Anastasia: A Charter Boat Worthy of the Name.
Chartering a fishing trip out into the Gulf (The Gulf of Mexico) can sometimes be a roll of the dice. I’ve been on several such trips over the years, none terrible, but none created equal. I’ve been with Captain Anderson out of Panama City. It was a fun and productive trip, many years ago. We caught a lot of fish. I’ve been on several other charters. Another was out of Gulf Shores, Alabama, and there was one out of Port Saint Jo, Florida. We (my wife and I) have never had a “bad” trip, I think because most Captains have the intrinsic desire to please their customers. Not only is it human nature, but their reputations depend on them finding and catching fish.
There is one boat, however, that has always exceeded my expectations. Three times I’ve been on charter fishing trips on this one boat out of Destin. Known as the “luckiest fishing village in Florida,” Destin is the one town closest to that trench out there in the Gulf where the Gulf Stream flows—closest to the deep waters where the big fish lurk. For that reason, despite the crowds of tourists, the traffic and the high-rises, I will always go back. I may stay only long enough to enjoy my fishing trip before motoring on down to quieter beaches, but I will stop and visit old friends.
We went again last week, staying in the quieter digs on 30-A at Grayton Beach. It was nearly an hour drive back up to Destin, but a drive well-worth the effort. My wife, my son and his new wife, and I had chartered a fishing trip out of Destin on the Anastasia. The first time I went out on the Anastasia was in the 1970’s with Captain William Frank Davis. Bill Davis is retired now, in his late eighties, and living out in the country north of Destin in Florala, Alabama. It was with him that I scheduled this trip, but the boat is now captained by his son Tony.
Tony was the deck hand the first time I went out on the Anastasia. I remember a tanned kid with a good work ethic who helped keep our lines baited. I was fresh out of the military, somewhat jaded and cynical with life in general, but impressed with this kid (yes, he was only three years younger, but I’d been through hell, and to me, he was a kid) who worked hard for his dad.
We caught huge amber-jacks, fat red-snapper, mackerel and enough fish that we were exhausted that day back in the seventies. I never forgot it. Ten years later I made another trip with friends on the same boat. It was a business trip, and I frankly don’t remember if Bill or his son, Tony, captained the boat. We caught more fish than anyone wanted that day as well.
Here’s a BIG tip: If you want to catch good fish on your deep-sea fishing trip, make it a minimum of eight hours. Ten hours is better. Less than eight, and you won’t make it out to the deep water where the big ones lurk.
Tony (Captain Davis) took us out on the Anastasia. We left dock at 6:00 a.m., went out and caught our bait fish, then motored on for another hour or two to the deep water. Keep in mind that red snapper and amber-jack seasons are closed after Labor Day, so we had to release several huge fish. We threw back several 35-40 pound jacks as well as several 10-15 pound red snapper. Tony, however, is a master at his craft, and after several starts and stops, he put us on fish we could keep.
With two outstanding deck hands, Richard and Ernie, we were never more than a few minutes without a fish on. Coaching us land lubbers on how to handle our rods and not to lose fish, Richard Moore and his partner Ernie helped us land all the big fish we could stand to catch in one day. Despite extremely strong currents that made it difficult to keep the boat over the fish, Captain Davis and his crew made it a day worth remembering.
Second BIG tip: Schedule your trip with a crew that owns a proven reputation. Check them out at http://www.anastasiacharterboat.com/
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I am working on my fourth Vietnam War era novel. Look for it sometime next summer. And if you’ve read any of my books and not written a review on Amazon for me, please do. Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/2csbyaq . Remember, reviews tell other readers if a book is worthwhile, and the more reviews, the more readers are likely to purchase my books. And if military fiction isn’t your thing, check out my newest novel, Tallahatchie. It is the first in my new Southern Fiction Series, about life in the modern South.