Anyone who’s familiar with the Florida Keys fishing community no doubt knows the name Capt. Robert R.T. Trosset, the legendary skipper who has been guiding out of Key West since 1975. Among the fish-filled flats, backcountry, and waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, Trosset raised two sons.
His older son, Robert, who now runs a dive business, was never a fanatical fisherman, though he enjoyed working on his father’s boats and engines. Chris, on the other hand, was bitten hard by the angling bug early on and never recovered. These days you can find him guiding clients under the Reel Fly Charters banner.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fishing with my dad,” Trosset says, “but he never pressured us to go. It was pretty cool growing up being able to go out on a boat like his and doing that kind of high-level fishing. It gave me a good start, especially learning live-bait techniques from him. I was pretty fortunate to have been able to do that.”
As with many fishing families, there were always a couple of small boats available when Trosset had an itch to fish. He remembers a well-worn Carolina Skiff and an 18-foot SeaVee flats boat in the family fleet. “As a kid and teenager, I did a lot of backcountry and flats fishing,” says Trosset, who is 31. “Those boats were perfect for that, and they got used a lot — both by me and my brother.”
Trosset bought his first boat when he was 19, around the time he earned his captain’s license. “My first boat was a 16-foot Silver King flats boat, which helped me start my guiding business,” he says. “It was ideal for the backcountry.”
His next boat was a 29-foot SeaVee with twin 175-hp Suzukis. “That was a great boat,” he says. “It allowed me to expand my fishing range and go after a wider variety of species.”
As Trosset’s reputation spread, Contender Boats tapped him to join the company’s pro staff. With that came a new boat for the young skipper: a Contender 32 SE. “The boat changed my whole business and what I could offer my clients,” he says.
About two years ago, Trosset upgraded to his current rig, a Contender 35 ST with twin 350-hp Suzukis. “It’s just a great all-around boat,” he says. “It’s very fishable. We’re almost always fishing with live baits, so the 160 gallons of well-placed live well capacity is a game-changer. The deck is flat and open, and the freeboard makes things comfortable for clients when the weather gets sloppy.”
He says he rarely cancels a booking due to weather because “the boat rides so well and is very stable. We’re often fishing in 6- to 8-foot seas with no problem during the sailfish season when fronts blow through.”
Trosset also is a fan of his Suzuki DF350A 4-strokes. “I get about 1.6 nmpg at around 35 knots,” he says. “The contra-rotating propellers mean the engines never lose traction, even when I’m running them trimmed up. The engines have been phenomenal.”
On Trosset’s wish list is a Contender 25 Bay. “I’m not looking to replace my 35 ST, but the 25 Bay would allow me to offer some different fishing venues for my clients,” he says. “But until then, my 35 ST will continue to get used hard, just like it was designed to do.”