The 2021 InTheBite Champion’s Cup is underway and so we sat down with one of the participants to get a better idea of who’s fishing. Tony Huerta, owner of the 58′ Paul Mann Lo Que Sea answers nine of our serious, and not-so-serious questions. Register your boat now for a chance to win it all in the first-ever Champion’s Cup: https://www.reeltimeapps.com/live/tou…
With the Summer season already over, Paul Mann Custom Boats looks back on the splash of their latest build, the 63-foot custom-built Mann Cave, delivered this past March 25, 2020.
The three-stateroom, two-head sportfish yacht features twin C32 1800 BHP at 2300 RPM engines as well as gyro stabilizers and was designed with a full galley in addition to three staterooms and two heads.
With the start of construction on this yacht, Paul Mann Custom Boats also reached another milestone: the celebration of 30 years in boatbuilding.
Manns Harbor, NC — For 32 years, Paul Mann has stood at the helm of Paul Mann Custom Boats (PMCB) with his wife, Robin, by his side. Together, with their exceptionally talented employees, they’ve built magnificent custom sportfishing boats. Throughout the years, Paul has poured his blood, sweat and passion along with his heart and soul into every boat he’s built. He doesn’t know any other way. And now, looking at the possibility of multiple surgeries to correct painful neck issues, Paul and Robin have decided to put boat building on hold and direct their focus on Paul’s health.
“This has been an agonizing decision for me and Robin,” noted Paul. “We’ve got current builds to begin and great prospects for the future, we’ve got wonderful employees, some I’ve worked with more than 20 years–but right now, I have to focus on my health.”
Once Hull 140 and several refurbish jobs are complete, PMCB will take a few weeks to get their facilities cleaned up, organized and looking good before they close the doors for an undisclosed amount of time. They anticipate this happening around the first of June.
“I have all the confidence in the world in my people and their ability to build boats, but I manage the shop and that’s what my customers expect,” says Paul. “I’ve always been a hands-on builder and when they contract for a Paul Mann custom boat, they expect Paul Mann to be at the helm on a day-to-day-basis.”
Recognized throughout the marine and woodworking industry for award winning craftsmanship, Paul Mann Custom Boats, in Manns Harbor NC, has built more than 40 yachts from 52 to 80+ feet LOA. The first hull launched more than 30 years ago, is still active in sportfishing today and serves as a testament to Paul Mann’s “hands-on” dedication to every aspect of the design build process.
Paul’s decision was heavily swayed by the fact that at some point he just wasn’t going to be able to continue working at the level he is accustomed to without this surgery. Instead of working until he was forced to stop, he wanted the decision to be on his own terms and in a way that is respectable to his employees and customers.
The fate of their employees was most important to Paul and Robin as they debated the future. “They’re good people and we truly care about their future,” said Robin. “We know they will be in high demand. The economy will bounce back after this virus and that’s what we’re counting on.”
Paul Mann has not only built custom sportfishing boats for thirty-two plus years – he has built a legacy. If the saying is right, and home really is where your heart is, then Paul has made a home out of every yacht he’s built. As Paul recuperates, he and Robin look forward to keeping up with his customers through e-mail and posts on social media. “We want to hear from you and look forward to reading about your sportfishing adventures,” notes Paul, who closes with, “And when I’m ready to go–I’ll go again!”
Delivered to South Florida, the FULL TIME is one of the latest offerings from Paul Mann. When tested for its final performance numbers, the boat (with tower attached and with 16 crew aboard) went 45 kt (52 MPH) WOT.
Even at 1250 RPMs tests showed over 18 kt. She’s equipped with state-of-the-art 16-cylinder Tier 3 MTU Series 2000 M96 engines. These brawny built for long-distance power plants not only generate up to 2600 HP per engine, but also have a power-to-weight ratio that contributes to fuel efficiency.
FULL TIME’s fit and finish matches her performance numbers. This four-stateroom luxury sportfish yacht features three full heads plus a day head, galley and salon with custom teak joinery, including select areas of solid teak flooring. As you move throughout the spacious layout from the living quarters to the master suite and each stateroom, luxury and conveniences are abundant.
The exterior teak package consists of a solid teak transom, drip molding, toe-rail, cockpit deck, back bulkhead, and mezzanine. In addition, the fly-bridge has all the richness of wraparound seating with teak caps, rod storage, (2) built-in custom freezers and the comforts of a/c, along with a custom teak Palm Beach-style helm pod.
