Boat Name: Dirt Pit
Make/Year: 2009 60′ Hatteras
About: The most complete 60ft sportfish on the market! This particular 60, 60C218 was built specifically under the direction of a veteran owner’s understanding of exactly what the full requirements are in sportfishing and sport cruising. From the custom helm and cockpit to the 3 stateroom/3 head layout, the attention to extended cruising and fishing details were on the mark. Maintained impeccably by a veteran full-time captain, this 60 is still unmatched in its construction and constant first class condition.
Featuring a blend of masculine battlewagon with warmth and style. Upon entering the spacious salon and galley, the deep rich high gloss cherry walls, the solid granite surfaces and subtle sofa and dinette just speaks volumes. Supported with 3 staterooms below, it’s ideal for owners and friends to experience the best in its class… even while cruising at 32+ knots!
Remarkable high gloss cherry wood expertly crafted throughout! Enjoy the large L-shaped custom sofa with storage, L-shaped dinette and spacious galley with huge drawers.
Galley and Dinette
The galley features three under-counter Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer units. A four-burner ceramic cook top and microwave/convection oven provide plenty of food preparation options, while deep storage drawers in the galley’s fascia offer an abundance of space. Amtico teak and holly strip flooring with custom layout and solid-surface countertops and backsplashes give the galley an elegant look with long-lasting durability. To starboard, a large dinette features an L-shaped lounge with storage underneath. The dining table features a solid-surface top with decorative pedestal.
Master Stateroom and Head
Forward of the salon through the spacious wide companion way and to the port. The master stateroom continues with the winning blend. Warm, spacious and functional with ample storage and a full berth with ensuite full head. The large master head has private access to the stateroom. Blended with cherry trim upgraded wall coverings and full bowed face vanity with storage above and below with custom granite surface.
- Make: Hatteras
- Model: 60 Convertible
- Condition: Used
- Category: Power
- Builder: Hatteras
- Construction: Fiberglass
- Length Overall: 60 ft
- Beam: 19 ft
- Backup Electronics
- Furuno Sonar Upgraded Systems
- Hydraulic bow thruster
- Cruising Speed: 34
- Max Speed: 39
- Fuel: 1800
- Fresh Water: 200
- And many more!
See additional photos here
Do you have any comments or questions for us? We’d love to hear from you.
Engineered for the angler who demands more, the 45EX Sportfish offers the legendary Hatteras experience in a versatile Express edition.
Outfitted to be an imposing, yet nimble tournament-style force on the water, the 45EX offers outriggers, an arsenal of amenities and the choice of tower/bridge options. The vessel combines a spacious platform for entertainment, with its many fishing attributes and functionalities.
- LOA: 44’7″
- Beam: 6’6″
- Draft (with Props): 4’0″
- Standard Engines: (additional options available): Twin Cat C-12A Diesel Engines (715 MHP / 705 BHP each)
- Fuel Capacity: 800 gal
- Freshwater Capacity: 100 gal
- Weight Displacement: 49,700 lbs.
Do you have any comments or questions for us? We’d love to hear from you.
Hatteras Village Offshore — It is with great sadness that we, the tournament committee for the Hatteras Village Offshore Open (HVOO), must cancel this year’s tournament which was scheduled for May 12th – 16th. On April 21st, Dare County announced the staged entry of non-resident property owners beginning May 4th and extended our “Stay Home – Stay Healthy” order until May 22, 2020. No word has yet to be given on when visitors will be permitted to access Dare County. We wish we had better news to share but realize that we are all having to make sacrifices during this unprecedented time.
To our participants, we are going to miss seeing you all, those who have been fishing the HVOO for years and those who were going to be joining us for the first time. We will be doing everything in our power to make next year’s tournament the best yet and trust that you will come back and join us!
To our sponsors, your involvement throughout the years is appreciated more than you know. It is through your support that we are able to fund scholarships for Hatteras Village residents to further their education and also make donations to many of the other non-profit organizations here on Hatteras Island. We will be reaching out to you each individually to discuss options.
We hope that everyone will be able to get back out on the water soon. There are some other great tournaments coming up in the North Carolina Governor’s Cup and we wish everyone calm seas and tight lines.
For more information, please visit https://www.hvoo.org
The Hatterascal became Hatteras Yachts’ demo boat in 2019. The finely appointed 59 GT set out with Captain Jeff Donahue at the helm and mate Tyler Davis running the cockpit.
