Power catamaran is your best option when boating on choppy seas

Jeff Weakly, left, and Capt. Larry Morroney with an amberjack that was caught 8 miles off Longboat Key.
Jeff Weakly, left, and Capt. Larry Morroney with an amberjack that was caught 8 miles off Longboat Key.

I’ve been on a variety of boats in all sizes, shapes, styles and speeds. With this experience, I believe that a power catamaran is the best riding boat for the steep chop often stirred up by the Gulf of Mexico.

When a forecast similar to the previous week and the week ahead with nothing less than 3 foot seas, it’s probably best for most people to stay in the comfort of protected waters, unless you’re in a cat.

Capt. Larry Morroney got to experience just how well a power catamaran handled some rough conditions when he was called upon to venture offshore with Florida Sportsman Magazine’s Jeff Weakly and Rhett Nelson. On Tuesday, they ventured offshore to test out fishing aboard the brand new World Cat 280CC-XX.

“It was pretty rough,” Morroney said. “We went out about 8 miles and the seas were a solid 3-foot chop, with the occasional 4-footer mixed in, but the boat ran through it no problem. They wanted to catch fish for fun, and not necessarily fill up the coolers.”

As it seems to be, the pelagic fish loved the rough weather, and Morroney got to work getting surface activity going.

“I started chumming heavily with pilchards and got the fish fired up. There were kingfish skyrocketing and bonita ripping through the bait.”

The crew got to fishing, throwing topwaters and Yozuri diving plugs. Morroney said the artificial baits easily deceived the aggressive feeders, including amberjack that would normally be much deeper.

“In the colder months the amberjack tend to come shallower, about 40 feet. If we go over a wreck of artificial reef we see lots of 20 to 30-pound amberjack.”

Along with the amberjack, sharks also joined in on the feeding frenzy, and Morroney noted that the aggressive nature of the fish combined with artificial lures made the fishing that much more entertaining.

For the next month, Morroney will be fishing inshore for sheepshead, flounder and black drum along rock piles and docks on rough days and occasionally venture nearshore for hogfish, snapper and tripletail on calm days. He skips out on catching pilchards, and will stick to using shrimp as his primary bait for both.

He said the Florida Sportsman article featuring his trip with World Cat will be featured in the January or February issue, so be on the lookout.

Capt. Larry Morroney can be reached at (941) 730-2574. For information on World Cat, their website is worldcat.com.

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Source: U.S. Naval Observatory data