The boat I run my tarpon trips on is a 1977 fully restored custom 20′ SeaCraft center console. It was stripped down to the hull and stringers and refinished from the bottom up in 2012. Older SeaCrafts have always been known for their great ride and seaworthiness and this boat is no exception. She does not bang, crack, or rattle in a choppy sea. Rather it is a very soft, comfortable entry that you don’t feel at all. There is likely no other boat in her size class that is as comfortable to fish from. She has been retrofitted with complete modern electronics and goodies. Now powered by a 200 hp 4 stroke Yamaha engine to get you to the fishing grounds quickly. She has Lowrance GPS/Fish Finder, VHF Radio, Minn Kota 36v iPilot trolling motor, and an 8′ Power Pole Blade Edition. The floor is all one level (no step up in the bow) allowing easy ability to fish and walk around the entire boat. Two custom fighting chairs are mounted up front of the console. The bow area gunwhales are cushioned with Seadeck which is nice to lean on. All cleats, running lights, and rod holders are flush mounted. She has a large 40 gallon live well able to hold plenty of live bait. Two separate livewell pumps for redundancy as well as an aerator keep our bait lively without worry. 8 Rod holders make it easy to spread baits in different directions and fish multiple rods. The transom has been entirely rebuilt giving much more room to fish and custom bracket gives the boat an even smoother ride like a larger vessel. Jack plate allows the motor to trim up even higher than usual to have easier access in shallow water. Custom console is narrow for easy ability to walk around while still having plenty of storage space as it is tall. Spray rails on the bow help keep down spray while running. This is a one of a kind vessel that is perfect for fishing tarpon and I’ll explain a few key points here.
No T-Top allows you to fish around the bridges much easier and they really get in the way when trying to cast, fight fish, etc…
Trolling motor allows you to drift and anchor silently and work your baits in ways that were previously not possible. iPilot trolling motor has built in GPS which can hold position then you can move quietly over if we see fish next to us etc… without having to pull anchor. Also when drifting you can keep the boat sideways, allowing you to fish multiple baits much easier. You can also set up and drift your baits across the front of bridges and other structure where tarpon often lay without scaring them with a loud combustion engine.
Boat size is perfect for fishing the bridges and channels. Boats much bigger are very hard to maneuver around the bridges where we often fish. The boat is also big enough to fish in the open bays where it gets rough when other smaller skiffs can’t be there.
Power Pole allows quiet staking up on the edges of banks where tarpon often are cruising by. When you hook up simply push a button, start your engine, and your after your fish.
Big live well that has two live well water pump plus aerator. Can keep multiple types of bait alive with ease. Also can work very quietly with just aerator if you’re in need of being very sneaky with the fish.
Multiple rod holders and different angles allow you to fish multiple rods in different positions if you need to leave them in the holders, thus increasing your odds.
Garmin 7607xsv ChartPlotter/Sounder includes hi-res satellite imagery of the backcountry which is helpful for getting around. Also the sounder has hi-def bottom and side scanning sonar which is tremendously useful when tarpon fishing. You can ‘see’ fish up to 500 feet away on either side of the boat when they aren’t necessarily rolling/busting on the surface. This can be very beneficial for your fishing especially on days when other captains are going to struggle to find the fish that don’t have this technology.
Comfortable chairs for fighting stubborn tarpon are available. Of course I usually recommend people to stand as you have to really pull on big tarpon and they may make quick moves diving under the boat. Chairs are there when you want to take a break!
I’m sure if you fish a trip with me you’ll love my boat as much as I do!
Capt. Rick Stanczyk