Deep Sea Fishing

Full Day  – $1200
Extended – $1500

The term “deep sea” or “offshore” generally refers to trips out into the Gulf twenty five to thirty miles and to one hundred miles from shore. Trips closer to shore may be found on our Nearshore Trips page.

Red Grouper Captain Tom

It’s often said in fishing you never know what’s going to be on the other end of the line. No where does that ring more true than the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Between Fort Myers Beach and Sarasota, to the West of Englewood and Venice, are warm, shallow waters offering the some of the best grouper, snapper, amberjack, and shark fishing anywhere in Florida.

There is a lot more than just good ole’ bottom fishing in the gulf. High speed vertical jigging, light tackle free-lining, throwing topwater plugs and soft plastics. Even kite fishing and trolling live and artificial baits for bluewater species. The fisheries of the offshore waters of the Gulf are as diverse as the fishermen who choose to come to take advantage of them.

Just as each species fish has its requirements for food, water temperature, and habitat, so too does each fisherman have his or her requirements and goals for their fishing charter.  The skilled angler carefully tailors his techniques to fit his target species and the skilled captain should take this same care to carefully craft a charter plan that best fits the needs and desires of his customers.

Captain Tom McLaughlin has an extensive and diverse background fishing the waters of South Florida. But his useful experience does not dull his undying sense of adventure.   That’s the great thing about going out there–beyond the sight of land or another boat–you never know what you might find.  And for him, it’s exciting every time Redemption Song leaves the dock.

These are the reasons why you will find not one generic “deep sea charter” trip, but rather a varied offering of trip “suggestions.”  We call these suggestions because they are simply good ideas for trips that are very popular with our customers.

Family friendly action packed trips, educational learning  experiences, and cooler filling meat hunting trips. Heart stopping sportfishing, bluewater adventures, extreme grocery shopping, and even “man-cation” adventures.  (For those of you who may not know, four middle aged guys who leave their wives at home to go on an epic vacation is generally referred to as a man-cation.)

Regardless of which trip you choose, we take full advantage of every attribute of our vessel, the F/V Redemption Song.  Her superior speed will cut your travel time to the fishing grounds in half, and you will never be caught out in the wind, rain, cold, or spray.


The concerted conservation efforts of various private and governmental organizations as well as the implementation of strict seasons, size, and bag limits has brought about a resurgence in the quality and quantity of fish caught in the Gulf of Mexico, the success of which should pose as a model for conservation oriented societies everywhere.

Southwest Florida now enjoys landings of quality fish throughout the range of targeted species that was virtually unheard of through the eighties, nineties, and early twenty-first century. What this means is not only will you experience some of the best fishing imaginable for species such as grouper and snapper to come about in the last thirty years, but that your children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy the same in the future.

Even with conservation in mind, there is a lot to be said for a good, fresh, self-caught fish dinner. Though there are seasons, bag, and size limits governing just about all Gulf of Mexico fish species, that doesn’t mean you have to forego the enjoyment of eating your catch. Having such a long list of good eating targets to choose from means that even during the most strict seasons, you will have no problem returning to the dock with an ample supply of fresh fish to feed the whole family and even the neighbors a fantastic fish dinner!

Fishing seasons and regulations are constantly changing, your best bet is to contact Capt. Tom to find out about harvest seasons during your planned trip dates.

Commonly Caught Fish Species*

Deep Sea Fishing

Red Grouper
Gag Grouper
Blackfin Tuna
Mangrove Snapper
Yellowtail Snapper
Goliath Grouper
Scamp Grouper
King Mackerel
Black Grouper
Lane Snapper
Mahi Mahi

*Captain Tom makes his living as a fishing guide, not a magician. Please remember, there are many factors which will impact species availability–some of which we have control over, and some we may not. The list above represent species commonly caught on this type of charter. Season, tide, weather, angler experience, tackle and time invested all contribute to the availability of our targeted species.

Tackle & Techniques

Light to medium Tackle, Live and Artificial Bait

Because we encounter so many different species during the changing seasons and conditions while deep sea fishing, tackle and techniques will vary wildly throughout the year.

The All-Arounder

For those who want to experience all the Gulf has to offer!

The All-Arounder, the perfect balance of drag scorching sportfishing and good old fashioned Gulf of Mexico grocery shopping is the answer to that age old dilemma of fishing for fun, versus, fishing for food.

