Words by Aaron Wood
"If you don't have a passion for what you're doing, you're not gonna last." — Stu Dunn
Few individuals need an introduction less than R.T. Trosset, a name etched in both the record books and the generational lore of Florida Keys captains. A recipient of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Lifetime Achievement Award and the Tommy Gifford Legendary Captains Award, R.T. Trosset's total number of IGFA world records stretches well beyond the conceivable: a staggering 239 as angler or captain. When R.T. says they were catching world records every third trip, sometimes six in a day, it's hard to argue against the numbers.
These records include a mind-boggling 178-pound tarpon and a 398-pound hammerhead on 12- and 20-pound test, respectively. R.T.'s dominance in light tackle and fly records makes one wonder about the origins of such an ability—if a captain of his stature is simply cut from a different cloth, or is a product of determination and persistence. For R.T., the answer is all of the above. He has built a dynasty on a foundation of innate prowess, commitment, and most of all, passion.
"We really didn't know growing up; we didn't get the feeling R.T. was world-famous—he was just Dad," son Robert Trosset III remarks. His brother reiterates the notion, noting that it was standard procedure for them to spend time together on the water as young boys, sometimes skipping school, planting the seed for their own successful ventures. The boys were merely enjoying time with their father, unaware that if legacy had a name, it would be 'Trosset.'
"Chris—he'll be legendary fishing, I guarantee it. And Robert, he'll be legendary diving," R.T. states proudly. Neither son has strayed too far from the water, with Chris following in his father's footsteps as a recognized Keys charter captain, while Robert oversees a successful dive operation. R.T. knows greatness when he sees it, and his sons' passion for their endeavors implies that perhaps there is a unique component to their blood after all.
Reflecting on a successful career, R.T. smiles at the bond he shares with his two boys. "We're one, two, three on the dock… A man couldn't dream anything better," he says, and with a grandson starting to learn the ropes, R.T. is taking his new role seriously.
"He's gotten so excited about his first grandson, really taking it to another level teaching him how to fish… how to live," Robert reflects. It should be no surprise that R.T. is invigorated by the opportunity to share the fire that burns in him as a captain and a fisherman, for he never wanted that joy all to himself.
Perhaps, one day, Robert Trosset IV can tell his own story. One of guile and character, of grit and desire. A story of his father and uncle, and their father before them. A story of the sun and the sky; of a father's love; of the need to chase that sun and all the great blue between.