We take a look back at InTheBite’s Captain of the Year winners…
2019 International Division Captain of the Year
Capt. Jason Parker, Reel Steel, 1550 Total Points
Bermuda Billfish Blast, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Bermuda Big Game Classic, 2nd Place, 300 Pts.
Sea Horse Anglers Club Tournament, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Bermuda Triple Crown Champion, 250 Pts.
Everybody loves Bermuda. It’s just that Capt. Jason Parker on the 66-foot Hines Farley, Reel Steel, has a few more reasons to like it than most. After three straight years of fishing the Bermuda summer tournament season, and doing fairly well, the team exploded in 2019, taking two first place finishes and a second to take home the Bermuda Triple Crown Championship trophy. This impressive performance against some of our sport’s toughest competition earned Capt. Jason Parker the Top Captain of the Year in the Los Sueños International Division.
“We had a really good season,” says Parker. “I couldn’t be any happier. In Bermuda, we were just regular lure fishing. I’d like to say we were doing something different, but we just made the most of our opportunities and luck was on our side. We prefer to bait fish, we are primarily dead bait fishermen, light-tackle guys, but we can adapt to whatever. I used some of my friend’s experience and knowledge when I first came to Bermuda.
Since it was more of a lure fishing place, I relied on guys like Andy Moyes to help us a bit. But we know to lure fish and we went out there and lure fished and had three good seasons with this last year being the best of
it. I had a good crew – Drake Cropper– and a good angler, my owner, Mike Verzaleno. I wish I could say I’m the greatest and all that, but that’s just not the case. It was a really cool experience for us though, grinding it out every day and just doing what we know works.”
Parker started his sea-going career fishing out of Ocean City, Maryland. “I met Chris Bowie [the young mate who lost his life while wiring a blue marlin] and he kind of showed me the ropes, introduced me to the right people,” says Parker. “He also taught me how to act and carry yourself in this business. Work hard, keep a clean head, and do it because you love to do it.
That’s the number one thing…you really got to love it. Fishing is the reward for all the waxing and cleaning and being away from home. You’re not here to have a party every day.” Being away from home makes up a large part big game sportfishing these days and Parker says he owes a lot of his success to his wife. “I really owe a lot to my wife. She’s a very trusting person.
She takes care of everything at home which allows me to do my job to my best ability. We have been married now for almost 20 years, and we are a team. She gets the crappy end of the stick because she’ll be eating at home alone while we are all out at nice restaurant somewhere. If I had to worry about paying the bills or worrying about her being happy every five minutes, I could not do what I do.”
Parker is also lucky in his working life…he says he’s never worked for someone that wasn’t a really nice guy. “I always believe that if you are a good person, then good things will come to you. I’ve been lucky to work with some really great owners,” says Parker. “Sean Healey, who owned the 84-foot Bayliss, Orion, was a dream of a guy who took us all down to fish in Costa Rica.
I also worked a season up in Massachusetts giant tuna fishing with Cookie Murray. I passed up a chance to fish in Venezuela to take that job, but I’d still do it again,” he says.
“Maybe they will open up Venezuela again someday.” Parker says his favorite place to fish is wherever they are biting, but he has a special affinity for Bermuda because “there’s a chance to see some really big ones!”
Parker also likes fishing around Ocean City and really likes Isla Mujeres, Mexico. “Isla’s a lot of fun for us…we are going back in mid-January for six weeks or so. I like a lot of other places too; my list is probably the same as everybody else’s.”
Parker says he’s very reluctant to accept any accolades, but he’s grateful for the recognition. “I know that there a lot of really great captains and mates out there who don’t fish a lot of tournaments who deserve to be recognized as well,” he says.
Do you have any comments or questions for us? We’d love to hear from you.