Record setting fishing for Cape May yesterday (August 30, 2018).. the Reelin’ Feelin’ crew with 37 whites and a blue on their day trip. Nice work boys!
Record setting fishing for Cape May yesterday (August 30, 2018).. the Reelin’ Feelin’ crew with 37 whites and a blue on their day trip. Nice work boys!
The Fishing For Muscular Dystrophy (FFMD) team is based in Maryland and competes in most of the big tournaments in the Mid Atlantic and the Florida Sailfish Circuit. Paul Robertson and his sister Nicole, were both diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy and struggle as their condition progresses. Paul is the Captain of the FFMD Everglades 43, and has a dedicated crew that travels to do tournaments.
While the illness comes with mobility challenges, Paul is dedicated to not only become a victor and voice for muscular dystrophy, but also use his passion for fishing to increase research funding, awareness, and support for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). FFMD have developed fundraising activities, offshore fishing sponsorships and tournament winnings to directly collaborate with the Muscular Dystrophy Association to find a cure for neuromuscular disease while also offering funds to raise awareness and support for those currently affected by Muscular Dystrophy.
by Elliott Stark
“You know, that’s something that’s really, really important. Sometimes, it just doesn’t cross people’s minds,” says Capt. Jimmy Waller of Orange Beach, Alabama. Waller, whose nickname is “PeeWee” runs his 60’ Big Adventure. The topic of fishing etiquette touched off something special for Capt. Jimmy. “We have been cobia fishing, spotted a fish and had people on jet skis pull up to the boat and ask us what we are doing. One time it happened in a tournament. We were working a fish and had a guy and a girl come up to us on a jet ski. They pulled up to us and said, ‘Ahoy!’ You can’t make this stuff up. This will be my 36th year in the charter business. I’ve seen everything from pornos being made in the salon to just about whatever you can imagine.”
While it may sound pretty evident that making a porno on someone else’s boat crosses a line, the topic of fishing etiquette and how to behave on and around boats can be complicated subject. Those who get it right will enjoy return invitations or repeated free lance stints, those who don’t understand might wind up wade fishing. To determine the expectations of behavior aboard boats, we have surveyed experts from across the sportfishing landscape.
Social Media and Winning with Class
Captains Jeff Shoults and Johnny Dorland have decades of experience tournament fishing in the Gulf. Shoults and his Destin, Florida-based crew on the Mollie won the 2017 Gulf Coast Triple Crown. Dorland is the owner and captain of the Cotton Patch and the director of the Orange Beach Billfish Classic. When asked of the rudest or strangest behavior aboard his boat, Dorland’s two examples were clear. “I had a Tampax put down the toilet once… that wasn’t good. One time we had a guy get completely naked and jump off the tower. We were trolling for marlin 100-miles offshore. He had an inoperable brain tumor… and still does. That was 15-years ago and he’s still not right,” Johnny says with a laugh.
Shoults has expectations for behavior as well. “Mates are not allowed to post anything on social media. They’re also not to discuss what we do aboard the Mollie with other people. The Mollie is like Las Vegas, what happens aboard stays here,” he says. He also expects a certain manner of behavior on the dock – especially when enjoying tournament success.
“We keep the stereos turned down and act like we’ve won before. Don’t show your ass when you win. It’s like Bear Bryant said when a kid scored a touchdown and jumped all over the place. ‘Do you plan on ever scoring another touchdown? Well, then act like it.’ We also keep the boat looking nice, no matter how much we’ve been fishing. Even if you’ve been fishing hard, the boat shouldn’t show it.”
Dorland shares the social media sentiment. “I once had a mate post everything on social media. When I got back the dock, everybody was telling me how big the fish I caught was and how many ducks I shot. I told him that we don’t put things on Facebook on this boat. He told me that he posted to Facebook on his time, so I told him he could work on his own time too.” Dorland’s approach is pragmatic. “If you don’t act right on the boat, you don’t come back. If you get really drunk, you don’t come back.”
A Lesson in Kentucky Manners
Captain Jen Copeland is a wonderful conversationalist, a great captain and she grew up in Kentucky – folks from Kentucky have a natural understanding of the whole manners thing. Copeland, the captain of the Three C’s, an Ocean Reef, Florida-based Viking, delivers her perspective charmingly. For fishermen (mates or captains) working on someone else’s boat, Copeland recommends, “If you’re invited to fish on another boat, always leave it in better shape than you found it. And always offer to help clean and shammy the boat. If you know how, you should be helping!”
For angling guests, charters or the boss’ friends, Copeland suggests the following, “Learn to use the head – don’t leave anybody any gifts. Rods off the teak. Remember, when fishing is slow, don’t keep asking when we’re going to catch something. Nobody wants to catch fish more than the crew,” she says. “If you’re a guest, always bring beer.”
