50 Top Charter Captains

Our list of great saltwater charter professionals
Choosing 50 top captains from among the thousands of excellent saltwater charter professionals who ply their trade throughout the world every day is difficult. So how did we come up with criteria for choosing? Several qualities resonated with our panel, things like longevity in the business. You’ll see many on this list who’ve remained at the top of the game for many years, in terms of competitive success in tournaments and everyday charter success. Diversity helps too: those who have demonstrated talent for catching different species in different circumstances, who show the ability to adapt as conditions dictate. A commitment to conservation also was key. Many of our captains figured out long ago that without wise management, our sport goes away. And finally, showmanship has a part. If you’re not entertained on a charter, you likely won’t come back. That’s how we chose our Top 50 Charter Captains, and we hope you enjoy the list. Please note the captains are listed alphabetically: No. 1 is not “better” than No. 50. They are all great in our estimation!

Alex Adler

Islamorada, Florida Captain Alex Adler has been charter fishing as an owner-operator aboard the Kalex out of Islamorada’s Bud N’ Mary’s Marina since 1976. Before that he fished at Bahia Pez Vela Lodge in Costa Rica right out of high school and rapidly became known as an innovator in saltwater fishing. In the Keys he learned from some of the best, including legendary Captains like Allan Starr, Don Gurgulio, Sarge Warner, Cecil Keith and Jimmy Albright, and his father, Harold Adler, was also a major mentor. Adler soon began an impressive series of tournament wins which continues to this day, winning the 1981 Bimini Blue marlin Tournament, and twice winning the Cat Cay Tuna Tournament. Locally, he has won countless Keys sailfish tournaments, including the Florida Keys Triple Crown Series and the Florida Keys Gold Cup events, yet he is also an expert at all aspects of Keys fishing, including dolphin and reef fishing. Adler is one captain who can do it all. “A lot of people helped me along the way,” Adler said, “especially my dad, as well as Richard Stanczyk, Stu Apte and Flip Pallot, who taught me to fly fish for billfish, and Johnny Morris, who has led me on many world-wide adventures.” 305-852-5084

Al Anderson

Point Judith, Rhode Island Captain Al Anderson has been a USCG Licensed charter skipper since 1967 and presently owns and operates the 42-foot sportfisherman Prowlerout of Point Judith. He was recently honored by the IGFA with induction into their World Fishing Hall of Fame for both his book authoring and unprecedented career of tagging over 60,000 game fish for science. He credits this accomplishment to bevies of charter clients who supported his “conservation for science” ethic. A Rhode Island IGFA rep since 1989, he’s the first New England charter skipper ever to be so honored.

Carter Andrews

Teton Village, Wyoming For Captain Carter Andrews fishing is more than a way of life; it’s an obsession. It began on the Tennessee farm ponds of his boyhood, and big dreams of bigger fish. From there the rise was meteoric: 40 years later, with a legend’s status in the fisheries of the Mountain West and Bahamas, Andrews finds himself at the center of the greatest big game fishing in the world. As fishing manager at Islas Secas, Panama, he spends the bulk of his year introducing anglers to record-class inshore and offshore species, with plenty of time reserved in the off-season for travel. Multi-species, multi-tackle, fresh water or salt water, Andrews spends over 250 days a year on the water. His goal is to provide clients with the very best fishing experience possible.

David Bacon

Santa Barbara, California “As a kid I grew up with a fishing pole in one hand, a BB gun in the other and an ongoing curiosity to see with which I could propel a projectile the farthest. Now I own/operate a 6-pack charter boat, a fishing tackle shop and a gun shop. I really haven’t changed much. I love teaching people to fish and sharing adventures aboard my charterboat, WaveWalker. The Santa Barbara coast and the Channel Islands provide a fabulous and varied fishery to explore. I invite fellow adventurers to share a day with me.I write features and columns for Pacific Coast Sportfishing magazine, Western Outdoor News and_ Noozhawk_ online news service. I put on fishing seminars and fishing club talks. I represent recreational anglers on the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. I serve as Executive Director of SOFTIN, Inc., a nonprofit which provides at-sea educational adventures for special-needs people.”

Aubrey Black

Riviera, Texas Captain Aubrey Black is an avid fisherman and hunter born and raised in rugged west Texas. In 2003 he obtained his USCG license and became a fulltime fishing guide on his newfound home waters of Baffin Bay and based his operation in Loyola Beach, Texas. Through hard work and time spent on the water, he soon became well known in fishing circles as one of the best ”big trout” guides on the Texas coast. He’s always searching for innovative ways to disperse his knowledge and passion for the sport he loves so much. That is a definite plus for any clients seeking his services. And each of you is encouraged to become a student of the game.

