Furuno Gulf Coast Division
Capt. Jason Buck, Done Deal, 2100 Total Points
Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic, 2nd Place, 300 Pts.
Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, 2nd Place, 300 Pts.
Texas Billfish Classic, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Lone Star Shootout, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
New Orleans Invitational, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
*This represents Buck’s 4th win in the Furuno Gulf Coast Captain of the Year: 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019.
Well, if you’ve spent any time fishing tournaments in the Gulf of Mexico for the last six years or so, the names Jason Buck and Done Deal have probably been permanently etched into your brain—and your wallet. Buck and his team are a veritable winning machine; this is Buck’s fourth Captain of the Year award since 2014. He’s won the last three years in a row.
“We’ve definitely been a roll,” says Buck. “Some of it was lucking into good fishing, but a lot of our success comes down to doing your homework and scouting. That was especially true for the Texas Billfish Classic this year. We fished on the way over there (while traveling from the eastern Gulf to Texas) and we caught six blues and white. We stuck to that discipline of scouting. The last place we ended up we got crushed by a great blue marlin bite and I said, ‘All right, I know where I’m going back to!’”
“We started fishing in tighter as well. I felt we were passing up a lot of fish by fishing way out wide just so that we could be all by ourselves. I threw that strategy out the window and said that if we think it looks good right out front, then that’s what we are going to fish. We ran 70 miles offshore, which in the Texas is really close, found good water and caught our fish.”
Buck grew up on the Gulf Coast, fishing on the Fairhope Pier. As a kid, he experienced a hand full of trips offshore. He often dreamed about those trips and by the time he was teenager, he managed to work a couple of summers on the docks of Orange Beach, Alabama, making the 45-mile trek from his hometown to work for free.
“One of the guys I was working for free for was a very professional guy. I could tell he had it together, and I was really impressed with him. I asked him how I should go about making fishing a career. He said that he’d gone into the Coast Guard and then worked on charter boats during his days off. So that’s what I did. I joined the Coast Guard, and my second duty station was Venice, Louisiana. I got a job running a charter boat catching tunas on my days off and that was that! You get to see a lot of cool stuff happening offshore in Venice!”
Buck’s first fulltime sportfishing job was on the 65-foot Hatteras, Placebo. This job took him to the Turks and Caicos, St. Thomas and Mexico. More importantly, the Placebo job confirmed Buck’s love for travel and fishing.
Jason soon found himself working as a mate on the Gear Up. The owner of the operation sold marine propulsion equipment and gear boxes. One of the owner’s clients was a man who owned a tug boat company that purchased gear boxes. That man’s name was Jon Gonsoulin.
Jason met Gonsoulin while the latter was fishing aboard the Gear Up as a guest. Gonsoulin had recently purchased a 56’ Viking. As Jason worked on the Gear Up, he got to know Gonsoulin and their relationship grew. About a year later, when Gonsoulin shipped his Viking down to Panama, he was insistent that Buck be his captain. The rest, as they say, is history.
“After a couple of Central American tours, we’ve mostly stayed at home and fished the Gulf tournaments for the past six years,” says Buck. “When we returned to the Gulf for the first time with me running the boat, we killed the only fish in Biloxi in 2008 and won something like $400,000.” Buck and Gonsoulin and company then returned to Central America for a time before returning to the Gulf for good.
“We’ve been hard at it in the Gulf since 2012. It’s hard work fishing these Gulf tournaments back to back to back…I’m just glad my guys are ate up with blue marlin fishing and the competition!”
Buck attributes a lot of his success to his world-class team of anglers and mates.
“Katy Gonsoulin is our main angler. A lot of this operation revolves around her. She’s caught a 535 after a five-hour fight, and the year before she fought a fish for that was all wrapped up for eight hours. She can catch them plenty quick too, she caught a 740-pounder in an hour and 15 minutes. It’s really great to see a cute, 100-pound girl standing next to a giant blue marlin. She’s a big inspiration to the little girls around here…she’s like the Katy Perry of sportfishing on the Gulf Coast,” says Buck.
“Wilkes Hammock is another one of our great anglers who fills in sometimes, and I’d also like to thank my mates Scott Sullivan, Vick Lott and especially Nick Bovell. I can’t say enough good things about Nick. We had a good operation before Nick, but his experience, attitude and work ethic just took us to whole new level. There’s never any drama with that guy,” says Buck.
Do you have any comments or questions for us? We’d love to hear from you.