“If you’re sick, the rule is ‘Any side but inside!’ Mates don’t care. They’ve all been puked on before. I’d rather you puke in my boot – and I’ve had my boot puked in – than have to clean up after you inside.” Copeland’s ascription of rules comes from unique experience. When asked about the rudest thing she has endured on a boat, Jen didn’t hesitate. “Puking in the sink. His excuse was that he was taking a …. (bowel movement) and got sick. My mate had to go clean it up because the guy was too sick to go back inside.”
“Also, don’t assume that everyone operates with an open checkbook. Let’s not throw away the 15’ fluoro leader with three inches of chafing on the end. Tournament fishing is one thing, but when fun fishing, why not reuse the sailfishing hooks for mutton fishing the next day? And don’t slam the hatches. As my friend Brad Goodrich would say, ‘We have to use that tomorrow.’”
The Importance of Being Respectful: A Mate’s Key to Career Success
InTheBite’s 2016 Gulf Coast Captain of the Year Devin Potts runs the Sea Mixer, a 61-foot Spencer, out of Orange Beach. Devin is blessed with the ability to catch big blue marlin consistently in tournaments and the capacity to state things clearly and directly. “What bothers me is genuine complaining. A captain needs to be a part time psychiatrist to keep a crew together anyway, a mate complaining doesn’t help. We are very upfront with the schedule in our operation. The boss is liable to want to fish at any time – it could be the day after the tournament and he could decide he wants to fish. To me, his desire to want to fish is what keeps us employed. I’ve never had it happen to me, but I really don’t like to hear mates complaining about having to go fishing or saying ‘I don’t get paid enough for this.’ You don’t get paid enough for what? Even if it is warranted, shut up and do your job. That’s the way I look at it,” Potts relays.
Another topper on the list of Devin’s irritating mate behaviors is one that came up many times. “You hire a guy and he says, this is how we did it…” Captain Joey Birbeck on the You Never Know reaffirms this sentiment. “We bring one two extra mates for tournament season. We have a style of fishing that has been successful. Don’t come on someone else’s boat and tell the mate or the captain how to do their jobs. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason and you’re here to help. I never quit learning, but please don’t try to change our program.”
How does Capt. Jen Copeland feel about unsolicited advice from mates? “If I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you,” she jokes. “The worst thing I experienced from a mate was back talking from the cockpit. If you’ve got something to say, come tell me on the bridge. I can’t have that happen in front of the boss and his family or friends and my regular crew.”
Year in, year out Capt. Patrick Ivie and the Breathe Easy find themselves on the leaderboard across the Gulf circuit. “These days, it’s hard to find somebody that’s proactive and wants to do the job. Not many young guys grew up fishing like we did. I like guys that are eager to learn and excited. Finding someone who is eager to learn is important.” How should a new mate or a mate working on a new boat approach the job? Ivie describes, “You want to be as helpful as possible and ready for any work – from scrubbing toilets to gaffing fish.” Captain Peter B. Wright often advises young mates or those who are just starting on a new job to volunteer for the worst jobs. The crew will take notice and this kind of help goes a long way.
Etiquette While Fishing
Conducting yourself properly while on the water is also an important consideration that sometimes has serious consequences. Devin Potts describes one of the more consequential sides to Alabama cobia fishing. “When it comes to cobia fishing around here, it is serious. Talking about the public pier, if you’re in a boat and you get close to the pier – the bigger the boat, the bigger the target. They will sling giant bank sinkers at you. They have those long spinning rods and will nick the line (so that line breaks when they cast) and rear back and catapult them at you. If one hit you, it would kill you. I always thought Steve-O from Jackass should put on full football pads and run a boat past them…”
The live baiting for blue marlin around the rigs in the Gulf has reinforced a sense of cooperation by the captains who fish them. As Devin Potts puts it, “You’re better off working together than trying to conquer the world by yourself.” Patrick Ivie describes it similarly, with one exception. “If you’re live baiting the rigs, everybody wants to fish their zone – you take your turn and clear out when someone hooks up. I’ve hooked up and had boats not move – especially supply boats. I’ve hailed a supply boat on every channel on the radio asking one to move. I wish they’d read this article.” For a great story about hailing a work boat while hooked up to a blue marlin, check out the “Old Salts Rule” feature.
Boat Guests, Expectations for Charters
Adam LaRosa owns the New Jersey-based Canyon Runner Charters. In 2017, his operation ran 112 canyon trips. It suffices to say that few people have a better perspective on etiquette for would-be charter guests than LaRosa. “The thing that gets me is when a charter gets on the boat and immediately questions the captain. Charter fishing is an odd situation. Generally, in business the customer is always right – but not when you’re 100-miles offshore at night. Safety is the most important thing and the captain and crew are charged with keeping everyone safe,” LaRosa relates.
