By Bill Platt
Yamaha Pro Staff
Spring is the time of the year in Texas when I start making the long runs offshore to fish for snapper, grouper, golden tilefish and even swordfish. I’ll start my day chasing kings, but then push offshore and target the bottom fish in deep water. On an average day, I’m running around 200 miles round trip, and that’s where I really get a lot of return from my 300 h.p. Yamaha 4.2 Liter Big Bore V6 four stroke outboards. 70 to 90 miles out, there are two things you really want from your outboard engines: reliability and fuel economy. I get both from the triple 300’s on my 36’ Invincible.
Reliability is a big deal because it leads to comfort. If I’m comfortable that I will get where I’m going quickly and efficiently, and home safely, then I can concentrate on fishing. I can’t tell you how many boats I’ve seen towed in from way offshore or have to limp in because one of their engines goes out, but I know my engines are going to get me home safely every time, so I have the confidence to make long runs, and if I hear the fish are even further out, I’m not afraid to make an adjustment and run even further.
One of the places I’ve been fishing near is called the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, which is 110 miles offshore of Galveston, Texas. Most of the time I’m running 78 to 94 miles to fish the patches of coral reef near that area and inshore of it that are just covered up with grouper. I’ve caught grouper the past week up to 125 pounds, including a 70-pounder that had two spiny lobsters in its stomach, which is something we don’t see here in Texas.
Having the ability to make long runs really optimizes the opportunities for me to tie my clients into the big fish. I fished a kingfish event in South Carolina once where I ran to Cape Canaveral, Florida because I knew the big kings were there. That was 220 miles one way. But I knew I would get there, catch my fish and be back at the weigh-in safely. And we were. So I can’t stress the importance of reliability in your outboards.
Out of my home port in Texas, I’ve been making these long runs to fish the area around the Flower Gardens Bank National Marine Sanctuary for a while now, so I have a good idea what I typically burn during a day on the water. What I’m finding with my 300 h.p. Yamaha 4.2 Liter Big Bore V6 four stroke outboards is that I’m burning about 70 gallons less per trip, which is a lot of gas.
At $4.00 plus per gallon of gas, I’m saving around $300 per trip. When you’re charter fishing, being able to put $300 extra into your pocket every day really adds up. I’m going to guess that I make that run 30 or 40 times a year just charter fishing, so you can see how much that adds up to. Over the course of time, that would probably pay for my motors.
I run the Yamaha standard SDS (Shift Damperner System) props on my 36 Invincible and I’m getting around 68 mph with five guys in the boat, all our tackle and full of fuel. I don’t run that all the time, but I can cruise at 55 mph and still have incredible fuel economy.
This year I’m really looking forward to the opening of red snapper season in June in the Gulf of Mexico. The snapper fishing has been insane lately, with a ton of big fish. There’s more 20-pound snapper around than anyone can ever remember.
I’m not fishing them because the season is closed, but if I get anywhere near a location that has red snapper on it when grouper fishing they’re all over below the boat. I can see them stacked off the bottom on my sonar.
So it’s going to be a great year of bottom fishing in Texas, and as we get closer to fall, we’ll start seeing the wahoo come in. And because I have confidence in the reliability of my Yamaha outboards, I’ll be making that long run to the fish every chance I get.