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Bill Platt has been featured in over 30 magazine articles


Offshore Fishing with Bill Platt

snapper-sm2 This is a great time of year to go offshore fishing. The blue water is close to the ports and there are large numbers of game fish that can be easily caught. Naturally, fishing pressure is heaviest closest to shore. But the problem with offshore fishing for many anglers is that it takes many hours to reach the best fishing water. Typically offshore fishing vessels don’t travel faster than 20 miles per hour. Due to our relatively flat shallow Gulf off the Texas coast, the best areas to fish (for unpressured fish) are 40 miles or more out in the Gulf. The further you go out, the     better the fishing. But the boat ride can get boring. Actual time spent     fishing offshore in most boats is about the same amount of time that is spent getting to and from the fishing destination. Even when seas are calm, the long boat ride becomes dreaded.

With several victories on the Southern Kingfish Tournament Trail, Captain Bill Platt from Galveston agreed to take me offshore on a 36 foot Contender powered by three 300-hsp Yamaha outboards. Having never been aboard such a     vessel, I was in for a surprise. “We will be going about 100 miles offshore today and should catch a lot of fish,” Platt said as we idled out of the marina. The winds were light and the Gulf was as flat as I have ever seen  …<Read more...>

LONESTAR-NEWSCool catch — Angler lands rare fireback grouper

~John Keith

Galveston Capt. Bill Platt has caught a lot of fish in his years of fishing.

But this summer, he pulled in something even he had never seen before.

“We were fishing in about 300 feet of water, out of Galveston about 100 miles,” he said. “We were bottom-fishing, catching grouper and some warsaw. Then I hooked into a fish, but got hung up in the bottom.”

Platt could have easily lost the fish, but managed to free the line and bring the fireback grouper up to the surface. He said he didn’t immediately know what he had caught.

firebackFISH OF FIRSTS: Though it almost broke off on some structure, Capt. Bill Platt managed to wrangle this fireback grouper into the boat. Photo by Capt. Bill Platt.

“It was quite something,” he said. “Those things are pretty rare and I had never caught one, even though I’ve been fishing the Gulf my whole life.”


The fireback grouper was caught using a small blue runner.

“You can see the colors really well and that’s why I like it so much,” he said. “I saw all the colors and was like, ‘Wow, he’s all lit up.’ It’s a fluorescent, bright color.

“I’ve caught 500-pound blue marlin, and yeah they’re pretty, but this was the best looking fish I’ve ever caught.”

Aaron Reagan

Papotanic Interview with Cpt. Bill Platt

Bill Platt / Papotanic STAFF How’s fishing Texas different from all the other locations that king mackerel tournaments are held?Bill Platt: Over here it’s kind of like fishing in Biloxi, but you have to run a little further to the good spots. The average run is maybe 70, 80, 90 miles. Sometimes we will run 140, 150 miles one way.

What is the typical structure that your team can be found fishing on? And what are some of the locations that an out of towner should be looking for on a chart where they can get into a decent bite?

We fish a lot of live bottom areas. Some other teams fish a lot of rigs, like in Biloxi or Venice, but that is kind of new to the game here. All the good fish that we have caught, 9 in the 50’s, have come from live (bottom) spots. Live bottom areas. Regarding out of towners, you can look on the Hilton Charts and find some solid numbers. If someone is really interested in fishing a tournament over here I will help them out and sometimes even fish side by side with you.

What’s your bread and butter bait for the hogs over there in Texas?

Always big blues (runners), sometimes ribbon eels though. Spanish mackerel and bluefish are also great to have here. How much prefishing will your team do for a typical divisional tournament?  A day or 2 usually, I will generally have a clue where the fish are before prefishing.

When prefishing do you make the 100 mile run that you are planning on doing in the tournament? And are you guys focusing more on getting bait or keying off on the fish?

I charter fish a lot in summer and have been fishing here so long I that know where the fish will be. Fish are generally in the same place that they were at last year. Might move around a little, but not much. Just key on bait, that’s what’s real important.

How important are skirts and other accessories to the kingfish action over there? Which do you guys use come tournament day?

I use skirts on everything. I have some rigs without skirts, but most of our rigs are with ‘em. Do I stick with one color? No. But do I have a couple favorites? Yeah. I like chartreause, pink, and black. All big fish haven’t been on one secret color though. Just come off all different colors.

