BOAT AND EQUIP­MENT

Sport Fishing - - BOATS -

With eight peo­ple on this trip, we took two boats, giv­ing each crew plenty of el­bow­room. It also al­lowed us to shoot photos and video back and forth, and pro­vided a safety el­e­ment. All told, the boats cov­ered more than 360 miles with­out a glitch or hic­cup from ei­ther. If you want to plan a sim­i­lar trip, make sure you have a sea­wor­thy craft with mul­ti­ple en­gines and suf­fi­cient fuel ca­pac­ity to cover the dis­tance to the off­shore rip lines (which can be as far as 150 miles from Or­ange Beach) and then in to Port Eads, where you can re­fuel for the sec­ond day (see charts be­low to get an idea of fuel re­quire­ments). If your boat does not carry ad­e­quate fuel, con­sider an aux­il­iary fuel blad­der from a com­pany such as ATL. You will also need to carry plenty of ice to main­tain cold stor­age for drinks, per­ish­able food, frozen bal­ly­hoo and the fish you catch. On this trip, each morn­ing be­fore de­par­ture, all fish lock­ers and cool­ers were loaded to the brim with ice. The Reg­u­la­tor 26 Clas­sic car­ried 200 pounds of ice, and the 31 swal­lowed 320 pounds. Also, plan to stock plenty of food and liq­uids to keep your crew nour­ished and hy­drated for the num­ber of days you plan to fish. Check the ma­rine weather fore­cast to en­sure your boat can han­dle the pre­dicted wind and waves, and don’t hes­i­tate to post­pone if con­di­tions look dicey. In fact, our trip needed to be can­celed once be­cause of poor weather. It’s a good idea to fill out a float plan and give it to a trusted fam­ily mem­ber or friend. A chart plot­ter, sonar, radar and VHF ra­dio prove es­sen­tial on such a trip. Other safety gear to con­sider: Hand­held VHF ra­dio EPIRB and PLBs In­flat­able emer­gency life raft Satel­lite phone

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