Capt. Naset runs a 2010 Yellowfin 36 boat recently re-powered with triple Mercury Racing 450R outboards.
The team faced rough conditions on tournament day, with rain falling and five-foot seas offshore fueled by an approaching cold front.
“We cast off at 4:15 a.m. and planned to run about 85 miles offshore, but the seas were big and building and we realized we’d be running four or five hours just to our spot, which would leave us very little time to fish and get back,” recounts Capt. Naset. “So we changed plans and ran to an inshore spot on Tampa Bay, where we had one bite all day long, at 9 a.m. That fish was the winner.”
Like freshwater bass and walleye anglers, competitors in kingfishing tournaments operate under tight time constraints. For the Old Salt Fall King of the Beach event, there was no check-out time but anglers could not drop lines to the water until 6 a.m., and had to be in line for the weigh-in at R.O.C. Park in Madeira Beach at 5 p.m. That weigh-in deadline can make boat speed a critical factor simply because less time spent running to and from the fishing grounds gives the anglers more time to fish, and more opportunity to catch the winning fish.
“We often run 100 miles to the fishing grounds in five-to-seven foot seas, which may take three to four hours,” says Capt. Naset, who has been tournament fishing for 20 years. “This leaves us just about 90 minutes to fish before we need to start the run back. With these new Mercury Racing 450R outboards on our transom, nobody can out-run us in flat water. We’ve got a top speed of about 82 miles an hour loaded. Some of the bigger boats might be faster in rough water, but they are running quads and use a lot more fuel, and sometimes have to load fuel bladders on deck to have enough range. We average about 0.9 mpg in a tournament, compared to 0.6 mpg for the quad boats. This boat with the Mercury Racing 450R motors gets its best fuel economy at around 4500 rpm and 60 mph, which is pretty amazing.”