Fishing aboard a factory boat requires a diverse skillset — from kite fishing in Florida, live baiting in the Gulf and dredge fishing in the Northeast — not to mention the personability to showcase the brand and the boat to people far and wide. Last April, Captain Jeff and crew showcased the boat and some kite fishing tactics out of Sailfish Resort and Marina in Palm Beach.
Stickable, Removable Needle Quiver
Getting lines deployed quickly while kite fishing requires organization, coordination and skill. It also helps to keep track of your bait needles. This ingenious set up uses a wine cork glued to a suction cup. Simply run your bridle rubber bands through the open eye of the rigging needle and stick your needles into the cork. No more lost needles, no more scrambling for rubber bands.
Keeping the Baits in the Zone
Mate Tanner Holly keeps the baits in the zone. When deploying kite baits, the long baits go in the center and the short baits on the outside. With all the crew on the headsets, there is no more yelling when a fish comes up top.
Rigged and Ready
Two spools filled with rigged leaders are suction cupped to the wall of the cockpit. Each is full of hook/leader sets, all the same one atop the next. After releasing a sail, the team simply pulls off the next fully prepared leader. Each spool is labeled with hook and leader size. This time saving tip keeps baits in the water longer.
Portable Helium Source, Balloon Stowage
When you’re lucky enough to find a spring day that isn’t windy enough to blow the pelicans away, you might need some helium for your balloons. Tyler says the team gets theirs using portable helium tanks available at Wal-Mart (“You get about a balloon and a half out of each tank,” he says.) On the ride on the kites are tucked beneath cushions up top. On the ride between spots, they in the cockpit.
Drawing a Crowd
If you’re ever feeling lonely or just want a bunch of people to come talk to you, you can either bring a puppy to the beach or fillet a tuna around lunch time.
By Dave Ferrell
2019 Sea Genie II Hawaii Division Captain of the Year
Capt. Teddy Hoogs, Bwana, 1,900 Points
1st Place Release Points, Skins, 500 Pts.
1st Place Release Points, Lure Maker, 500 Pts.
3rd Place Release Points, Marlin Magic, 100 Pts.
2nd Place Release Points, BIMT, 300 Pts.
1st Place Points, It’s a Wrap, 500 Pts.
There are few places in the world as steeped in the history of sportfishing as Kailua Kona, Hawaii. The use of the very first outriggers and very first artificial trolling lures for marlin to name just two. It also hosts the world-famous Hoogs family of sportfishing pioneers. Capt. Teddy Hoogs, this year’s winner of the Sea Genie Captain of the Year award grew up fishing the prolific waters of Kona sitting on the lap of his famous father Peter Hoogs, at the helm of the Pamela. “There wasn’t any daycare back then, so there’s a lot of pictures of me sitting on my Dad’s lap while fishing a charter,” says Hoogs.
Now all grown up and a legendary force to be reckoned with in his own right, Hoogs, 38, pilots the 46-foot Gamerfisherman, Bwana, in some of the best blue marlin water in the world. “It was awesome when I found out we were going to get her. She was formerly named Adios, and I was drooling over her the whole time she was on Yacht World. It’s really great to run her here,” says Hoogs.
Hoogs works for owner Craig Lindner Jr., and over the last 11 years, the two have put together a good team of anglers and mates that all work on the same page. Carl Shepard’s been with me for four or five years now, and we had Keith “KJ” Robinson come along when we run two crew. It’s all good vibes with those guys.
We are all behind each other 100 percent. We stand behind our choices on the water. We also had Bobby Cherry fill in for a few tournaments this year as well. He’s a captain here in Kona as well, and runs a boat called the Cherry Pit. He’s a good friend and was a good asset for us this year. We made a lot of the right turns this year for sure,” says Hoogs.
Hoogs says that they caught the majority of their fish on lures, but that “we caught one on a live bait during the last tournament. Craig is an excellent angler, and he’s worked hard on our program. He knows when to tease a fish, when to back off the drag and when to put it to them. It’s like having another crewman on the deck,” says Hoogs.
Another thing that Hoogs appreciates about his present owner situation is that he doesn’t have to be out fishing every day to make his living. “I grew up fishing a ton of days on the Pamela. My Dad had to do a lot of fishing to raise a family. With this job, I don’t have to be out there every day now.