Andrew Bostick

Marco Island, Florida Captain Andrew Bostick charters in the Everglades. He fishes for snook, tarpon and redfish via light tackle or fly-fishing. He spends over 300 days a year on either his Skeeter bay boat or his Maverick flats skiff. With 20-plus years of guiding experience he has captured the Redfish Cup Tour championship along with winning “Team of the Year” three times. Bostick possesses exceptional adaptability and a remarkable skill-set as a world class angler, having fished in the most remote corners of the globe.

Theophile Bourgeois

New Orleans, Louisiana “I was born in New Orleans and now reside in Lafitte, Louisiana. I have been fishing professionally for 18 years, specializing in spin fishing and fly fishing. I own two fishing lodges here down on the bayou. Besides being a fishing guide I’m also a sea plane pilot offering guided fishing trips to the Chandeluer Islands. At Bourgeois Charters we have the pleasure of fishing over 5,000 people a year, giving joy to people from all over the world.”

Skip Bradeen

Islamorada, Florida “Wow! What an honor this is to me! In 2014 I will be in the charter boat business for 50 years — in the same marina and same slip in Islamorada, Florida. My mate has been with me this year for 30 years; he’s known as Wayne-O. My love for what I do and my dedication to my job and my clients is second to none, but most of all I love donating my time off the boat to helping people in my community in whatever way I can. Thank you for this great award and in closing, I always say, ‘God Bless America.'”

Alan Card

Hamilton, Bermuda “I started my fishing career working as the captain on a friend’s boat, until my brother Andrew and I bought the Challenger, a 45-foot Carolina boat. After chartering for 17 years Andrew decided to commercial fish, and I continued to run the charter boat. I’ve had three great mates, but my son, Ian, who has worked with me for almost 20 years, by far, tops that list. In 2000 we bought a 40-foot Gamefisherman and it serves us well. I caught the first grander in Bermuda waters in 1983, and have captured six more over the years. I’m honoured to be included in this prestigious list.”

Bubba Carter

Los Suenos, Costa Rica “I first went offshore with my dad when I was six. I was 13 when I started working for my dad and the summers when I was out of school at 15 I went to work for the legendary Buddy Hester in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Two days after my 18th birthday I got my captains license. At 22 I bought a 36-foot Rybovich and started fishing Florida, the Carolinas and the Bahamas. I just kept going farther south. I fished four seasons out of Hilton Head Island, three seasons out of Oregon Inlet, North Carolina; seven seasons out of Singer Island, West Palm Beach; three seasons in the Bahamas; two in Isla Mujeres, Mexico; 11 seasons in St. Thomas with nine seasons at Caraballeda, Venezuela; 13 seasons in Costa Rica, three in Panama, one in Magdalena Bay, one in Cabo San Lucas and two in Australia. I’ve got over 19,000 billfish, with 11 over 1,000 pounds. My big fish is 1,234 pounds. With six world records on fly it’s starting to sound like I’m blowing my own horn or that I’m retiring. I’m not. I’m still going strong and in Los Sueños, Costa Rica and would love to take you fishing in these target rich waters.”

Frank Crescitelli

Staten Island, New York Capt. Frank Crescitelli has been fishing New York Harbor and New Jersey for over 35 years, and guiding for the last 15 years. Owner of Fin Chaser Charters, the area’s original full time fly and light tackle guiding business. Franks passion for fishing is only matched by his dedication to protecting the resource, and is Chairman and Founder of The Fishermen’s Conservation Association (FCA). Raymarine Pro Ambassador and Mercury Marine Pro Staffer as well as Orvis Endorsed Fly-fishing Guide. In 2008 he coupled his product knowledge and marketing talents into his own tackle company, Guides Choice, maker of Guides Secret Professional Grade Fishing Gear. As one of his clients stated: “The only bad thing about Frank guiding you is that you don’t know who’s having more fun, you or him, but you’re paying!”

Donnie Davi

Moss Landing, California Captain Donnie Davi runs the Kahuna out of Kahuna Sportfishing, Moss Landing, just north of Monterey, where he grew up fishing Monterey Bay. His love of fishing led him to work as a deckhand on both charter and commercial boats before gaining his captain’s license, a path he always knew he would follow. Whether he’s after salmon, rockfish, white sea bass or albacore, his enthusiasm and passion for the sport continues, as well as his enjoyment in putting a first-timer on their first fish, as well as helping a seasoned angler experience an epic day on the water.