Delivered to South Florida, the FULL TIME is the latest offering from Paul Mann. When tested for it’s final performance numbers the boat (with tower attached and with 16 crew aboard) went 45 kt (52 MPH) WOT. Even at 1250 RPMs tests showed over 18 kt. She’s equipped with state-of-the-art 16-cylinder Tier 3 MTU Series 2000 M96 engines. These brawny built for long-distance power plants not only generate up to 2600 HP per engine, but also have a power-to-weight ratio that contributes to fuel efficiency. [Read more…]
by Charlie Levine
Captain Ricky Wheeler rose up through the ranks in New Jersey learning how to catch everything from fluke to bigeye tuna to blue marlin. Wheeler credits fishing out of this part of the world with shaping the captain he is today. It was that well-rounded fishing education that helped him become a successful captain and launch his own tackle company.
Wheeler, who just turned 34, grew up in Delaware but spent his summers in Wildwood, New Jersey. When he scored a job at South Jersey Marina, home to the MidAtlantic 500, the door to the offshore fishing world opened. “I grew up fishing for striped bass and bluefish in the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays,” he says. “My dad and granddad had boats and back then the fishing for weakfish was really good, but we didn’t do much offshore fishing. We didn’t have the means. When I started working at the marina, I met the right people and got invited offshore. I learned a lot really fast.”
He spent a summer working as a mate on the Super Crew, a 54 Monterey, and caught his first white marlin. “That kind of catapulted my love for offshore fishing,” he says. His next big break occurred while fishing the MidAtlantic tournament with Frank Pettisani who had a 45 Hatteras. “We caught fish, but didn’t win,” Wheeler says. “Frank offered me a job on the way home and had me running that boat right away. I got my captain’s license that winter.”
Wheeler fished with Pettisani for five years, till the end of 2010. “For me, it was great because Frank demands a lot, but I don’t think realizes it. He wants perfection every day. He pushes me to go beyond good and get better,” Wheeler says. “He understands the fishing part of it.”
Wheeler fished nine months out of the year in New Jersey, fishing for whatever was biting, then spent the winter months with customization projects on the boat. “It went well, and I learned a lot,” he says. “We totally customized that boat and fished a lot.”
Pettisani took the boat from Cape May to Venezuela in 2010 and also fished in Aruba. Those were tough times to fish in Venezuela, with issues sourcing fuel for US boats. It was just dangerous to be there. “It’s a shame,” Wheeler says. “It’s a beautiful country and really good fishing.”
After Venezuela, Wheeler headed back to New Jersey and started freelancing. He fished with IGFA world-record holder Maureen Klause. The pair set nine records together. He also ran larger boats for various clients over the summer. In 2011, he spent his winter in the southern Bahamas, fishing with Capt. Joe Trainor on the Over/Under. He also began fishing in Trinidad and Grenada with Pettisani who had moved the boat there. “It was a busy, year-round schedule for four or five years,” Wheeler says. But the entire time, Wheeler was learning more about fishing in various areas and taking what he learned in New Jersey and applying it to new waters.
“In New Jersey, we have long runs and you learn how to read sea-surface temperature and chlorophyll charts, how water moves and how to adapt every day,” he says. “I use what I learned up there and take it everywhere. Fish do the same basic thing anywhere. It may change a bit depending on what they’re eating, but we’ll still target current edges and look for color breaks.”
From Trainor, Wheeler also learned how to keep a boat running in remote settings. There simply aren’t many facilities in the southern Bahamas. If something breaks, you better be able to fix it, and you better have spare parts. “There was no body coming to help us,” Wheeler says. “You’ve got to learn to fix things. I don’t love turning wrenches, I actually dislike it, but I love that I know how to do it. Anything that is broken can be fixed.”
Wheeler started spending time in Grenada in the winter of 2013 with Pettisani and fished the spring months with Joe Trainor in the Bahamas. A self-described computer geek, Wheeler also uses his electronics to the full extent possible. He says that freelancing on different boats really helped him master marine electronics. “Every boat I fished on had different electronics, from the newest to the oldest, so I had to learn all that. It was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me. The same could be said for engines and gensets, they were all different. When you only work on one boat you only learn one system.”
After fishing Grenada for a few seasons, Pettisani decided to go all in. He didn’t want anyone but Wheeler to run the operation. Pettisani stationed the 45 Hatteras on the Spice Island and brought over the Exile (formerly Phat Mann and Soul Candy), a 65 Paul Mann that’s going to fish year-round in Grenada. The operation, Exile Charters (www.exilecharters.com), is ready to make the most of a bite that Wheeler says is quietly home to one of the best fisheries in the Caribbean.
“Nobody there really understands how good the fishing is,” Wheeler says. “It’s just far enough that most American boats don’t go, but you can get direct flights from New York and Miami. Our clientele can be there in a few hours.” According to Wheeler, prime time in Grenada runs from December through April with February standing out as the peak of the action. “We’ll see sails balling bait and you can get 25-plus shots a day. The first three days of February we fished five-hour days and had 15 shots with blues in the mix.” The yellowfin bite is also strong, offering some variety and the action is just five miles offshore.