“Another thing is mistreating the boat. People sometimes think that because they charter for one day, they can do whatever they want. They don’t understand how expensive things are. A guy asks if he can light up a cigarette on the bridge while we’re running 30-knots. He doesn’t realize that the cushion he’s sitting on costs $5,000.”
To avoid confusion, and preserve his sanity, LaRosa sends out a rules list to all would-be charters. The list is great. Each item it contains has a story that prompted it. It is also a good lesson for most any would-be boat guest. It outlines when the captain will know the weather and be able to predict time of departure, leaving the black soled shoes at home, no liquor or wine offshore, and the restriction on bringing reels that are completely spooled with braid. He also prohibits glass – which can break and cut people and destroy pumps.
Capt. Patrick Ivie appreciates guests who help the crew with little things – especially during double over nighter tournaments in the Gulf. “Cleaning the boat is a team effort. Having guests who will help with cooking and cleaning when we’re fishing all day goes a long way.” Joey Birbeck seconds this. “Your mom doesn’t work here, so nothing goes in the sink.” Guests can also help be vigilant while offshore, “If you see or smell something that is out of place, please tell us.”
Life’s too Short to Be Rude
Generally speaking, people go fishing to have a good time. Being around nice, respectful people really helps this cause. A bit of consideration for the boat, the captain and the crew goes a long way. Don’t puke in the salon and if you’re fishing in Orange Beach, don’t run your boat within a quarter mile of a pier.
Waste Knot Wins the 15th Annual VBBT with a 683-Pound Blue Marlin, Five White Marlin Releases
The 15th annual Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament wrapped up Saturday night and closed the chapter on a historic event. A record 80 boats competed this year for a new benchmark $620,000 in prize money. For the first time, two blue marlin were weighed and one of them made a huge difference for the Manteo, North Carolina team, Waste Knot. Angler Ed Groce boated a 683-pound blue and combined with five white marlin releases, gave the team the top score (1,033 points) and the top payout, $282,000.
2018 MidAtlantic Comes to a Close in Record Setting Fashion!
The 2018 MidAtlantic, the 27th edition of sportfishing’s “Main Event,” came to an exciting close last night for the 157 participating boats and crews with award ceremonies featuring lavish buffet dinners and record cash payouts for numerous winners celebrated at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland. The week saw numerous records set once again including a cash purse of well over $3.36 million up for grabs, record single payouts for the top winners in the white marlin and tuna categories and a record number of blue marlin (55) caught and well over 750 white marlin released!
The final day of the 2018 MidAtlantic dawned sunny and clear with a light breeze and full moon in the sky. Once again, a bit of tournament history was set as for the first time in the event’s 27-year history the entire fleet of 157 boats was eligible to fish on the final day. Day Five saw several changes on the leaderboard on what has traditionally been called Moving Day at the MidAtlantic. This event was the first billfish tournament to use the phrase in reference to the major shake-ups which occur on the leaderboard and this year would be no different. Sea conditions improved dramatically from the previous day and the billfish bite continued its scorching pace.
The most significant changes occurred in the white marlin category when Captain Doug Ortlip backed Sean O’Donnell’s Cape May-based Got Game to the scales at Canyon Club in Cape May and weighed a 78-pounder for angler O’Donnell to jump to the top of the leaderboard. O’Donnell and crew later in the evening accepted the winner’s check of $905,408 in Cape May, a record payout for white marlin! Got Game’s 78-pounder pushed Thomas Colquhoun’s Special Situation from Ocean City, Maryland and Justin Branning’s 3’s Enough from Wall, New Jersey, leaders from Day One of the tournament, into a tie for second place as each had weighed white marlin of 73-pounds. 3’s Enough received $293,712 while Special Situation netted $134,006. Worthy of note is the difference in payouts reflects the level of side bets, known as Calcuttas, each participant enters. Another significant change to the leaderboard on Day Five occurred when Captain Paul Robertson weighed a 69-pound white marlin for angler Joey Hurley from their Dayton, Maryland-based FFMD and moved into a tie for third place with Leonard Tallo’s Gusto from Islamorada, Florida. For their efforts Gusto received $169,466 while FFMD netted $141,376.
InTheBite Dock Talk with Brad’s Bluewater Gaffs
Hosted by Digital Editor, Rachel Chesnes.
Brad develops custom-made Calcutta bamboo gaffs. Hand crafted, light weight, strong, and beautifully designed.
