InTheBite 2010 Captain of the Year, Capt. Ronnie Fields
By Dale Wills
Before he could ride a bike, Ronnie could run a 16-foot skiff, fishing the inlet off Ocean City, Maryland,
says his father, Capt. Alan Fields. He would spend all day at the harbor where I docked the 54-foot Rybovich, Seven Days. From the time he was four years old, Ronnie would sit along the seawall, catching everything: little sharks, rays, sea bass, spots, you name it. He just loved catching fish and never got bored with it.
Ronnie is the youngest, with older brothers, Captains David and Jimmy Fields and father Captain Alan Fields all having proven their skills in the sportfishing world.
Ronnie’s first full time job was working as a mate on the 4 B’s, a 38-foot Concord out of Talbot St. in Ocean City at the age of 16, fishing for bluefish and sharks. Ronnie’s first traveling job came under the guidance of Capt. Jimmy Lund on the 53-foot Merritt Adams Folly where he fished the Northeast, Mexico and the Bahamas. In 1997 and 1998, Ronnie earned the privilege of chasing world records under the watchful eye of Capt. Trevor Cockle as a deckhand on Jerry and Deborah Dunaway’s Hooker. In 1998, fishing off the Cape Verde Islands, Ronnie and the Hooker crew had 35 blue marlin bites and released 20 in a single day, a feat that still stands today as the Atlantic release record on blues. While fishing off the Azores the same year, they caught 25 out of 45 white marlin bites.
Other world records Ronnie guided on the Hooker included a 208-pound blue marlin on 16-pound flyrod tippet, a women’s 367-pound blue on 16-pound test and a 60-pound spearfish on 16-pound tippet. I also harpooned a 638-pound swordfish while we were in the Azores and I’ll never forget that experience,
says Fields. After various freelance jobs and a couple different captain jobs, Capt. Ronnie has been with Gray Ingram’s Big Oh since 2007.
Today, at the age of 36, Capt. Ronnie has traveled and fished most of the top destinations in the world, places only a very few in the sportfishing industry will ever have a chance to visit.
In 2010 Capt. Ronnie led his team of talented anglers and crew to a total of six first place finishes on the world’s billfish circuit. Beginning the calendar year in Costa Rica, the Big Oh crew tested their skills among the top teams in the Pacific. Fishing the Los Suenos Signature Series for the first time, they placed second in the first leg with 35 sailfish and followed up with a first place victory in the second leg with 22 sailfish, where they accumulated enough points to win the title of Los Suenos Series Grand Champion. Nothing beats showing up to a new world-class destination and making a statement right off the bat. In March of 2010, the Big Oh took home second place in the Presidential Challenge of Costa Rica. In May, the team set a compass heading back to the Atlantic for Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. There, Ronnie led his team to a first place win in the Billfish Shootout with 14 marlin. Next, the Big Oh set sail for the marlin-rich waters of St. Thomas and the famous North Drop. In July they won the USVI July Open with 6 marlin. In August they placed second on time in the Superbowl of blue marlin tournaments: the Boy Scout. Before leaving the Virgin Islands in September, the Big Oh had released 60 blue marlin. Next stop was back to the Pacific and Los Suenos Resort and Marina in time for the 2010 Los Suenos Marlin Invitational. You guessed it, another first place finish for Capt. Ronnie and the Big Oh crew.
For the first time ever in the eight-year history of InTheBite’s Captain of the Year award, tournament wins transcended both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. I am fortunate to have a really great crew to fish with and without them, none of the wins would be possible,
says Fields. However, it takes a good captain to find fish and a great captain to stay with fish. Without the bites, you can’t win. With that being said, we congratulate captain Ronnie Fields as 2010’s Captain of the Year.
Like his father Alan stated, He’s never done anything else but fish.