I’ve got a couple of kids so fishing just 65 days or so a year, the majority of that with Craig, makes it much easier on the family life. I’m still busy keeping the boat up, and I enjoy the fishing all the tournaments in the summer. This arrangement allows me to be here for the kids while they are growing up,” says Hoogs.
Although he’s done the majority of his fishing in Kona, Hoogs quickly learned about the benefits of traveling to different spots and learning the ins and outs of big-game fishing from a variety of different perspectives. “I did six seasons on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, went to Madeira with Clay Hensley and fished in Ghana, Africa with Alan Stewart. I’ve also done a lot of commercial tuna fishing here in Kona for many years. We get to see plenty of big ones right here at home.”
“I’m very proud to the get the Captain of the Year award,” says Hoogs. “I like catching big marlin and big tuna and I really like tournament fishing…those big fish really get me going. Although, I really don’t mind catching a few little blues during the tournaments; we can catch them fast, get some points, and hopefully win some money!”
2019 AIRMAR East Coast Division Captain of the Year
Capt. Ryan Knapp, Top Dog, 1000 Total Points
Hatteras Village Offshore Open, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
The Big Rock, Heaviest Marlin 914-pounds, 500 Pts.
Just a young pup at 29, Capt. Ryan Knapp has packed a lot of experience into his short career. Knapp’s grandfather and uncle had offshore boats while he was growing up and he says that, “I was always the one who wanted to go do it! My grandfather really encouraged me, and I was pretty much attached to him at the ankle. I grew up on the western shore of Maryland so we fished a of Chesapeake Bay and Ocean City stuff.”
Like a lot of aspiring mates, Knapp got his first paying job as mate on Joe Riley’s famous headboat, Muff Diver. “It was a big pink headboat and you couldn’t miss it. It’s not an easy job working on a headboat, but you could make it work if you are willing to do whatever it takes to keep the people happy. You really have to love doing it to be successful. When Riley finally retired at the age of 70, he said to me, Ryan, you are my last protégé, do me proud. I still think about that a lot and try to live up to his expectations.”
Knapp earned his AIRMAR East Coast Captain of the Year designation with two impressive first-place wins in the Big Rock and Hatteras Village open, so you could say that North Carolina has been very good to Knapp and his team. “I definitely got zoned in on where the fish were going to be in North Carolina this year. By the time I left the state, we were 12 for 12 on blue marlin bites and found every one of those fish in 80.5 F water. I got tuned into a few things, but I really just paid attention and did my job,” says Knapp.
Success, however, didn’t come quick or easy for his team. “I’ve fished The Big Rock for six years…and before last year, we’ve had just one bite in six years. It wasn’t that we weren’t in the zone, we just didn’t get the opportunities. You really are hunting unicorns out there sometimes.” “Five years into it and we still hadn’t caught one. At the end of the tournament my boss walks up and thanks us for all our hard work and tells us what a great tournament it’s been. Now that’s the guy you want to work for…a guy who will do what it takes to succeed.”
That perseverance paid off in spades this past year. “The Hatteras Village Open was awesome for us. The last day of fishing we saw five blues, caught three and killed one. We saw all the fish just 27 miles from the slip. It was truly an amazing day. All of the fish were 400-plus pounds and it was just amazing to see that many blue marlin in one day so close to home. It seemed like we would catch one, head up sea for a bit, turn around, catch another one, head up sea and do it again,” says Knapp.
Knapp’s first mate, Phillip “Moonpie” Williams is only a few years older than he is, but the team has been working together for the same set of owners on the same boat for the last four and half years. “We’ve been very fortunate to have worked together all this time…it makes for a good atmosphere and we are a very family-oriented team,” says Knapp.
“The boat is owned by two brothers, Todd and Kyle Dickerson, and since one of them was a police officer, most of our fishing guests consist of fire fighters and police officers. We have a small group of about ten guys that rotate through, so that’s a good thing as well. It keeps things fairly consistent.”
Knapp says that keeping an upbeat attitude is important for any boat’s success, whether fishing in a tournament or just for fun. “I never want to come home from a day’s fishing and have someone onboard that’s mad or upset about something; that’s the exact opposite of what a day’s fishing is supposed to bring.”
