t fish. My dad was both a professional musician and owned a tackle shop so that’s where I went every day after school.
Woodruff says his son and daughter, who are 10 and 14, have not exactly had the same upbringing, but I hope they’ll find a way to keep fishing because this sure has been a blessing to me. With his brother Dale, also a captain, Woodruff owns and fishes the charter boat Class Act out of Zeke’s Marina in Orange Beach, AL. He also owns a 40-foot tourist boat that takes people on dolphin sightseeing tours out of Orange Beach. In addition to that, he is the full time captain of the 2006 68-foot Viking, Work of Art.
Tournaments are a major focus for team Work of Art. Annually they fish the five major Gulf Coast tournaments. These are events Woodruff has been fishing since 1987 when he burst on the scene as one of the region’s top deckhands thanks to high profile jobs on Saleslady and Necessity. Saleslady was my first fulltime job and I was lucky enough to be with them as they fished the Gulf Coast events along with Mexico and the Bahamas.
Over the past 20 years, Woodruff has his of luck and good paydays in tournaments, including a $220,000 plus payday during the 2006 Labor Day Mobile Big Game Tournament where theirs was the only blue marlin caught. The last few seasons we’ve actually seen a couple of thousand pound blues caught here in the Gulf, said Woodruff, who several years ago encountered a fish he believes might well have topped that mark by a few hundred. She just wandered into my spread. I still think about that fish. That’s how heart-stopping big she was. She’s why I thank God every day for the privilege of being here, doing this for a living.