Thirty years ago in 1988 I had fished the summer on the 46’ Hatteras Polish Princess with Capt. Howie Vermilye. We had a fun summer, big eyes, white marlin, makos, fluke and enough laughs to last a lifetime. We were in Nantucket when I got a phone call from Capt. Wink Doerzbacher, he was in Gloucester giant tuna fishing and his mate, Anthony Mendillo, was heading back to school and needed someone for the end of August and September. The shot to giant fish on a 43’ Meritt with Wink who was very consistent and fished hard was too much to pass up. So I reconnoitered my seabag, camera gear and flew to Boston then hitched a ride to Brown’s Dock in Gloucester.
We had a heck of a season. Anthony fished with us practically right to his first class and we had some good fishing. We followed the fish and moved our operation to the Cape to finish out the tuna season. Making enough wages I was able to take up an invitation I had from Capt. Peter B. Wright to come to Australia and fish the Great Barrier Reef for Giant Black Marlin. During this time I made a deal with Ed Murray of Murray Brothers to shoot a video of the trip for his Marlin Mania video series.
I had spent several previous springs fishing aboard the 42’ Merritt Cat’s Meow in Bimini/Cat Cay for Tuna Season chasing the bluefin migrating through the milky white sands of Tuna Alley and had spent a good deal of time talking with Pete and Charles Perry, who was working the deck with me on the Cat’s Meow, as well as Australians Dennis Hayes, Laurie Wright and Errol “”Snudger” Shembri who were all in Bimini for the heavy tackle tuna season. Those evenings on the front porch of the Compleat Angler having cold beers and playing the ring toss while talking fishing and chasing tunas in the day was everything I wanted to be doing at the time and Pete’s invitation was a dream come true.
I went on and fished the season on The custom 40’ Woodnut, Duyfken with Pete and his deckhands the late Dough Haigh and Mikey Latham. When not shooting I helped in the cockpit and was a third hand. We caught some nice ones and put a pretty damn good film together, the third in the Marlin Mania series titled, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef: The Trip of a Lifetime. A copy is in the film library at the IGFA.
So here it is 30 years on and I’m still chasing those dreams of big fish. I’m on the plane heading west with stops in San Francisco, Honolulu and Sydney to do some neat stuff and enjoy this life a bit before getting to Cairns and aboard the game boat and mothership once more in search of the big girls. This time I’ll fish with another old buddy, great fisherman and top pro, Capt. Laurie Wright. Laurie was a deckie for Pete along with Doug Haigh one season when they caught 5 granders in 2 days. An incredible run of big fish. I can hardly wait, so here we go!