Fuzzy Davis

Hilton Head, South Carolina Captain Fuzzy Davis began his fishing career on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, in 1977 after graduating from Ohio State with a degree in fisheries management. Davis pioneered the area’s inshore fishing for tarpon, cobia and redfish guiding clients to the state’s first tarpon on fly and breaking the tarpon record. Davis also is the Outdoor Pursuits Director for The Ford Plantation in Georgia and hosts a daily radio fishing forecast. He created the “Fish with Friends” event for special needs children and adults and lives on Hilton Head Island with his family. His son, Drew, is also a local fishing guide and attends Auburn University studying Natural Resource Management.

Mark DeBlasio

Point Pleasant, New Jersey Captain Mark DeBlasio’s passion for offshore fishing began nearly 40 years ago and to this day remains strong. As captain of the Canyon Runner for the past 10 years, Mark has proven himself a consistent producer and contributor to the fishing community. Over the years, Mark has learned from some truly great fishermen, never forgetting the lessons learned along the way. His passion for offshore fishing is evident in his catches and ability to make customers feel at ease. Whether chasing giant bluefins in New England, bigeye tuna in the Mid Atlantic canyons or swordfish in Florida, Mark’s performance speaks for itself.

Bob DeCosta

Nantucket, Massachusetts Growing up on Nantucket fishing has always been part of Captain Bob DeCosta’s life; he started working as a mate for his dad Ray on the Albacore when he was nine years old. By the time he was 18 he had obtained a Coast Guard captain’s license and become an expert at fishing Nantucket’s unique sets of shoals and rips. Fishing from Nantucket to the Bahamas, Bob quickly received recognition as one of the island’s top captains. In 1998 DeCosta purchased the present Albacore, a 35 Duffy custom built to his specifications. Now, he specializes in light tackle striper fishing and bluefin tuna fishing. Some of his accomplishments include becoming member of the 1000-pounder club with several bluefin’s over 1,000 pounds, captaining the boat that caught the first blue marlin in Nantucket Anglers Club history and winning the Boston Big Game Club Monster Shark Tournament in 2007 on Martha’s Vineyard, the largest shark tournament on the east coast.

Ralph Delph

Key West, Florida Captain Ralph Delph boasts an angling and guiding resume that few can approach. In 1967 he won the prestigious Master Angler award in the Metropolitan South Florida Fishing Tournament (MET) and two years later, did it again—the first angler ever to do so.
In 1973 he left his job as a structural engineer and began guiding in Key West, where he was Outstanding Guide in the MET for 20 consecutive years. He was the first captain to guide more than 100 of his clients to IGFA world record catches. He currently has a lifetime tally of 291 records. At wreck, reef, bluewater, flats and inshore fishing he is a master. He developed tackle and techniques for fighting giant bluefin tuna on stand up gear and has worked with tackle, boat and motor manufacturers on developments that are today taken for granted in sportfishing. He is still pursuing record fish for his clients, with his sons, Capt. Rob Delph and Capt. Billy Delph continuing to advance the sport and share his expertise.

Allen “Mako” DeSilva

Hamilton, Bermuda Captain Allen Eugene DeSilva started fishing in Bermuda with his father. In 1976 he started Mako Charters at the age of 21 with the 23-foot Mako. Over the years there have been six Makos, the present one a custom built 56-foot Sunny Briggs, built in 2001.
In 1995, Captain Allen’s Mako 4 caught the present day Bermuda record blue marlin weighing in at 1,352 pounds, the second largest Atlantic blue marlin ever caught. Capt. DeSilva and the Mako team have caught many big marlin including five over a thousand pounds; all of which have been released whenever possible.
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Paul Dixon

East Hampton, New York Captain Paul Dixon began fishing when he was three years old in and around Newport Beach, California, where he grew up. He began fly fishing in 1971 for trout in Idaho, where he got a summer job guiding. In the early ‘80s, he moved to the East Coast, spending five years working at Orvis in New York City. He opened his own store, Dixon’s Sporting Life, in East Hampton on Long Island. He is recognized as one of the early pioneers in sight fishing for striped bass in the Northeast. Paul now divides his time guiding between Montauk, New York, and the Florida Keys. His passion is sight fishing for any species, including stripers, bonefish, permit, and especially tarpon. Paul has fished all over the world, including the Seychelles, Belize, Wales, the Bahamas, Mexico, and Venezuela.

Rob Fordyce

Homestead, Florida Captain Rob Fordyce has been a professional guide for over 26 years. He guides anglers inshore and offshore, from bass to swordfish and everything in between. He grew up fishing in South Florida and the Everglades. He won the MET Master Angler award while still in high school without using a guide, the youngest person in history to ever do so. Widely regarded as one of the best fly tarpon guides in the Florida Keys, he has won or placed among the top three finishers in more than 40 premier fly tarpon tournaments. He guides an average of 285 days per year in a normal season as well as appears on many saltwater fishing shows. Fordyce is currently filming a new show for 2014 called “Voo-Doo Daddy” which he will host. He also is a consultant for Hells Bay Boatworks,Sea Vee, Fuji, TFO, Yeti, and Cortland.

