By Charlie Levine
On September 13, 2016, Capt. Kyle Peet left Ocean City headed for the grounds aboard his 54-foot Taylor Made, No Quarter. Aboard were Peet, his mate Erik Mateer and a group of anglers from Xtratuf boots. Peet had his sights on a piece of water 85 miles offshore for an overnighter.
“I wanted to try for a grand slam,” he says. “That’s all I wanted to catch. I’d never caught a grand slam here.”
The bite was on. In the first five minutes of trolling, the No Quarter hooked a triple header of white marlin. Packs of fish mobbed the spread. As soon as they put new baits back, the fish bit.
“It was one of the coolest experiences ever. It was like fishing in Costa Rica, but it was right here in my back yard. I was marking 20 at a time,” Kyle said. By lunchtime, they had released 12 whites. Then they got a blind bite that turned out to be a 200-pound blue. Peet hammered the throttles in reverse to get the release. A few
minutes after that release, they turned loose a sail. Kyle had his grand slam… and a lot more time to fish.
Late in the day the boys hooked another billfish, thinking it might be a blue. As they got the fish to the boat, it turned out to be a longbill spearfish. Their fourth billfish species on the day. They now had a super slam!
They trolled till dark, releasing more whites. The next move was an obvious one—put out the swordfish gear and hope for the fabled fantasy slam. While grilling steaks, the swordfish rod went off. What happened next was an epic, 7-hour battle. “It was absolutely the most mental experience of my life,” Kyle says. “Driving around all night in the dark fighting this fish.”
The sword came up the surface and sounded again. It was no slouch. The battle continued until finally they got the fish close and the boys sank the gaffs. Just as Kyle was yelling to the crew to not let go, he saw a big mako make its move. The shark took a bite out of the sword’s tail, but they were able to haul the fish in. Oh, and they caught the mako, too. The end result was the first fantasy slam ever caught in US waters.
As the sun was coming up, acres of cutting marlin showed up on the surface, balling bait. Peet and crew couldn’t leave that action behind. They caught another 12 whites by noon before finally calling it quits. The final tally for the trip: 23 white marlin, two longbill spearfish, one blue marlin, one sail, a 345-pound sword and a 247-pound mako.
The young captain had certainly made his mark. Now 32 years old, Peet began fishing offshore with his father Mike when he was ten years old. They mostly charter fished, going offshore just about every week. It didn’t take long for the young angler to enter the charter ranks. At 15 he started working as a second mate. The next summer he did it again.
“I probably fished 120 days a summer for two summers in a row. It was the school of hard knocks for me. I just tried to learn everything I could,” he says.
Kyle graduated from high school in 2005 and went to work full time on a charter boat. He also tried his hand at commercial fishing, doing a two-month stint on a longliner. Peet saved up and bought a 23-foot Regulator, fishing weekends and working in the family business during the week.
“One day my dad came out with me and we got caught in storm,” Peet says.
This experience lead to the decision that it was time for a larger boat. They were still chartering a lot and it made sense to put that money toward a boat of their own. In 2010, after looking at 30 boats, they settled on a 54-foot TaylorMade. Not just any 54 Taylor-Made, but a boat that was previously the Tijereta, having spent six years fishing Venezuela with the legendary Bubba Carter behind the wheel.
“We knew she was a fishy rig,” Peet says. “But she was in rough shape.”
The father and son team began refitting the boat—a process that they’ve plugged away at for the past eight years. The only original thing left is the planking and some of the bottom.
The Peets repowered with Cat C18s, put in a mezzanine, updated the interior, installed new electronics, running gear—you name it. They renamed the boat No Quarter, and decided to charter when not fishing tournaments.
Capt. Butch Davis and Jon Meade, who were fishing on Cerveza and winning a ton of tournaments, fished with the Peets on No Quarter that first summer. Kyle worked the cockpit with John, getting an education in bait rigging and running the pit.
The next summer Kyle shadowed Butch on the bridge.
“I fished with Butch for close to three years,” Peet says. “What I’ve learned and how I apply it was 100 percent through him. He didn’t have to teach me, but he did.”
In 2013, Kyle took over as captain. He had the honor of catching the first white marlin of the year out of Ocean City. Then he won first place in the first tournament he fished, netting the team $330,000. He became the youngest captain to ever win the Ocean City Tuna Tournament. In the following years, the No Quarter has topped the leaderboard in the Ocean City Marlin Club’s annual tally several times.
In 2017. they were named top charter boat and released the most billfish overall, beating out Capt. Jon Duffie on Billfisher, who had dominated for a decade. “It was cool. No one caught 100 that year. Fishing was slow and I was persistent,” Kyle says.
In September, you typically get ten bites or so out of Ocean City, but in 2017 you were lucky if you caught one fish a day. “I kept going and going. It taught me lot of patience. I fished 90 days to catch 80 fish. That’s what it took to beat him.”
The local Ocean City boats are competitive with each other. In 2018, Peet had an active battle with Capt. Gary Stamm, one of his mentors. “We had one of best fishing experiences of my life for the whole month of September,” Kyle says.
The two boats, docked right behind one another, were in the top two spots all month.
“We talked about it every night, where we were going, what we were doing. It was a gentlemanly thing.”
It went down to the wire, and Stamm ended up beating Kyle by two fish. Kyle caught 149 billfish over his 92-day season. Going into the 2020 season, the Peets are phasing No Quarter out of the charter fleet but Kyle still has his eye on the prize.
“I spend hours studying the water,” he says. “I grew up playing ice hockey and they teach you that you don’t want to be where the puck is, you want to be where the puck is going. You want to be ahead of the fish.”
You can bet that when the bite turns on, No Quarter will be on them.
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