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Wreck Fishing on a Sailfish 290 Center Console

Wreck Fishing with the Finest

Reaper Fishing Charters gets good times and great game off the coast of Port Canaveral, Florida


Captain Zachery Dillon, owner of a 2011 Sailfish 290 Center Console with twin Yamaha 250 HPs, gets major game off the coast of Central Florida. He started competitively angling in a Sailfish 236 Center Console in the Southern Kingfish Association tournaments, seeing success all over the Southeast. 

Zach moved onto “Meat Mayhem” and other local tournaments with his team and began to build his dream of operating a full-time charter business out of Port Canaveral, Florida. After several years of success as a competitive angler and many requests to run his own charter operation, he finally opened Reaper Fishing Charters Florida, which operates year-round at the helm of his 290CC. “Combined, we fish out of our Sailfish almost every day,” Zach says. “I think last year we fished a total of 236 days!”

Bottom fishing is Captain Zach’s specialty. “The thing I love about bottom fishing is that it's kind of like a potluck. On any day you can find yourself catching any number of species. We tell our customers, ‘It could be a banner grouper day. We could have a bunch of grouper in the boat. Or maybe it is a bunch of amberjack in the boat.’ It's not uncommon for people to go out on a six, seven-hour trip and catch 10 to 12 different species of fish, which is just incredible,” he adds.  “It's one of my favorite ways to fish, because you just never know what you're going to get.”

Captain Zach rigs up his Sailfish nearshore to bottom-fish over artificial wreck deployments and shipwrecks. These structures, which were sunk during the World War II era, have become thriving ecosystems for fish in coastal Central Florida. “The shipwrecks rise 15, 20 feet off the sea floor, which makes for very snaggy conditions. I use weight to get bait down to the bottom, hold it there, and kind of drift along.”

Zach and his team switch things up in the months of March and April, when they chase down larger species like yellowfin tuna and mahi. “When big game migrates around the Gulfstream from The Bahamas, it's not uncommon for us to run 100 to 120 miles offshore to catch them.”

The gusty conditions during the winter months are no match for a stalwart Sailfish VDS hull. Zach’s 290 is up for the task under any condition and will run him and his crew home safely on every occasion. “January through April we experience a lot of windy conditions coming out of the north, and often fish in four-to-six-foot seas with 15-20 knot winds. We absolutely feel safe in our 290CC every day that we are out there. It's a great boat. I love the high gunnels. What I like to say about this boat is ”it feels like it hugs you."

Zach’s history with Sailfish is quite lengthy, and he points to many reasons why he fishes professionally on a Sailfish boat. “These boats, they're heavier, they're durable, they last a long time and they're able to endure a lot of action. We put our 290CC through a lot of work. We fish hard all year and in all types of weather, and she is always up to the task.”

Zach not only fishes professionally with his 290 CC, but also loves to spend family bonding time on it. His wife and children love to cruise out in the sunny Florida weather. “The boat, to me, is the perfect combination and balance of fishability and family comfort. My son, Nixon, is 18-months old and has been riding on our Sailfish since he was two weeks.” 

A Sailfish experience handed down through generations of customers, friends and family….now that is quite a legacy.

For more information on Reaper Fishing Charters, visit their website: https://www.reaperfc.com

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