Mike Frenette

Venice, Louisiana Captain Mike Frenette has been a guide for over 30 years. He has pioneered trolling and chumming techniques for yellowfin tuna and wahoo, conventional tackle and fly, off the Louisiana Delta. Although he feels this is the ultimate for any angler, his favorite fish to pursue is redfish, sight casting on light tackle. Frenette has fished pro redfish tournaments for over 15 years, and he can be found daily entertaining his clients out of his Redfish Lodge of Louisiana where his wife and two sons help in providing a memorable experience for all anglers. Educating young and even older anglers on the sport, Frenette is a frequent guest on many television shows as well as on saltwater tackle tips on You Tube.

Barry Gibson

East Boothbay, Maine Captain Barry Gibson has been charter fishing and guiding out of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, since 1971, when he bought his first passenger boat, the Sasanoa. Since then he has owned a succession of boats all named Shark, a tribute to Joe Russell, a Key West charter captain who guided Ernest Hemingway (and whose boat was named Shark) that Barry fished with in 1967. Along with chartering, Gibson spent 27 years with Salt Water Sportsman magazine, 22 of those as Editor (1982-2004). A long-time proponent of responsible fishery management, he has served on numerous state, federal, and international boards, including the New England Fishery Management Council (three 3-year terms, Chairman 1992), and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Advisory Committee. He currently serves as Chairman of the NEFMC Recreational Advisory Panel, as vice-president of the Northeast Charterboat Captains Association (which he co-founded in 1988), as a member of the Boothbay Port Committee, and serves as the New England Regional Director for the Recreational Fishing Alliance. He has appeared as Guest Pro on numerous TV fishing shows including “George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing,” and has been the New England co-host for the_ SWS_ National Seminar Series for many years. _ _ _

Bink Grimes

Bay City, Texas Bink Grimes owns Sunrise Lodge on Matagorda Bay (, a full-service lodge offering light tackle charters for speckled trout and redfish year ’round, and shotgunning for waterfowl and dove in the fall and winter. Grimes doubles as freelance writer, photographer and author with credits in SWS and other national and regional publications. His first book,”Wadefish Texas,” published by Texas Fish and Game in 2004, chronicles how, when and where to find saline species on foot. His latest book, Sunrise Sunset, Devotionals for the Sportsman and Outdoor Enthusiast, is a practical application of God’s principles shown through the eyes of a sportsman. Grimes especially loves catching and releasing the many large, beautiful, speckled trout that roam East Matagorda Bay.

Ron Hamlin

Jensen Beach, Florida “I quit high school in 1959 to go to work on the charter boat, Lucky Penny for Capt. Kenny Lyman. I learned more from him about fishing, knots, and drags than any captain I worked for over the next 11 years. In 1971 I got my first captain’s job for Mr. Jerry Boss on a 36-foot Rybovich. I was in the big time! In ’71 we won the first Walkers Cay Tournament. The next three years I got to fish Cozumel, Mexico, St. Thomas and Australia — where I caught my first grander in ’72 as an angler. In ’73 I went to work for Joe Lopez on a 37 Merritt. Life was too good! And the fishing I saw was unbelievable. I had a great crew — Wink Dorsbacher and Frank Branch — and we continued to travel with Joe going all the way to Venezuela in that little boat on its own bottom and no GPS. After leaving Joe I went to work for Bill Reed who also let me charter and travel on his 43 Merritt to all the best places. The next 10 years I went downhill because of drugs. I mention this only to let the young guys know what happened to me. In ’94 I hit rock bottom and my good fiend Tim Choate saw something he thought worth saving and put me in rehab. After 91 days of rehab it had sunk in that that I wasn’t as strong as the drugs. Well, Tim sent me to Guatemala where I was able to get back my self-respect and my reputation, only because the unbelievable billfishing gave me another opportunity to get my life back. The next 18 years in Guatemala was the greatest fishing I had ever seen. To the young guys coming up: Drinking and drugs have taken a lot of us down. But don’t give up, you can come back.”

Brandon Hayward

San Clemente, California Childhood memories of fishing the Florida backcountry along with a resurgence of white seabass along the California coast led Brandon Hayward to launch, a guiding service focusing night trips for 40- to 60-plus-pound white seabass in San Diego and Orange counties. After amassing a 72-percent success rate on white seabass — a notoriously difficult-to-find member of the croaker family — for clients in 2012, Hayward bought a 23-foot Parker and now takes up to three anglers for their bucket-list white seabass, big yellowtail and halibut. The author of three books, this early-30-something is one of a handful of SoCal guides.

