Hi guys, I recently had an experience that I thought worthy of posting as a testament to the fantastic ride of the my Vantage VHP.
During a trip to Southwest Florida, I woke up to howling winds out of the northwest, the absolute worst for the spots I’d planned on fishing. Taking also into account the negative tides, and the fact that my wife would be coming along, I nearly scrapped our outing altogether. Our chances to catch fish were grim unless we found an area with the right water depth and clarity, as well as enough shelter. By my estimation Turtle Bay had the most potential, but getting there required us to leave Pine Island Sound and cross Boca Grande Pass, a risky proposition for a technical skiff under the extreme conditions.
I still don’t know how I convinced my wife to go through with it, but we put on our rain jackets, launched our Vantage at Pineland Marina, and off we went. I purposely hugged every island I could on our way to the pass, but when we approached Boca Grande the waves reminded me of my surfing days. A strong falling tide pushing against the gusty winds had created a nasty chop, with waves in the 3-4ft range coming from every direction. But we didn’t turn back, instead I put one trim tab down slightly to raise the side of the bow facing the wind, and we zigged and zagged our way across the pass with amazing ease. Granted, we kept the speed down to 25-27mph, but the Vantage handled the chop incredibly well, without any pounding whatsoever, and only minimal spray. Even my wife, though she won’t admit it, was pleasantly surprised.
We spent the morning fishing some semi protected flats and mangrove shorelines and, while we didn’t set the world on fire, we did boat 4 out of 5 nice reds hooked on artificials. Later we heard from a few friends who tried Pine Island Sound and Matlacha, they all got skunked, so I guess making the crossing was a good decision. I’m not sure we could say our Vantage saved the day, but it at least let us enjoy some decent fishing at a time when lots of anglers wouldn’t dare leave dry land. Love my East Cape Vantage!
All the best,