By John Morton
If you love the sport of fishing, making a day of it is where it’s at.
“What we do is designed for people who are willing to fish all day,” said Rob Roberts, captain of the 40-foot Tightlines II boat that travels deep in the Gulf of Mexico off Siesta Key. “We go out at least 40 miles to catch the big stuff, in 165 to 180 feet of water. Because the Gulf here is so gradual in depth, you have to go out 30 miles before it’s even 100 feet deep. So, it’s a trip.”
Fear not, first-timers: The boat has an air-conditioned cabin, sleeping bunks, and a stand-up bathroom.
Better yet, Roberts is a captain with 37 years of offshore fishing experience. He operates the boat that iw owned by Chris Seger, who boasts more than 20 years of experience of his own.
“It’s a terrific boat,” said Roberts, a resident of the Phillippi Shores neighborhood. “and we know the Gulf. We’re the only deep-water charter that’s recommended by the captains at CB’s Outfitters.”
Comfy as the boat is, prepare to battle hard once you’re out in the deep.
“The battle is what most people want. It’s why they do this,” Roberts said.
With the calendar flipped to June, the fight is on as red snapper becomes open for harvesting (keeping) for 63 days.
“They are one of the hardest fighters, all the way up,” Roberts said. “They also try to run into holes and structures, so you must also be patient. If that’s the case, you need to let off the pressure until they swim back out. And then the battle is back on.”
As far as eating quality, Roberts said red snapper is “top of the line.”
“Buyers pay $25 a pound for it,” he said. “I can buy filet mignon for less.”
Other fish synonymous with Tightlines II trips beyond a variety of snapper are grouper, barracuda, and sharks. They mostly fall under the “sport-fishing” category, meaning catch-and-release is the rule of thumb.
But don’t worry, you can still come back with a trophy. Roberts said his outfit works with a taxidermist that creates spot-on Fiberglass replicas that match your catch and are ready for mounting.
“Fortunately, you don’t have to kill what you caught in order to get credit for reeling in a great fish,” he said. “And someone else gets a chance for that same fish.”
Among the gameplans out in the Gulf are bottom fishing assorted wrecks, fishing deep springs, and simply trolling the endless blue water.
Tightlines II features a 14-foot beam, allowing for six anglers. Trip lengths range from four hours to customized multi-day adventures.
Corporate events are also offered.
The outfit’s website is found at tightlinessportfishing.com. It declares that Roberts and his crew promise you’ll leave “with sore arms and a smile.”