Steve Huff

Everglades City, Florida In a sport where the experts are likely to be scanty in their praise of anyone’s prowess, Captain Steve Huff occupies a singular status: among the best and most famous light tackle anglers on the planet, he is universally acknowledged as, quite simply, the best. Born and raised in Miami, Huff fished the waters of the city as a boy, then in 1968 after graduating from the University of Miami in marine biology, he moved to the Keys and began guiding. In the mid ‘80s, he moved to Everglades City near Chokoloskee in the heart of the Ten Thousand Islands. He specializes in shallow-water sight-fishing for tarpon, bonefish, permit, and snook. He has guided his clients to countless world-record fish, and he is the first fishing guide to be inducted in to the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame.

Peace Marvel

Venice, Louisiana Legend has it that Captain Peace Marvel was conceived when his mother had a dream that she was pierced in the side by the bill of a snow white swordfish. He has been guiding out of Venice, Louisana for nearly 17 years and developed many of the techniques currently used to catch tuna in the northern Gulf of Mexico. In 2004 he started the recreational swordfishery out of Venice and has gone on to catch more swordfish than any other captain in the northern Gulf. “After all these years I am still excited to go fishing everyday,” he says. “I feel very blessed to be able to take people fishing for a living.”

Billy Maxwell

Manteo, North Carolina Captain Billy Maxwell got his start fishing the Virginia Beach piers with his grandpa. Taking his first party offshore he was jumped by white marlin and got dumped by all six. It was all uphill from there and his career, which started at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, is over 20 years strong at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. Maxwell made his name through Oregon Inlet’s famed yellowfin fishery. His philosophy of running an entertainment business keeps parties coming back. Maxwell runs the Tuna Fever daily and will be happy to recommend a good marlin boat!

Anthony Mendillo Jr.

Isla Mujeres, Mexico Captain Anthony Mendillo Jr. grew up in Rhode Island fishing New England with his father. Since day one of fishing, it was easily seen that “enough was never enough” and he had a true love for the sport in every aspect: lure making, jig tying, and rod building, to this day, taking part in building his own charter boats. His first trip to Isla Mujeres Mexico was in 1989 with Capt. Wink Doerzenbacher aboard the SHERIA III. Anthony stayed with the SHERIA until 1996. In ’96 he took on the challenge of building his first charter boat and running his own charter company, KEEN M International, out of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Anthony has been branded as one of the founders of the modern Isla Mujeres wintertime fisheries. KEEN M is also very active in satellite tagging and conservation of species in their area. Anthony owns three charter boats, KEEN M, LILLY M, and the ANDREA M. The charter company KEEN M International is considered to be one of the best in the area.

Bobby McGuinness

Golfito, Costa Rica Captain Bobby McGuinness and the Cazador are synonymous with fishing in Costa Rica. Over more than 30 years of fishing out of Quepos, Flamingo and Golfito, where he is currently based, he has guided his anglers to more than 200 world record catches — a national record in itself. In 2009 in just two days of fishing his anglers posted 16 IGFA records. He is one of the few captains named by the IGFA as an Ambassador Captain.

Andy Mezirow

Seward, Alaska Captain Andy Mezirow decided to come ashore after a long career as a merchant mariner and distant-water commercial fisherman. In 1995 he began Crackerjack Sport Fishing in Seward, Alaska. He guided clients to over two dozen light tackle world records. He currently serves as the charter representative on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council Advisory Panel. In the off-season you will find Andy teaching at the State of Alaska Maritime Training Center or fishing in Kona from his boat Pa’ Akai, which means “sea salt” in Hawaiian

Robert Mirante

Westport, Washington “My name is Robert Mirante. I’m from Westport, Washington. After deckhanding on my father’s boat, I earned my captain’s license in 2007 at the age of 19. I currently own and operate the charter vessel Starfire out of Westport, and this is my sixth year on the boat. I truly enjoy the challenge that every day brings, meeting new people, and focusing 100 percent of my efforts on making sure my clients experience the true joy of catching the many kinds of fish we have to offer in the state of Washington, from black rockfish, ling cod and halibut to salmon and albacore tuna. The satisfaction of my clients is what’s most important to me above all.” (866) 202-0148, (360) 268-8158