What’s the biggest advantage of having a big boat with incredible range? (36 Contender with triple Yamaha 300’s.)

It’s always rough over here. In our boat it doesn’t matter if its rough, I’m going fishing. When it’s calm though, like this year, everyone has a shot. The rough weather really gives us an advantage. And if we weren’t with Yamaha we wouldn’t be running. Couldn’t ask for anyone better on your team.

Papotanic had yet another great year in Division 8, what separates you guys from all the other teams?

I have lived down here my whole life. Started charters back in 1990, and knew all these spots that produced kings. We then found out about these kingfish tournaments and it was a perfect fit. It all went hand in hand. I also know a lot of buddies that are commercial fisherman, which is a huge help when locating some fish. We can talk back and forth finding new spots.

Will Papotanic be fishing either the SKA or FLW Pro tour next year?

We will be fishing Division 8 and the FLW tour.

Would you guys like to see a Pro tournament, or atleast more credit going to the Texas anglers?

I think there are teams over here that can compete with anybody. We don’t travel more and fish other divisions because they are so far away. I have heard that in 2006 there might be an FLW over here in Galveston, and some big fish will be caught, by everyone, including Texas teams.

Many teams are interested in the whole sponsorship scene. What advice can you give them and what has helped your team the most?

Well, I think pushing the product you are using and winning with it is key. We also had an article with Saltwater Sportsman magazine a couple months back. Our sponsors really liked that and other stuff like that. Get your name out a lot more, get it on everything and anything. I also fish with Keith Warren on his television show 3 or 4 times a year. Check out his site, he has a full listing on when you can see it. and check out our site I would also like to give a special thanks to Mike Dixon, Chuck Butler, Aruther Hughes and all the Yamaha Staff.

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Posted on 05 March 2010 Written by Chris Landry

Proper safety equipment is even more important than tools for fishing in these outboard canyon runners, say our skippers.

Brad Berk’s safety arsenal includes two satellite phones, two fixed-mount VHF radios, a hand-held VHF radio, two GPS chart plotters, a hand-held GPS, an EPIRB and a six-man life raft. SoundingsFor Bill Platt, his Garmin satellite weather data receiver ranks as one of the most important safety tools on the boat. “We can see any kind of fronts coming – any type of storm,” he says. “Lightning storms, how big the seas are, wind velocity – it gives us the capability to outrun the weather or go around it.” He frequently runs home in the dark, so radar plays an important role. Platt and his crew deviate from recommended safety procedures in one respect – they normally don’t wear life jackets unless the weather gets bad. But he does always attach a lanyard to a switch at the helm that’ll kill the engines if he’s thrown away from the helm.

Paul Jaworski also relies on a satellite weather service and a 10kW open-array radar. “Both help with good decision making on the water,” he says. “I do always carry offshore a six-man offshore life raft – Winslow – and an ACR Global Fix Pro EPIRB and a well-stocked ditch kit.”


He rents a satellite phone for the long trips. Those are the essential items for offshore running for Jaworski. Other emergency paraphernalia include a well-stocked toolbox, plenty of fuses, various sizes of wood plugs and rescue tape.

Phase two of the Garmin extravaganza — a fishing trip off Texas with pro angler Bill Platt — may not have gone quite as planned, but I don’t think you need much more than this image of calm seas, blue sky, and a huge ass red snapper to know that it was truly a blast…[ Read More ]

Trophy-Class Kings

Looking to increase your score of smoker kingfish along the Gulf Coast? Let this team of tournament winners show you the way. Catching king mackerel off the Texas coast during the summer can be as easy as trolling a feather …[ Read More ]


Tricking Picky Dolphin

Coast to coast, specialized dolphin fishing techniques can help make the day.

Dolphin are a year-round proposition in the Gulf of Mexico, says Capt. Bill Platt of Galveston, Texas. You just have to know where to look.