Dock Talk interview for the full scoop:
CURRENT STANDINGS as of FRIDAY AUGUST 24 at 10:00am:
DAY 4 UPDATE:
Day Four dawned clear and breezy for the 124 boats heading offshore in the 2018 MidAtlantic tournament and crews were anxious to get back to the canyons. The back-end of the cold front that kept the entire fleet tied to the dock for the first time in the event’s 27-year history on Day Three left sea conditions a bit sporty for most of the day though it was reported conditions began to improve late in the afternoon today.
The big news of the day came in the white marlin category where Captain Bob Grant wheeled Leonard Tallon’s Gusto based out of Islamorada, Florida into third place after weighing a 69-pounder. Captain Jason Genthner had the Tighten Up from Mount Airy, Maryland on the board briefly with a 67-pound white marlin for 14-year old angler Nick Keller but that fish was bumped off the board by Gusto shortly after it was weighed. John Phelan’s Special Situation from Palm Beach, Florida and Justin Branning’s 3’s Enough from Wall, New Jersey remain atop the leaderboard with white marlin of 73-pounds.
As with the previous two fishing days, numerous blue marlin were released though none were weighed today and the category remains wide open.
SAVE THE DATE. Sept. 13, join InTheBite for our first ever Sportfishing Social! Come rub elbows with our industry of crews, captains, owners, fishermen.. All are welcomed! Shoot us a message if interested in attending, we hope to see you there!
U.S. Superyacht Association Applauds Long Overdue Change Brought on With Bipartisan Support
With the stroke of President Trump’s pen on Monday, August 13, 2018, patriotic yacht owners are now able to fly an American flag and register their yachts – over 300 GT – in the United States. This new legislation modernizes outdated laws and brings the United States in line with current times. “This has been a significant issue that the U.S. Superyacht Association (USSA) has spent nearly a decade working to correct,” said Kate Pearson, USSA Chair and vice president of business development of Safe Harbor Marinas. “We are thrilled to have been an integral part of helping to finally make it a reality and are pleased that yacht owners will no longer be chased from American shores to other countries to flag their vessels.”
Until now, U.S. law defined a yacht as a vessel whose volume was a maximum of 300 GT. That law was written in 1920, but was never updated. Americans owning yachts exceeding the 300-GT limit were only able to fly the U.S. flag if they registered their yacht as a commercial vessel. However, commercial vessels such as cargo ships were, and are, held to different operational and construction standards than recreational ones. Therefore, many owners and their advisors did not find this to be a reasonable solution. While a handful of owners in recent decades did pursue acts of Congress for their personal vessels as exemptions, this route is both arduous and expensive and not the right solution for most superyacht owners.
The legislation, an amendment included on the bill that was signed by the President, received bipartisan support in Congress during its development. “I am very pleased that the President has signed legislation that will increase the
number of large recreational vessels which fly the U.S. flag,” remarked Congressman Duncan Hunter, representing California’s 50th District and chair of the subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. “This will lead to more U.S. jobs in the ship repair and supporting industries.”
“The economic impact of more large yachts flagging U.S. could be significant, as these large vessels would now provide more high-profile opportunities for American crew, keep yachts traveling in U.S. waters, and spend more time in our repair and refit yards,” stated Kitty McGowan, president of the USSA.
American superyacht owners are delighted to see the outdated law receive an overhaul as well. “For at least a half century, ridiculous regulations prohibited American citizens from displaying their patriotism by flying an American flag on their yacht,” remarked Tilman J. Fertitta, a longtime passionate yacht owner, star of the TV show Billion Dollar Buyer and sole owner of Landry’s Restaurants and the Houston Rockets. “With the new legislation, that ends. American yacht owners can now proudly proclaim their citizenship on their yachts. Thank you to all those that made this possible and to President Trump for eliminating over 50 years of bureaucratic red tape. This is truly an historic day for American yacht owners and the yachting industry.”
“Getting this accomplished wouldn’t have been possible without the vision and support of Mr. Fertitta, an American yachtsman now building his fifth yacht, and his team, who wanted nothing more than to register his yacht in the United States,” continued McGowan. “Mr. Fertitta could have gotten an exemption for his yacht individually, but he chose to help the entire U.S. industry and for that, we are extremely grateful. This legislative action, spearheaded by Congressman Rob Bishop of Utah, is the icing on the cake that dozens of volunteers from our organization have been working on for years and is evidence that cooperative work between both the private and public sectors can truly effect positive change for our industry in the United States.”
While a specific U.S. Large Yacht Code is now being developed by the U.S. Coast Guard to go into effect in 2020, in the interim, a private yacht over 300 GT that is MCA compliant, will now be able to fly the U.S. flag. “We look forward to continuing our efforts with the U.S. Coast Guard to help develop and establish the new U.S. flag registry as the best in the world, said Jay Dayton, USSA Advocacy Co-Chair.”