Rick Murphy

Homestead, Florida Captain Rick Murphy earned his reputation in the waters of Biscayne Bay, Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys by leading his clients to worldclass catches and numerous prestigious tournament victories. He is one of only two fishing guides to win the four-event Keys Tarpon Fly Fishing series (The Golden Fly, The Don Hawley, The Gold Cup and The Ladies World Fly Championship). As a tournament angler, Murphy has won Angler of the Year in the IFA Redfish Tour (2004 & 2008) and is the only professional redfish angler to win three Redfish Titles in a 12 month period. Murphy has crossed saltwater boundaries in the tournament genre to win events and “Angler of the Year” Honors in the ESPN, FLW and IFA Redfish Tours, as well as on the South Florida Sailfish circuit. According to the International Game Fish Association, Murphy is the only angler to win saltwater championships, both in- and off-shore, in every category (bonefish, redfish, sailfish, tarpon and permit). (305) 242-0069

Tom Ohaus

Sitka, Alaska Captain Tom Ohaus began fishing small ponds in suburban New Jersey just after he began walking. Since then he has been absent without leave from the “real world” fishing extensively in the Atlantic and Pacific from the tropics to Alaska. He has run guided trips on the North Pacific for 26 years, logging over 2,500 days in pursuit of salmon and halibut. He is the founder of Angling Unlimited, a highly rated fishing lodge in Sitka, Alaska. Ohaus has a B.S. in Fisheries Biology from the University of Washington. For nearly 15 years he wrote columns for Sea Magazine, Northwest Yachting, Offshore Magazine, Salt Water Sportsman, and Pacific Fishing.

Troy Perez

Mims, Florida A native of Merritt Island, Florida, Captain Troy Perez started fishing at 8 years old when his dad taking him fishing. He’s been guiding for trout, kingfish, inshore and offshore. for 28 years. “My job is to make sure people catch fish,” he says. “Sometimes they are good, most of my clients have been with me for a long time, but I also take people fishing who have never picked up a rod. From experts to beginners, they all catch fish.” Perez is no stranger to world record quests, but seldom pursues them these days. But he still holds the first record he ever earned, a jack crevalle on 8-pound fly tippet. “I fish redfish all the time,” he says. “I also fish nearshore: tripletail cobia, tarpon — when they show up — but it’s hard to get out at other species because everybody wants a Mosquito Lagoon redfish.” Perez credits his skill and learning to the local Florida Sport Fishing Association. He now guides about 200 days a year. “But I’m out there even when I’m not guiding,” he says.

Brad Philipps

Iztapa, Guatemala Brad Philipps has circled the world and released more than 25,000 billfish. Brad and his wife Cindy have owned and operated Guatemalan Billfishing Adventures together with Steve Cothron of Austin, Texas, who owns their 40-foot Gamefisherman Decisive. Their exclusive lodge is located on a private channel within a luxury community and caters to a discerning clientele and families who enjoy the private surroundings, special service and fine dining and attention to detail for which their operation is known. Philipps has won The Billfish Foundation’s Top Overall Release Captain Award for 11 years in a row and also Top Pacific Sailfish Release Captain for the same time frame and Top Release Captain for Pacific Blue Marlin for three of the past six years. Top days for Philipps include as many as 91 sailfish released in a single day on conventional tackle, 73 releases for a single angler in one day on conventional tackle, 51 releases for a single angler in one day on fly tackle, and as many as 2,759 billfish releases in a single year, with six blue marlin in a single day and 97 blue marlin releases in a single year on Decisive.

James Plaag

Galveston, Texas Captain James Plaag has been in the charter business for over 30 years, and has successfully guided thousands of anglers in the Galveston area bays and Gulf of Mexico nearshore waters. He currently oversees a fleet of five 22- to 25-foot Boston Whalers for inshore booking and also serves as captain or mate on offshore vessels, most recently the Gotcha, a 65 Robyn Smith. He was the 1999 Gulf Coast Angler of the Year, and has earned over $70,500 in prize money competing in various Gulf coast tournaments since 1987. silverkingadventures

Gene Quigley

Pt. Pleasant, New Jersey A native of the New Jersey shore, Quigley has been fishing the inshore and offshore waters for over 30 years and is currently the co-owner of Shore Catch Guide Service, one of the Northeast’s largest charter companies. Gene specializes in fishing for bluefin tuna and trophy striped bass on fly and light tackle. Gene has put hundreds of anglers on their first trophy striped bass and bluefin; and is one of a handful of anglers worldwide who have consistently landed tuna over 100 pounds and striped bass over 40 on fly tackle. When not guiding, Quigley spends his time with his two sons Patrick and Justin; fishing, surfing, skiing, and snowboarding around the globe.