“I would like to thank everyone along the way who made me into what I am today. It’s very gratifying to win this award at such a young age. It’s really what you do all this for…you want to try to be the best and the one to beat,” says Knapp. “When I get to be an old man, I want the guys to head out the grounds and find me already sitting there when they pull up. Then I want them to say, ‘Shit! We aren’t going to catch anything today… Ryan’s going to catch them all!’ Bull Tolsen was that guy for me.”
2019 Contender Florida Division Captain of the Year
Capt. Nick Carullo, Showtime, 1,250 Total Points
Final Sail, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Quest for the Crest Champion, 250 Pts.
Dust ‘Em Off Sailfish Warmup, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Like many of the South Florida tournament headliners, Captain Nick Carullo takes bait fishing and preparation nearly as seriously as he does catching sailfish. Leading a high powered team that cruises around on a boat powered by 1400 horsepower, Carullo details all that goes into creating a successful kite fishing campaign.
“A lot goes into bait catching and prep work. Quality bait can be the key to catching one or two more fish than your competition,” Carullo says. His preferred arsenal includes goggle eyes, threadfin herring and sardines. “We have our bait pins at the dock. We dip baits into and out of the pin one at a time. Generally, baits will be penned up anywhere from three to six weeks before the tournament. They are fed every day.”
When traveling to fish a tournament in Palm Beach or elsewhere, bait transport is a major undertaking. “For tournaments, we like to have about 150 white baits—threadfin and sardines—per day. For goggle eyes, we try to have about 70 per day. You always want to have more in case of die off. When we travel, we bring 400 herring, 200-300 sardines, and 200 gogs. The boat has three wells, but we bring two 100-gallon wells on deck that are removable. Each of these can hold 150 baits.”
“In the average year, we’ll spend more time bait fishing than fishing for sailfish,” Carullo says. This investment of time, resources and care for the bait has paid off in spades. “For your average tournament, we’ll generally fish the weekend before and the two days prior to the tournament. This allows us to scout the area and know what’s going on.”
How does Carullo’s time prefishing tournaments compare to his investment in bait fishing? “We generally spend between four and eight days bait fishing for each tournament. It’s a constant struggle to keep the bait perfect.”
Given the many moving parts and the sizable nature of the investment of time and resources that goes into keeping everything tournament ready, having a committed group is very important. The Showtime’s
tournament team consists of angler Joe Fernandez (owner), Frankie Villasante, Sarah Melia, and Doug Mientkiewicz. Manning the cockpit are James Clear, Kyle Sherman and Jorge Corzo. The team’s tournament line up is rounded out by Jason Spiewak on the camera.
While this is Nick’s first year at the helm of the Showtime, he has fished with the mates for a long time. “Great chemistry and knowing what everyone is doing in different situations, without having to talk about it is very important. The chemistry comes into play when we are setting up on a free jumper, switching from a kite to a flat line or resetting on a fish with the kites out,” Carullo explains.
His approach to catching sailfish with the kites is one that accounts for a variety of variables. “Covering the right depths with the kites, especially as it relates to the wind is important. You want to stagger your kites so that the baits will cover different depths. Some people will deploy their kites so that all their baits are on the same depth profile,” says Nick.
Nick’s south Florida roots runs deep. He grew up in Miami fishing with his father. After cutting his teeth on his father’s small boat snapper fishing, he began crewing for one of South Florida’s finest captains. “I worked for Capt. Ray Rosher for three years. It was right after high school and during college. I got my first captain’s job right after working for Ray, when I was 23.”
While Nick has been a consistent name among the leaderboards of the Quest for the Crest Series for the past few years, 2019 was his first year aboard the Showtime. “I’ve know the Joe (the owner of the Showtime) for ten years. Right before the 2019 season, the owner I was working for pulled out. I called Joe and asked him if he’d like to put a team together at the last minute. He said yes and it’s really worked out for us.”
When asked if there were any moments from the 2019 season that stand out, Nick is circumspect. “The last one… the Dust ‘Em Off Tournament was really special. It was that tournament that wound up winning us the Captain of the Year Award. We were in third place going into the last minute (of the last day) of the tournament. We needed a Hail Mary fish. We hooked the winning fish with 30 seconds left in the tournament,” Carullo recalls. “That fish won us the award.”
“It was a perfect reminder to always fish hard. You really never know how far your can go. If you just always fish hard, and your team is prepared, good things can happen.”