When fishing remote locations, you sometimes need to get a little creative with the spread. Wheeler had been using what he calls a Party Hat, which added some flash to an O-ring circle hook ballyhoo rig. “I wanted to be able to add some color to the ballyhoo, especially for tuna,” he says. His Party Hat accomplished that goal and didn’t impede the circle hook hookup ratio on the drop back.
He met his future business partner on a liveaboard charter and they started Fish Downsea (www.fishdownsea.com), offering a line of Party Hats, Dredge Shads, Mojo rigs and more. “I would make my own tackle as a hobby,” Wheeler says. “We kept expanding on it and we’re about to start a line of trolling lures. This season I’m going to try a good array of shapes I like. We made some molds, and we’re going to try them. If I’m going to pull something, why not make it mine? If I can pull it, I can promote it.”
Charlie Levine is the publisher of FishTrack.com and the author of the fishing book, “Sucked Dry: The Struggle is Reel,” available on Amazon.
Exile Charters a.k.a. Big Fish Grenada is a charter program based out of Grenada where the offshore fishing has the potential to be super slamming! In as little as a 5-10 mile run you can have sailfish balling bait, big Alison Tunas skying out on flying fish, Blue Marlin chasing the tunas and skipjacks, and White Marlin and spearfish roaming around at the same time. Grenada is a must fish location that offers year round fishing with it’s prime being December through May where you can expect multiple shots at sailfish, and the potential for a Grand Slam is very real any day as well as the opportunity to get strapped into the harness on a big Alison Tuna which are typically 100-200 pounders. Grenada also offers great wahoo fishing on it’s steep drops around the island year round as well as some good mahi action at random.
If you really want to experience Grenada’s fishery and get a real shot at seeing everything its waters have to offer, we recommend coming to fish 3-5 full days. Big Fish Grenada offers Full Day (8+ hours) and Half Day (5 hour) fishing trips on Exile 65 with Captain Ricky Wheeler and crew. Trips available on Exile with Dr. Frank Pettisani and others are Full Day (8+ hours) and Half Day (4 hour) fishing trips. Full Day Fishing Trips are highly recommended as it gives the crew the opportunity to get you on the fish and stay on them. At Big Fish Grenada, we want to get you on the fish and stay on them to increase the odds of catching you a fish that will forever remain engraved in your memory. Who wouldn’t want more time fishing on the beautiful blue waters of Grenada?
Not only is Grenada a must fish location, but it is becoming a must visit destination as well! Grenada is a very fun and safe island with plenty of flight options from the United States. It boasts various levels of accommodations from modest beachfront hotels to lavish villas and resorts. Grand Anse Beach has been labeled as one of the top ten beaches in the world! Accommodations are a close drive from the airport including the Big Fish Grenada Boats (20 minutes from the airport). If you’re a foodie, look no further as Grenada is known as the Spice Island and shows why at the many restaurants around the island that offer various choices of cuisines. Not everyone in your group looking to go fishing? There are plenty of activities to do aside from fishing such as snorkeling, diving, dune buggy tours, visiting Grenada’s rainforest and hiking to the exotic waterfalls, and so much more.
Boats available for charter with Big Fish Grenada are Exile 65, a 65’ Paul Mann Custom Sportfishing Boat, and Exile, a 45’ Hatteras Sportfishing Boat that we have customized to be a sportfishing machine. Both boats are incredible fishing platforms and offer the comfort and extra amenities to make your day on the water very enjoyable. You can be sure to have a trip to remember with Big Fish Grenada when you couple these boats with Crews that have so much fishing experience that shines through in top tournament finishes in numerous locations, a pure love for fishing, and the willingness to share their knowledge and the amazing experience of being on the water with others everyday.
Exile Charters has a lot of experience in the charter industry starting with Dr. Frank Pettisani and his boat Exile that spent the 90s running trips in Venezuela with Captain Luis Suarez. In the 2000s, Exile came back to New Jersey where Dr. Pettisani found Captain Ricky Wheeler. These two fished together for quite some time in New Jersey placing in many tournaments together and running charters until Ricky took the boat back to the Southern Caribbean again in 2010. Frank fished in Grenada almost every Winter since then with Exile and has placed 3 out of the last 4 times he has fished in the Spice Island Billfish Tournament in Grenada winning once with Captain Jimmy Grant at the helm, once with Captain Ricky Wheeler at the helm, and last year he placed 3rd with himself at the helm. Whether he is the Captain, the Mate, or the Angler, he is a major asset to the crew. Dr. Pettisani is also a great teacher for those looking to sharpen their skills as an angler and does whatever possible to help his guests have an amazing time on the water.