Chris Robinson

Apalachicola, Florida “Born in 1974, I grew up in Key West, Florida and started fishing the flats with my dad and brother when Iwas so young I could hardly hold the rod. What a fun time it was growing up on the flats in the ’70s and ’80s in the Lower Keys! I graduated high school from Lyman Ward Military Academy in Camp Hill, Alabama in 1993 and in 1996 my brother Tommy Robinson and I formed Robinson Brothers Guide Service in Apalachicola, Florida. I specialize in fly and light tackle for tarpon, redfish and all the other inshore fish that we have in our North Florida waters. February thru mid April I guide in the Lower Keys flats for permit, tarpon , bonefish and whatever else bites and fights.”

Ray Rosher

Miami, Florida Captain Ray Rosher has been a full time fishing guide since 1980. He is the winner of over 30 sailfish, swordfish and marlin tournaments and several tournament series titles. He fishes out of Monty’s Marina in Coconut Grove, Florida on his two charter boats both named Miss Britt.

Sonny Schindler

Gulfport, Mississippi “After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2000, I became a full time fishing guide in the summer of 2002. I was fortunate to work with some of the greatest guides on the planet in Venice, Louisiana. Paradise Outfitters was my employer, but I was able to work for numerous charter companies on my days off. For almost five years, I ran many different boats, chasing tuna, dolphin, marlin, wahoo, grouper, snapper, amberjack and more. Hurricane Katrina and marrying the love of my life (my wife, Stephanie) brought me back to my home town, Bay St Louis, Mississippi. I was able to take ownership of a successful inshore charter operation, Shore Thing Fishing Charters, from my best friend, Captain Mike Thompson. With the help of my fellow guides we have built the company into the largest inshore charter operation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. All of our boats and captains are licensed to fish Mississippi and Louisiana waters. We now target speckled trout, red fish, tripletail, flounder, black drum and several other species. Our company now has five bay boats, a fleet of kayaks, along with a private dock in Bayou Caddy. Shore Thing also has access to a luxurious 4,000 square foot private island home seven miles offshore, for all inclusive multi-day fishing packages. Our biggest accomplishments comes from our Wounded Warriors Fishing trips, and assisting children’s charities.”

Chris Sheeder

Iztapa, Guatemala Since growing up fishing the Hawaiian Islands, Chris has been at the helm in some of the world’s best locations: Hawaii, Midway, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Canary Islands and Guatemala. He’s made his own cross-over style, combining traditional Hawaiian lure fishing with modern “bait and switch” with which he has acquired numerous world records, tournament wins and just plain good fishing days. He is also recognized for taking part in creating today’s preferred method of fly-fishing for billfish. He is a few fish shy of becoming the world’s first captain to obtain 5,000 billfish on fly. Even to this day, despite all his records and accolades, he still keeps a humble “Hawaiian” style about him.

Bouncer Smith

Miami, Florida Way back in 1956 Bouncer moved to Miami, Florida, from Michigan. In 1957 he rigged a ballyhoo and caught an 88-inch sailfish. He was hooked. Captain Bouncer Smith has fished over 400 trips per year for the last 30 years and full time all the way back to June 1966. His anglers catch everything from tarpon to sailfish to swordfish. More importantly, Smith has been recognized by many organizations for his conservation efforts. He has donated thousands of hours to fishing seminars from Texas, around the US to Rome, Italy. His favorite guests are medically or physically challenged children and their families.

Juan Carlos Torruella

San Juan, Puerto Rico Captain Juan Carlos Torruella was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He caught his first marlin at age 13 and captained the family owned sport fisherman Sharon during the late 1980s and early 1990s fishing marlin tournaments in Puerto Rico, the USVI & BVI, and the Dominican Republic. Juan started his first light tackle charter business in 1996. In December of 2001 Torruella set the Puerto Rican record for most tarpon caught in one day of fishing with 56 fish released by two anglers. He is currently the owner/operator of Extreme Fishing Puerto Rico and runs light tackle and fly fishing trips in San Juan. He has guided customers, friends and family to over 40 Puerto Rican records and six IGFA World Records. He has won over 25 marlin and tarpon fishing tournaments, including the IBT in San Juan twice. He is the IGFA representative for Loiza, P.R.

