The Dream Catcher, a 60’ Paul Mann, sank in 2006. The vessel was a near total loss. In most cases, the story would end here. Insert Captain Steven Pilipauskas and his search for a vessel project. A captain based in Maryland, Pilipauskas happened upon the old Dream Catcher for sale online. He purchased the hull in June 2013. At this point, the story transforms from one of tragedy to one of rebirth. It is the story of the Reel Tight.
Steve, together with his father, Steven Pilipauskas Sr. and friends Justin Havard and David Pearl, set about transforming the old hull into her former glory. “When we bought it, the boat needed everything. It had nothing; no wiring, no motors… nothing,” Pilipauskas describes. The boat had been completely underwater and none of the original equipment was salvageable.
The father and son Pilipauskas and a few friends did all the work themselves. These pictures provide visual evidence of the transformation. Soon the barebones hull was ready for action.
After months of labor on the hard, the boat was ready for action. The maiden voyage of the ship’s new life took place on Labor Day of 2015. As Pilipauskas points out, “The inside wasn’t done but we wanted fish.” Their first catch: a blue marlin.
After fishing the last six weeks of the season out of Ocean City, Maryland, the boat returned landward for additional work. “We did quite a bit of interior work—the salon, etc.—last winter. Weaver Boatworks helped with the headliner,” Pilipauskas describes.
Last month the Reel Tight came full circle. With Pilipauskas at the helm, the boat caught seven white marlin and a 64-pound yellowfin tuna in the White Marlin Open.
Today the Reel Tight is a private boat that runs a few charters. Her immediate future lies in Ocean City, Maryland though Pilipauskas hints of the possibility of a voyage south once the boat is complete. “We’ve got another year and a half or so before it’s completely finished.” When asked where he acquired the know-how to undertake such a daunting overhaul, his answer was immediate. “My dad is the brains of the operation when it comes to the construction and boat work aspects. I just handle the fishing…”