Sportfishing on deep sea charters in the Gulf usually revolves around searching out the biggest, hardest fighting, and most fun species of fish available regardless of its food quality or our ability to harvest those particular fish. However, the inner hunter-gatherer buried deep down inside everyone of us REALLY likes to bring home a couple great fish dinners! As a matter of fact, the pat on the back received from awaiting family and friends at the dock as we off-load our catch for the day, or as they bite into that juicy fresh fish sandwich is often just as gratifying for many anglers as the actual act of catching the fish.

The inner hunter-gatherer buried deep down inside everyone of us REALLY likes to bring home a couple great fish dinners!

The beautiful clear-blue waters west of the Englewood-Sarasota area offer everything from the seemingly limitless runs of smoker Kingfish and sky piercing leaps of giant Barracuda gnashing rows of razor sharp teeth to the adrenaline rush of watching your topwater plug as it engulfed on the surface and relentless surging of a bruiser Amberjack that is hell-bent on attempting to actually remove your arms from their sockets after you were foolish enough to drop a high speed vertical jig over a deep Gulf wreck. Even the occasional Sailfish, Blackfin Tuna, Wahoo, and Mahi Mahi will make a showing while in search of the perfect foe.

With this much fun its actually hard to believe it can get better!

Once you have had your fill of playing tug-of-war and your arms and back are screaming for a rest, you can now focus on making that promise to loved ones of the delectable delights you would be returning with come true. We put up our medium weight vertical jig tackle and our riot inducing topwater plugs, anchor up over a prime reef or wreck, toss over a chum block or two and watch the magic happen as swarms of giant yellowtail and mangrove snapper begin to appear en masse behind the boat. Ultralight spinning tackle proves just the right balance of stealth and power to fool some of the finest eating fish in the sea. The fillets pile up fast with a mix of live and artificial baits proving too much to resist for not only the various snapper species but also red, gag, black, and scamp groupers. Fire up the grill and heat up the oil, its time to head home!

On every trip Capt. Tom takes into account the season, weather, recent fishing patterns, as well as the desires and skill levels of his clients to employ the most effective fishing method possible. This will vary wildly to include both live and artificial baits used in a variety of ways. One thing is for sure, if they are out there Capt. Tom will make certain that anglers of all skill levels and abilities will catch them!

The Meat Market

Everyone angler who ventures out onto the sea does so for different reasons and with a different measure of success for their day on the water.  For some it’s to catch big fish on light tackle. For others it may be to catch a variety of fish they have not yet landed.  There are some of us who have a deep seeded hunter-gatherer instinct that is only satisfied when we harvest fish to feed our families, friends, and ourselves.  Capt. Tom is one of those people that not only understands this, but lives it.

Operating the F/V Redemption Song as an environmentally friendly grouper/snapper boat throughout the fall, winter, and early spring.   Spending three to seven days at a time on the offshore fishing grounds gives him a command of the fish’s movements and a depth of knowledge not available to the average day trip captain.

The world in which we harvest marine life now is a tangled web of  closed seasons, bag limits, and size limits.  These restrictions have brought about fantastic fishing that rivals that of the “good ole days.”  That being said, you often must be very methodical and plan your steps carefully in order to maximize your harvest, in terms of both quality and quantity, of the finest seafood in the world.   Transitioning smoothly and efficiently from targeting one species of fish to another is often what makes the difference.

Rather than targeting the biggest, baddest, hardest fighting fish available, we target the highest quality fish available and not just the fish that are most prevalent. Various grouper and snapper, as well as a host of other reef fish, make up the bulk of this type trip.

Just because you are choosing to target fish based on open seasons and how good they are to eat, does not mean you can’t have fun doing it. There is no denying that catching huge numbers, and a variety of fish on light tackle is not always fun.  We use appropriately sized tackle to provide a challenge and give the angler a good fight, but still offer a reliable standard for landing even the largest grouper and snapper.

Please remember to bring a large cooler for your catch. Cleaning and bagging your catch is included in your charter, however we can also arrange to have your catch vacuum packed and frozen for air transport or shipping for an additional fee.

For the ultimate in “fresh catch” bring a change of clothes and we’ll clean one of your choice fish to take to a local restaurant.  Swing back by after dinner and the remainder of your catch will be cleaned, bagged, and iced waiting for you at the dock.