Captain Trey of Santa Rosa Beach has had a pretty busy year already, driving cross country to pick up a new boat and helping his wife get her own captain's license. Luckily, we were able to find some time to talk so we could find out more about him and Santa Rosa Beach fishing.
Captain Trey guides inshore trips out of Santa Rosa Beach chasing speckled trout, redfish, and more. These trips are perfect for all anglers from friends and family to an experienced angler looking for his next personal best. He even has a trip that’s specifically for the kiddos.
He’s had a lifetime of experience and is the go-to guy for learning everything there is to know about fishing. He grew up learning about fishing from the guys who worked at his dad’s fishing camp. After high school, he went to Destin and freelanced as a deckhand in the summers. Eventually, he took some time off to start a career in law enforcement but it wasn’t long before the ocean called him back. Captain Trey opened his own business running fishing charters and never looked back.
Santa Rosa Beach is a great environment for families to relax, unwind, and enjoy all the activities in the area. Then, once you need to get away and relax from that, you can jump on a boat and go fishing. Whether you head offshore into the Gulf of Mexico or spend the day chasing bull reds in the Choctawhatchee Bay, there’s plenty of fishing to be done.
The Choctawhatchee River meets the ocean between Santa Rosa and Freeport, which creates a fishing experience unlike any other. The brackish water invites a mixed bag of species like redfish, speckled trout, bass, and catfish all in one spot. Captain Trey said, “it’s always a surprise and there’s always something to catch.”
With over 40 years of experience, Captain Trey has had the opportunity to watch speckled trout and redfish fishing improve drastically in Santa Rosa Beach. Redfish, being his personal favorite and what he considers the most exciting, thrive in the area.
As much as he loves fishing in Santa Rosa Beach, when asked about his dream bucket list trip, Captain Trey had an answer ready. Costa Rica is his top pick (although, he does have plenty of backup choices). He would love to go with his wife to experience the natural beauty, the fishing since there always seems to be something biting out there, and the destination itself. In truth, he doesn’t even care if he catches something while he’s there, however, he would at least like one big one.
Whether it’s your first time fishing or your millionth trip, Captain Trey will make sure you are prepared and ready to go with everything you’ll need to get out on the water that day. Safety is number one, number two is knowing the equipment, and number three is getting on the boat.
He’ll have everything you need with lures or natural bait (usually shrimp as long as it’s in season), equipment, an extra cooler for drinks and snacks, and plenty of storage for any items you want to bring. Everything is set up for the most comfortable trip possible. Captain Trey sums his trips up perfectly: “There’ll be good equipment, a good guide, you’ll enjoy the outdoors, catch some fish, and maybe even catch a few of my jokes.”
When asked his favorite moment he’s ever had with a customer on one of his trips, Captain Trey couldn’t pick just one. After having the pleasure to fish with so many people over the years it’s hard not to have a roster of favorite trips.
The first that came to mind was a family from Texas. They fished hard all day and well into the afternoon. As always, Captain Trey had prepared them well. When that pole started bending and the handle started turning, they knew what to do. After a good fight lasting for almost 40 minutes, the young lady on the boat pulled up the biggest drum Captain Trey had ever seen.
Another Texas group had two young kids on the boat. Neither had a lot of experience with fishing, but Captain Trey was ready to show them the ropes. The little man on the boat landed a 17 pound black drum, and he “handled it like a champ.”
A couple from Arkansas had an equally tough fight. Baiting with pinfish, a 50 pound leader, and 30 pound braid, she struggled with a fish for an extremely long time on stout gear. After a while, she felt the line go light and thought the rig popped. She reeled in and somehow the hook worked itself out of the fish and circled back into the bait. With the drag it took out, Captain Trey knew it had to be a stud, but no one would’ve expected such bad luck.
After that heartbreak, a feel good story is needed. Cal, a young man that Captain Trey fished with really left an impact on him. The day was rough with white caps on the bay, not dangerous but definitely choppy. Captain Trey really respected how Cal faired through such tough fishing, which turned out to be well worth it when they ended up fighting fish for over eight minutes at a time.
One of his greatest reviews came from a split boat trip. Two parents and their two kids each headed out, with Captain Trey taking the kids. Those three fished hard, caught plenty of fish (even when their parents didn’t), and had a great time. Such a good time in fact, that the kids couldn’t stop raving about Captain Trey until the parents reached out just to be able to meet him. It’s hard to impress two twentysomethings on vacation with their parents, but Captain Trey sure did.
Finally, Captain Trey’s favorite trips where he’s learned the most are with his wife. After spending some time on the water with his wife, he was getting a little frustrated by the fact that she didn’t take his advice and chose to sit in the front of the boat instead of the back. That’s when he realized that’s what it’s all about. You can give advice, do your job as a guide, but never take the joy out of fishing for someone by changing what they want to do. As long as whoever is on board is having fun, it doesn’t matter. That’s what is most important.
Captain Trey has learned to appreciate every single trip he gets, no matter what type of trip they want to do. When he was growing up at his dad’s fish camp the guys there took him under their wing. Now, he wants to do the same for other anglers by giving back the knowledge he’s gained.
Though there’s another reason beyond this that Captain Trey is thankful for being able to run these trips. When he was just 12 years old, he had a debilitating four wheeler accident. He was in a coma, missed out on summer, playing football, and had to relearn to walk, write, and talk.
Through overcoming this tragedy, Captain Trey has learned a few things that have influenced the way he runs his trips. First, he knows that he can weather any storm life will throw at him, as long as he has his faith. Second, even when there’s a lot going on outside of his control, he just needs to get out there and enjoy it. Finally, You should always treat people the way you would want to be treated.