2019 Furuno Gulf Coast Division Captain of the Year
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 anytime 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, and 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 a tournament on the way over there and we caught six blues and white on the way over.
We stuck to that to that discipline of scouting, and 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 with his Dad and his friends on a company-owned 46-Hatteras. 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 of Fairhope, Alabama 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, so 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 captain’s job was on the 65-foot Placebo, which took him to the Turks and Caicos, Costa Rica, and the Panama. While he was in Panama, he started talking to his present owner, Jon Gonsoulin. After a year of talking, Buck jumped ship and came to work for him. Eleven years later and the team is still together.
“After a brief Central American tour, for the past six years we mostly stayed at home and fished the Gulf tournaments,” says Buck. “It’s been working out good pretty for us! I think Jon might have been ready to quit in 2017…he was at least thinking about it. But we won the World Cup and a number of others that year, winning something like $1.5 million or so. So, he was like, maybe we should keep doing this! 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. She’s also a crew member. 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 tail wrapped 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.
2019 International Division Captain of the Year
Capt. Jason Parker, Reel Steel, 1550 Total Points
Bermuda Billfish Blast, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Bermuda Big Game Classic, 2nd Place, 300 Pts.
Sea Horse Anglers Club Tournament, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Bermuda Triple Crown Champion, 250 Pts.
Everybody loves Bermuda. It’s just that Capt. Jason Parker on the 66-foot Hines Farley, Reel Steel, has a few more reasons to like it than most. After three straight years of fishing the Bermuda summer tournament season, and doing fairly well, the team exploded in 2019, taking two first place finishes and a second to take home the Bermuda Triple Crown Championship trophy. This impressive performance against some of our sport’s toughest competition earned Capt. Jason Parker the Top Captain of the Year in the Los Sueños International Division.
“We had a really good season,” says Parker. “I couldn’t be any happier. In Bermuda, we were just regular lure fishing. I’d like to say we were doing something different, but we just made the most of our opportunities and luck was on our side. We prefer to bait fish, we are primarily dead bait fishermen, light-tackle guys, but we can adapt to whatever. I used some of my friend’s experience and knowledge when I first came to Bermuda.
Since it was more of a lure fishing place, I relied on guys like Andy Moyes to help us a bit. But we know to lure fish and we went out there and lure fished and had three good seasons with this last year being the best of
it. I had a good crew – Drake Cooper – and a good angler, my owner, Mike Verzaleno. I wish I could say I’m the greatest and all that, but that’s just not the case. It was a really cool experience for us though, grinding it out every day and just doing what we know works.”
Parker started his sea-going career fishing out of Ocean City, Maryland. “I met Chris Bowie [the young mate who lost his life while wiring a blue marlin] and he kind of showed me the ropes, introduced me to the right people,” says Parker. “He also taught me how to act and carry yourself in this business. Work hard, keep a clean head, and do it because you love to do it.
That’s the number one thing…you really got to love it. Fishing is the reward for all the waxing and cleaning and being away from home. You’re not here to have a party every day.” Being away from home makes up a large part big game sportfishing these days and Parker says he owes a lot of his success to his wife. “I really owe a lot to my wife. She’s a very trusting person.
She takes care of everything at home which allows me to do my job to my best ability. We have been married now for almost 20 years, and we are a team. She gets the crappy end of the stick because she’ll be eating at home alone while we are all out at nice restaurant
somewhere. If I had to worry about paying the bills or worrying about her being happy every five minutes, I could not do what I do.”
Parker is also lucky in his working life…he says he’s never worked for someone that wasn’t a really nice guy. “I always believe that if you are a good person, then good things will come to you. I’ve been lucky to work with some really great owners,” says Parker. “Sean Healey, who owned the 84-foot Bayliss, Orion, was a dream of a guy who took us all down to fish in Costa Rica.
I also worked a season up in Massachusetts giant tuna fishing with Cookie Murray. I passed up a chance to fish in Venezuela to take that job, but I’d still do it again,” he says.
“Maybe they will open up Venezuela again someday.” Parker says his favorite place to fish is wherever they are biting, but he has a special affinity for Bermuda because “there’s a chance to see some really big ones!”
Parker also likes fishing around Ocean City and really likes Isla Mujeres, Mexico. “Isla’s a lot of fun for us…we are going back in mid-January for six weeks or so. I like a lot of other places too; my list is probably the
same as everybody else’s.”
