Capt. Nick Carullo, Showtime
Final Sail, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Quest for the Crest Champion, 250 Pts.
Dust ‘Em Off Sailfish Warmup, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Like many of the South Florida tournament headliners, Captain Nick Carullo takes bait fishing and preparation nearly as seriously as he does catching sailfish. Leading a high powered team that cruises around on a boat powered by 1400 horsepower, Carullo details all that goes into creating a successful kite fishing campaign.
“A lot goes into bait catching and prep work. Quality bait can be the key to catching one or two more fish than your competition,” Carullo says. His preferred arsenal includes goggle eyes, threadfin herring and sardines. “We have our bait pins at the dock. We dip baits into and out of the pin one at a time. Generally, baits will be penned up anywhere from three to six weeks before the tournament. They are fed every day.”
When traveling to fish a tournament in Palm Beach or elsewhere, bait transport is a major undertaking. “For tournaments, we like to have about 150 white baits—threadfin and sardines—per day. For goggle eyes, we try to have about 70 per day. You always want to have more in case of die off. When we travel, we bring 400 herring, 200-300 sardines, and 200 gogs. The boat has three wells, but we bring two 100-gallon wells on deck that are removable. Each of these can hold 150 baits.”
“In the average year, we’ll spend more time bait fishing than fishing for sailfish,” Carullo says. This investment of time, resources and care for the bait has paid off in spades. “For your average tournament, we’ll generally fish the weekend before and the two days prior to the tournament. This allows us to scout the area and know what’s going on.”
How does Carullo’s time pre-fishing tournaments compare to his investment in bait fishing? “We generally spend between four and eight days bait fishing for each tournament. It’s a constant struggle to keep the bait perfect.”
Given the many moving parts and the sizable nature of the investment of time and resources that goes into keeping everything tournament ready, having a committed group is very important. The Showtime’s tournament team consists of angler Joe Fernandez (owner), Frankie Villasante, Sarah Melia, and Doug Mientkiewicz. Manning the cockpit are James Clear, Kyle Sherman and Jorge Corzo. The team’s tournament line up is rounded out by Jason Spiewak on the camera.
Even before Nick’s first year at the helm of the Showtime, he fished with the mates for a long time. “Great chemistry and knowing what everyone is doing in different situations, without having to talk about it is very important. The chemistry comes into play when we are setting up on a free jumper, switching from a kite to a flat line or resetting on a fish with the kites out,” Carullo explains.
His approach to catching sailfish with the kites is one that accounts for a variety of variables. “Covering the right depths with the kites, especially as it relates to the wind is important. You want to stagger your kites so that the baits will cover different depths. Some people will deploy their kites so that all their baits are on the same depth profile,” says Nick.
Nick’s south Florida roots runs deep. He grew up in Miami fishing with his father. After cutting his teeth on his father’s small boat snapper fishing, he began crewing for one of South Florida’s finest captains. “I worked for Capt. Ray Rosher for three years. It was right after high school and during college. I got my first captain’s job right after working for Ray, when I was 23.”
While Nick has been a consistent name among the leaderboards of the Quest for the Crest Series for the past few years, 2019 was his first year aboard the Showtime. “I’ve know the Joe (the owner of the Showtime) for ten years. Right before the 2019 season, the owner I was working for pulled out. I called Joe and asked him if he’d like to put a team together at the last minute. He said yes and it’s really worked out for us.”
When asked if there were any moments from the 2019 season that stand out, Nick is circumspect. “The last one… the Dust ‘Em Off Tournament was really special. It was that tournament that wound up winning us the Captain of the Year Award. We were in third place going into the last minute (of the last day) of the tournament. We needed a Hail Mary fish. We hooked the winning fish with 30 seconds left in the tournament,” Carullo recalls. “That fish won us the award.”
“It was a perfect reminder to always fish hard. You really never know how far your can go. If you just always fish hard, and your team is prepared, good things can happen.”
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