Robert “RT” Trosset

Key West, Florida Captain Robert “RT” Trosset was the first fishing guide to lead anglers to 100 International Game Fish Association World Records. Born and raised in East Central Florida and moving to Key West in 1974, Trosset quickly found a following among hardcore light tackle anglers in the Miami Beach Rod and Reel Club, as well as serious world-record chasers. To date, he’s led anglers to 193 IGFA records on light-tackle and fly. Over the years, Trosset’s clientele has included serious light-tackle anglers such as Gene Duval (first angler to 100 IGFA records) and Dottie Balantyne (first fly angler to 100 IGFA records). Trosset has also developed a reputation as the “guide to the stars,” sharing his boat with the likes of Dick Butkus, Don Shula, Andy Mill, Paul Azinger and Rick Hendricks. Having fished in six of the world’s seven oceans over a career spanning nearly 40 years, Trosset was honored by IGFA with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. This combined with numerous inshore and offshore tournament wins has made Trosset a valued consultant for leading marine manufacturers including Yellowfin Yachts, Lowrance, Zebco/Fin-Nor and Suzuki Marine.

Gene Vander Hoek

Kona, Hawaii Captain Gene Vander Hoek started fishing at the age of three on Newport Pier in Southern California. His big break came when his family moved to Kona, Hawaii in 1969. Since catching his first marlin at the age of 17 he has amassed 32 World Records as captain, mate or angler. He has been one of the top tag and release captains in the Pacific since the late ’90s. Last September he became the only captain in the Pacific to ever land four blue marlin over a thousand pounds. He has had the privilege of running the 39-foot Rybovich Sea Genie II for the last 20 years.

Allyn Watson

Long Beach, California When Captain Allyn Watson moved to Long Beach at 13 he didn’t know anyone, but after his uncle took him fishing for the first time he did whatever he could to spend as much time fishing as he possibly could. At 15 he began working as a deckhand at the old Pierpoint Landing. Following a stint in the service he began running charter boats. Currently he runs a six-pack boat, Dreamer, a 46-foot Seaway, out of Pierpoint Landing, specializing in overnight trips for white sea bass. “I started in the charter business in 1971,” he says, “and I’ve never been unemployed. But I never felt like I was going to work, just going fishing.”

Jim West

Galveston, Texas Captain Jim West grew up fishing Galveston Bay area and is a Four Time Troutmasters Champion and holds a record for the Largest Five Fish Stringer caught in a Troutmasters Championship. He also took top prize in the 2004 Redfish Cup Championship held in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He is a full time local Galveston Bay guide that has specialized in inshore charters out of Bolivar Peninsula and Crystal Beach for over 30 years.

Brent Wiest

Lewes, Delaware Captain Brent Wiest grew up fishing trout streams in Dauphin, Pennsylvania, in addition to the inshore and offshore waters of Delaware thanks to his dad and pap. He is a charter boat captain at Lewes Harbour Marina and owner of the Ace Sport Fishing Inc. M/V KATYDID. Along with a B.S in Aquatic Ecology from SUNY Brockport and A.A.S in Natural Resource Cons. from SUNY Morrisville, Brent has a USCG 100 ton Master License. With 10 years of charter experience, he truly enjoys charter fishing and loves teaching beginners to advanced fishermen (women & children) how to catch fish.

Rom Whitaker

Hatteras, North Carolina Captain Rom Whitaker has been a full time charter fisherman at Hatteras, North Carolina for 27 years. “I have met many great friends and customers over the years that make my job so wonderful,” he says. He has experienced some unbelievable fishing over the years with bluefin, blue marlin, white marlin, wahoo, dolphin, king mackerel, striped bass, red drum: the list just keeps going. He has also served on Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel for over 14 years as well as other AP panels for South Atlantic MFC. “I have done a lot of tournament fishing over the years and have been pretty lucky,” he says.

Peter Wright

Stuart, Florida Peter Wright grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and began working on charter fishing boats out of Hillsboro Inlet while in grade school. From age 11 through high school and college he fished on weekends and vacations, and first fished in the Bahamas with Capt. John Whitmer at age 11. He fished many marlin tournaments in the Bahamas. In 1967 Wright visited the Antarctic collecting cephalopods (squid and octopus) on a research vessel of the United States Antarctic Research Program. He first fished off the Great Barrier Reef in 1968 and fished every season in Cairns, Australia from 1967 to 2009. He co-owned and operated a charter boat in Kona, Hawaii for five years. He currently resides in Stuart, Florida. As a captain Wright has caught more marlin over 1,000 pounds than any captain or angler in history, has won dozens of tournaments and set numerous world and national records. These include the Australian men’s record 1,442 pound black marlin on 130-pound line, and women’s 80-pound-class World and Australian record of 1,323 pounds. He held the Bahamas bluefin tuna record of 972 pounds and guided angler Stewart Campbell to a single day’s record of 73 giant tuna. He is currently Editor at Large for Marlin magazine, and is lead instructor at “Marlin University.” Wright was inducted into the Cairns Fishing Hall of Fame and the International Game Fishing Hall of fame in 2007. To date he is the only living captain in the IGFA Hall Of Fame.