“In the summertime, it seems like the bigger ones are farther out in the Gulf,” he says. “We catch them when we’re marlin fishing during the charter-boat season from May until August and September. The smaller chicken dolphin we sometimes catch 10 miles off the beach when the clean green or blue water pushes in.” But for the bigger fish, he says, he may run 100 to 150 miles out, where he hunts for weed lines or “floaters,” meaning floating oil platforms …[ Read More ]

Florida Kingfish To Texas Wahoo And Jumbo Red Snapper

By Bill Platt

It’s been a busy November and early December. I trailered my 33-foot Contender from Texas to Fort Pierce Florida in November to fish the final event of the Professional Tour of Southern Kingfish Association as well as the Open Division National Championships. I’ve fished that area before and it usually holds a lot of nice fish, but for some reason the larger concentrations of big fish hadn’t moved in, which meant we had to make some long runs to locate fish…[ Read More ]

Strategy Plays Into Southern Kingfish Association Tournaments

By Bill Platt

It’s been a long, hot summer in Texas, but the fishing has been good. While the kingfishing is off from years past, the wahoo bite has been incredible. In fact, we’ve won the wahoo division in a bunch of tournaments with fish over 75 pounds the last few weeks. What’s weird is that we’ve been targeting kingfish using the standard rigs and live bait and been catching these big wahoo. It’s a nice consolation to not catching the fish you’re actually after.That being said, the kingfish bite off Texas is off right now…[ Read More ]

Fuel Economy, Performance and Reliability..

By Bill Platt

I went to the Southern Kingfish Association National Championships in Biloxi last month where I fished in the Pro Division event for two days. The weather wasn’t bad the first day, but the seas kicked up on the second day so we had to back off the throttle a bit on the 70 mile run to our first fishing spot.

The weather had the fish spread out over a 100 miles stretch, which was good in one respect in that it also spread out the field of boats as everyone was covering ground looking for fish. The down side there being a lot of fish spread out over a large area is that it’s harder to find a quality tournament winning fish, much less two quality fish to fill your two fish tournament aggregate.

The day started out with plenty of fish, but no really big fish. Any time you’re fishing off the Gulf Coast in early December you need to have either one big fish with a good fish kicker or two really good fish to be in the money. We could catch all the kings you wanted in the 35 pound class during the first day of fishing, but we really didn’t see the big fish we needed to win the event. On the second day we had a big fish eat a blue runner on the surface with only about two hours left in the event. That king went 55 pounds, 8 ounces and was the biggest fish of the day, but we didn’t have a big enough kicker fish to take the event…[ Read More ]

Kingfish Connection

Electronic Tips with Papotanic
Knowing how to make the most out of your electronics is crucial to catching more bait, more fish, and winning more tournaments. One of Texas’ most well-known captains, Bill Platt, works on these machines everyday and tells us how best to use our eye in the water. Platt says the most important machine on anyone’s boat is the bottom machine or sounder. “Most people believe that the chart plotter is the most important piece of electronics on the boat. But that machine only gets you to the spot…[ Read More ]

Touchy Feely

Skippers Warm Up to the Benefits of Touch-Screen Systems
By Randy Vance
Bill Platt of Dickinson, Texas, runs Papatonic. He’s also an electronics retailer and installer. Like most, he was skeptical when touch screens began to drift aboard helm stations. “I currently have two Garmin 7215s, and I love them,” Platt says. But he wasn’t always so smitten. “Right when touch screens came out, I was used to buttons. I didn’t think I could deviate. So, when we changed our displays, I said, Give me one touch and one with buttons.”..[ Read More ]

Using Radar to Find Birds

Capt. Bill Platt fishes the Southern Kingfish Association pro tour from a 36-foot Invincible center-console. He recently upgraded his Garmin radome to a 604HD 6 kw open array. “I had an aluminum top on my old boat, but now I have a fiberglass hardtop,” he says. “I run the boat wide open and have had zero problems.”

Platt, who operates Custom Marine Electronics in League City, Texas, uses radar for finding birds primarily during East Coast tournaments. “How far away I can see birds depends on how high they are. If they get up a bit, I’ll pick them up at three to four miles.”  …[ Read More ]

Easterly winds cause major concern

SOUTHPORT, N.C. – Day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour event in Southport was a major disappointment for most of the 89-boat field. The only trouble is, day one may have provided anglers the best chance for a sizeable catch. The main culprit of the early struggles is easterly winds. Unfortunately, Friday’s forecast calls for virtually straight easterly winds which could completely shut down the bite.
Making a 40-mile run in rough seas was Team Nailhead, who led all comers with a 42-pound, 9-ounce king on day one…[ Read More ]