Not only did Capt. Matt Pearson get his “dream boat” a few weeks before Christmas, but he’s hoping to go fish “dinosaur country” on his new ride.
Pearson, 36, bought the charter boat Vengeance with hopes of venturing out to what he calls dinosaur country, aka. blue marlin territory.
“It’s been one of the boats I’ve dreamed about buying,” Pearson said, noting he didn’t hesitate when Capt. Jason Hallmark put it up for sale. “I jumped all over it.”
The Vengeance, a 48-foot G&S boat, is docked at Fishing Fleet Marina behind Brotula’s Seafood House and Steamer on Destin harbor.
“There’s not many of these G&S boats around town anymore … this is the boat I wanted,” he said.
Pearson explained the Vengeance is very similar to the boat he started on 22 years ago — the Sunrise with Capt. Kelly Windes.
“I always dreamed of owning the exact same boat … I’m super excited.”
The Vengeance, which can fish 10 people, has all the amenities.
It has a refrigerator, freezer, air conditioning, showers, bathroom and bunks for overnight accommodations. In the future he hopes to add an oven so they can cook for the customers.
As to what type of fishing he plans to do on the Vengeance, Pearson will offer a variety from four-hour trips to three-day trips.
“Obviously, we really love to do snapper fishing, family fishing and taking the kids and stuff like that,” he said. “But my passion is catching blue marlin. Anytime I get a chance or a day off, I’m going to go blue marlin fishing.”
Pearson got hooked on blue marlin fishing when he worked as a deckhand for Capt. Tommy Braden on the Jasper Time. In 2009 they won the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin with a 714.7-pounder.
“There’s just something about it … when you’ve got that blue marlin jumping away from the boat and you’re backing down, drag screaming out and everyone is hootin and hollering … there’s just nothing like it.
“It’s the coolest thing I’ve found on this earth to do,” Pearson said.
So he’ll be looking to go offshore any chance he can on the Vengeance.
“We’re going to try and push those longer trips … so we can go to dinosaur country. We want to go fish dinosaur country,” he said with a big smile on his face.
Although blue marlin fishing is his passion, last year while decking aboard the Backlash with Capt. Chris Kirby he hooked the fish of a lifetime – a 430-pound Goliath grouper.
“It was probably the coolest fish I’ve caught bottom fishing in my entire life. It was impressive,” Pearson said.
He explained they were amberjack fishing and at first they thought they hooked a shark. After about a 30 minute fight, the fish popped up and it was a huge Goliath grouper.
“It was the last thing we were expecting,” he said.
With the fish still in the water, they took a few photos, revived the grouper and watched him swim back to the bottom.
Pearson, who lives in Niceville, has worked for several captains over the years. He started out with Windes on the Sunrise at the age of 14. After about three years on the Sunrise he moved over to the Daybreak with Capt. Eric Thrasher. He also worked with Capt. Mike Eller on the Lady Em and a few others.
However, he said he couldn’t have done it without his dad, Adrian, who has since passed away.
He still recalls how his dad would wake up at 4:30 a.m. to have him at the docks.
“We’d go by the Waffle House and he’d get a big ole pile of grits and I’d eat a bacon and egg sandwich. Then he’d come down to the dock and he’d get a cup of coffee at the Co-Op and read the paper until we left, then he’d come pick me up in the afternoons. That’s pretty cool, looking back,” he said sitting on the back of his new boat.
“I bought this thing so I can catch a blue marlin. There’s nothing like it. I’d travel to the ends of the earth to catch a blue marlin," Pearson added. “Hopefully, I can take my kids blue marlin fishing.”