Parker says he’s very reluctant to accept any accolades, but he’s grateful for the recognition. “I know that there a lot of really great captains and mates out there who don’t fish a lot of tournaments who deserve to be recognized as well,” he says.
Engineered for the angler who demands more, the 45EX Sportfish offers the legendary Hatteras experience in a versatile Express edition. Outfitted to be an imposing, yet nimble tournament-style force on the water, the 45EX offers outriggers, an arsenal of amenities and the choice of tower/bridge options. The vessel combines a spacious platform for entertainment, with many its many fishing attributes and functionalities.
- LOA: 44’7″
- Beam: 16’6″
- Draft (with Props): 4’0″
- Standard Engines (additional options available): Twin Cat C-12A Diesel Engines (715 MHP / 705 BHP each)
- Fuel Capacity: 800 gal
- Freshwater Capacity: 100 gal
- Weight Displacement: 49,700 lbs.
Captain Ann Johnston is something of a legend on the Texas sportfishing landscape. As Capt. Kerry Fritz puts it, “Everybody knows Ann.” In 1971, Johnston was just the second woman ever to be commissioned captain in the State of Texas. Since that time Ann has run charters out of Freeport, Texas and fished the Texas tournament scene for more than four decades. She fished Poco Bueno every year from 1972 to 2017 – an incredible streak of some 45 years.
While her dedication and love for fishing speak for themselves, were you to have guessed, she would have been one of the least likely people around to become a renowned saltwater captain. Growing up in the Texas panhandle outside of Amarillo, Johnston was raised driving wheat trucks and combines. “The first time I came to Houston it was with a friend who had breast cancer. She went to MD Anderson Medical Center. My husband and his friend decided they wanted to go fishing in the Gulf, so I came along. I grew up catching catfish in Lake Texoma,” Johnston recalls.
The experience made a lasting impact and soon Ann and her husband, Doug, moved to the Gulf Coast with their boat in tow. “The boat was 32’ long. I tell everybody that I fell in love with the boat and then I fell in love with him. On January 4th, we’ll be married 50 years,” Johnston relates. Upon moving to the Gulf coast, both Ann and her husband obtained their captain’s licenses. “Admiral Welty commissioned me. He must have been 90 years old at the time. I was sure he would faint and fall on me before we were through,” Johnston says with a laugh.
As a charter boat on the upper coast of Texas, much of Jonhston’s business was directed toward red snapper and king fish, with species like cobia (ling if you speak Texan), grouper and dolphinfish mixed in. In most years, she’d run three or four marlin trips. “We commercial snapper fished for a long time. We sold our permits about 15 years ago,” Johnston recalls. “When we started out there were no electronics or GPS like there are now – just the old Lowrance units you had to stick your head into. Boats used to follow us around because they thought we had the snappers numbers… and we did. We got our first snapper numbers from the shrimpers. We’d bring them out food and things and they’d tell us where the snags were.”
In describing her career, Captain Ann Johnston expresses the characteristic humility known to folks from west Texas. While she might not say it, her career leaves a legacy that influenced many on the Texas coast. Captain Kerry Fritz runs the Sea Dog, a 60-foot Hatteras, out of Galveston. He grew up in Freeport and has known Johnston for years. “Did she tell you about the time she was pulled over by a wahoo? She was fighting a big wahoo and the gaff man missed it and she was pulled over. She went down about 100-feet before she got out of the rod harness.”
“There are not too many lady captains as salty as her. Through the years, she’d run five or six days per week. One year at Poco, she had what could have been the winning marlin sharked at the boat. They brought in just the head,” Fritz says. Another year, Johnston finished fourth at Poco Bueno, weighing a whole fish on that occasion. More than just a great captain, Johnston is known for her generosity. “She’d help anybody… She has shown a lot of people the ropes.”
Captain Ann’s generosity and caring nature is reflected in her customer base as well. “The oldest customer I have has been fishing with me for 30 years. We have a lot of them who have fished with us for 15 years,” Johnston says. “Being a lady captain was tough at first. I’d have to keep the guests from jumping off the boat because they weren’t used to fishing with a lady captain. But once they fish with me, they stayed with me. I take really good care of my people. I can usually tell who’s going to get sick and who won’t when they get on the boat. If someone looks like they will get sick, I’ll bring them up on the bridge to sit with me. If someone does get sick, I’ll take them down and wash their face with cold water and let them sleep in the master bedroom. We also help our customers with their fishing technique.”