In the Summer of 2016 Dr. Pettisani acquired the 65’ Paul Mann Sportfishing Boat he named Exile 65, and Captain Ricky Wheeler has been fishing it nonstop ever since running trips in New Jersey, Mexico, the Bahamas, and now in Grenada’s incredible offshore fishery. Captain Ricky Wheeler is no stranger to the offshore fishing scene. Ricky has set 10 IGFA Line Class Records (8 of which are still holding) and 5 IGFA All Tackle Length Records as a Captain. He also has plenty of tournament wins and placements to his credit as both a Captain and a Mate, and continues to be highly competitive year in and year out. His passion and high level of enthusiasm for sportfishing shines through on every trip which makes him an absolute pleasure to fish with. He loves to teach and help people get on the fish of a lifetime every opportunity he gets. Fishing is all about having fun on the water, and Captain Ricky Wheeler wants to be sure everyone is having as much fun as him on every trip.
Grenada is sure to offer something fun for everyone, so come down with the family, with your friends, or even a couples trip and enjoy what this amazing island has to offer. From fishing with Big Fish Grenada to all of the extracurricular activities, Grenada will not disappoint!
Paul Mann Custom Boats Announces Construction of New 63′ Sportfish
MANNS HARBOR, NC: Construction is now underway at the Paul Mann Custom Boats facility in Manns Harbor, NC, on Hull 140, an exciting new three-stateroom, two-head 63-foot Sportfish yacht. Paul Mann Custom Boats is celebrating its 30th year in boatbuilding with the beginning of this new yacht.
This handsome boat will soon be a beautiful sight in the Gulf of Mexico and in sportfishing destinations and resorts around the world. Her home port will be Sarasota, FL.
When complete, Hull 140 will feature twin C32 ACERT 1600 BHP at 2300 RPM
engines, gyro stabilizers, a 1700+-gallon fuel capacity, plus a 300-400-gallon freshwater system. She’ll also sport a full galley and a roomy salon with all the comforts of a luxury home. Much of the interior detail is still to be determined by the owners, as well as Paul and his engineering team, but teak accents will be on the exterior areas and cherry for joinery.
“We are very excited and grateful to have the build for the new 63′ in this our 30th year,” states Paul Mann, builder and CEO. “She will be well-appointed, fully equipped, and tournament ready, but also designed and prepared for traveling in comfort and style to any desired destination for family fun!”
Mann’s multiple-award winning craftsmanship is recognized throughout the marine and woodworking industries. Over its 30 years, the Paul Mann company has evolved from building functional, seakindly, and great running boats for the North Carolina coast to becoming a true custom boatbuilding industry leader, creating magnificent fishing yachts that are home-away-from-home anywhere in the world. Every single build provides owners with superior performance.
As the construction moves forward on this fabulous yacht, detailed build photos of the process will be available at www.paulmanncustomboats.com
Here is JICHI, the new Paul Mann 61-foot running pretty off Miami–one badass, beautiful one-of-a-kind yacht that is filled with today’s technology and components, the latest contemporary style, multitudes of comfortable touches and above all the most up-to-date fishing techniques and functions. This recently launched Paul Mann custom resembles a bullet in the ocean with her breathtaking, exhilarating performance and 40 kt cruise!
Paul Mann Custom Boats Announces Construction of New 76-foot Sportfish, FullTime
Manns Harbor, NC: Construction is now underway at Paul Mann Custom Boat’s 40,000 square foot facility in Manns Harbor, NC, on FullTime, an exciting new four-stateroom, four-head 76-foot sportfishing yacht.
The yacht is a collaboration between Paul Mann and Ullberg Yacht Design of Winter Park, FL.
When complete, FullTime will feature twin MTU 2600 HP engines, gyrostabilizers, and a 3000-gallon (+/-) fuel capacity. FulllTime will also be equipped with a deluxe full-sized tower by Palm Beach Towers.
“We are very excited and grateful to have the build for the new 76’ FullTime,” states Paul Mann, builder and CEO. “She will be well-appointed, fully equipped and tournament ready but also designed and prepared for traveling in comfort and style to any desired destination for family fun!”
Mann’s multiple-award winning craftsmanship is recognized throughout the marine and woodworking industries. Over its 28 years, the Paul Mann company has evolved from building functional, seakindly, and great running boats for the North Carolina coast to becoming a true custom boatbuilding industry leader, creating magnificent fishing yachts that are home-away-from-home anywhere in the world. Every single build provides owners with superior performance.
As the construction moves forward on this fabulous yacht, detailed build photos of the process will be available at www.paulmanncustomboats.com