Our area on the Gulf Coast is not well known for incredible blue-water fishing, but it should be. There are incredible fish for those who have the boat and crew to get to the edge of the shelf. Some include blue and white marlin, swordfish, mahimahi, wahoo and big yellow fin tuna. The trips require big tackle, a big boat and lots of planning. A 200-pound blue marlin can easily take 400 yards on its initial run. A larger boat helps if the wind changes direction and runs up against the loop current, which can make the seas angry. Some trips will span two or more days, fishing well over 150 miles offshore, so a little comfort is nice. Planning should not only involve locations on where the fish might be but also safety equipment and both lure and bait choices. We use two websites to help find the fish: roffs.com and realtime-navigator.com. They will assist in finding temperature breaks, blue water and even different salinity contents that will move the fish. The best bite now is an area known as The Steps, about 140 miles west of Tampa Bay. Water depths on the east side are in the 1,000- to 1,100-foot range. Running west there's a fast dropoff in depth, some areas dropping more than 5,000 feet in less than 10 miles. The deepest parts of the area are more than 2 miles deep. Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintastici nc.com.