While any captain who spends more than four decades on the water has seen a prank or two, Johnston’s relationship to dock pranks is unique. “For the first few years, they were always pranking me! We’ve always had to park in the shed, so we’d have to raise and lower the outriggers to get in and out. They’d always tell me something was sticking up or a rope was hanging off, just to see if I’d get mad,” Johnston recalls of her early years on the helm. Even now, after boat deliveries to Mexico and fishing more than most will ever do, Johnston still gets a bit of skepticism about her being a lady boat captain. “The number one thing, every day, someone always says, ‘Let’s see how she does putting the boat in the slip.’”
As for a fishing story? When asked about her best day on the water, Captain Ann’s response is telling. “Every day is a good day as far as you get to fish.” This sentiment is one shared by Captain Ann’s family as well. “We are just a family that loves to fish.” In addition to Ann and her husband each holding captain’s licenses, their son and two of their grand daughters also hold their tickets. “My son runs a 110’ yacht between Florida and New York. He doesn’t fish as much as he used to, but he really loves it,” she says.
The latest iteration of Ann’s Dream is a 54-foot Hatteras. Ann ran the previous edition, a 46-foot Hatteras, for 32 years. She has caught her share of fish, but one trip stands out. “One time we had a two-day marlin charter. The guys didn’t show up with any food, so before we left the dock, I had to get groceries,” she recalls. Once offshore, Johnston and crew trolled around one of Texas’ most productive rigs.
“We were circling the buoys around Cerveza and hooked a 219-pound and a 515-pound blue marlin and caught them both in about an hour. The first one (the 219-pounder) was gut hooked so we brought it onboard. The second one, the guy hollered so much that we brought it in, too. I really didn’t want to, but he said he wanted to get it mounted. He sent the head off to Pflueger but he didn’t pay for it. That’s how I got stuck with a marlin!”
LINES ARE IN THE WATER FOR DAY 4!
61st Annual Big Rock Tournament- There’s a total of 184 boats entered and the 2019 overall purse is a record-breaking $2.86 million!
Good luck to all the participants! Check back to InTheBite for updates or follow the tournament live through Reel Time Apps.
Day 4, June 13- Updated as of 11:40a.m.
UPDATE: There is 1 boat fishing today, Paved For, tight lines guys!
Day 3, June 12
1 of 3 blue marlin releases ANNIE O has racked up so far this week- putting them 1st in the Release Division
Day 2, June 11th
DAY 1 , JUNE 10TH
The kick off to the Furuno Gulf Coast Division— the Orange Beach Billfish Classic— is officially underway. Check out InTheBite.com for updates…
Source: Gulf Coast Triple Crown Enews —
Grander Marine & Invincible Boats Present The 2019 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship
Celebrating its ninth season in 2019, the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship, The Most Sought After Championship in Sportfishing will feature a couple of important changes to the series, including new sponsors. Grander Marine and Invincible Boats are coming aboard as the new 2019 Presenting Sponsors. The pairing is a good synergy on several levels.
“I personally like to fish the Triple Crown tournaments and have been part of a team that was in contention previously,” says Grander Marine owner and angler Chris Bazor. “Our company sells new boats, brokerage boats and offers service, so sponsoring the series is a good way to help fellow contestants and promote our business. We’ll be competing aboard a 40 Invincible catamaran this season, so we figured why not? The owner of Invincible Boats is a passionate offshore angler too and the company builds some of the best quality mono-hull and catamarans in the sport-fishing industry, so it was a natural partnership.”
Grander Marine has a showroom and full service facility on Canal Road in Orange Beach, Alabama. Another satellite facility is scheduled to open later this summer. In addition to being the Gulf Coast dealer for Invincible Boats, Grander Marine also carries a full line of premium fishing and pleasure boats as part of its line-up. The Blue Marlin Grand Championship, the final leg of the five-tournament series, is held at The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach.
GCTC Director Scott Burt also commissioned a commemorative trophy that will be on permanent display at The Wharf Marina’s Outfitter’s Store. Created by marine metal artist Frank Ledbetter, the perpetual trophy will sit atop a rotating base and will feature all previous Triple Crown Champions. The team trophy, another stunning marlin sculpture crafted by Ledbetter, will be awarded annually to each champion.