Montauk Charter Fishing on the Venture
The following two stories are true "fish stories" related by Captain Barry. They are separate occurrences experienced on the Venture and written by the Captain, himself...
During my 35+ years of fishing out of Montauk, I've had many memorable experiences -- too numerous to mention, but two stand out:
On June 22, 1997, we were offshore on a shark trip. After catching a 100-pound Blue Shark almost immediately, Bryan, my mate, began resetting the lines. The first bait out, a Bluefish fiillet was already out of sight, but the float was close to the boat and plainly visible. Suddenly, the float started to go and it was very apparent we had gotten another bite. Bryan threw the reel, a 50 wide International, in gear, and handed it to the angler as the line started coming off the reel. And it didn't stop.
After two jumps about 200 yards away, a lot of backing down and doing battle for almost three hours, we had a very large Mako on the boat. Then, upon making sure the fish was totally subdued, with some difficulty, we pulled it through the transom door. A 623-pound Mako was ours.
But wait -- there's more. 15 days later, on July 7th, we're going out on another shark trip. Might as well go back to the same spot. Why not? This time though, it was flat calm. No drift. It had all the earmarks of being a long day.
We had a live bait out, but it wouldn't swim away from the boat. The styrofoam float was almost up against the hull. Suddenly, the float went down like a shot and the 100-lb. mono was rapidly disappearing off the reel. With the angler now harnessed up, I had to back the boat down hard just to keep the line on the spool of the 50 wide.
Still in reverse, and making little or no progress after an hour, it became apparent that the fish we had on was not a shark. We started to bump up the pressure, and the crew, including Bryan, took their turns on the rod. Two, three, four hours went by, and the battle went on.
Then, after almost five hours, the fish came to the surface swimming straight away from us. With the reel now on full drag, I took the boat back hard again -- right to the fish, giving the guys the much-needed harpoon shot. They pulled on the dart warp for another 45 minutes before they got it back up. Now, secured, using a tail rope and three gaffs, we slid the 916-lb. Bluefin Tuna through the door.
To me, the incredible thing is that after decades of fishing, and having caught hundreds, if not thousands, of sharks and tuna, the biggest shark and the biggest tuna were caught on the Venture at the same spot -- and only 15 days apart.
Story No. 2
On August 18, 2020, Eric, Jeff, and Eric's two teenage sons chartered the boat for a shark trip. We caught live bait on the way out and proceded to an area known to be a good spot for Thresher Sharks.
On this day, however, the fishing was slow. Five hours of drifting had gotten us one small Mako bite. Just as we were about to give it up and go Striped Bass fishing, I looked out and saw the live Bluefish bait on the surface, seemingly concerned about its well-being. And then -- CRASH.
At first we thought we had a good size shark on, but soon realized that was not the case. After an hour and 45 minutes of great angling by the crew, we had a 332-lb. Bluefin Tuna in the boat. What started out slow turned out to be a great day on the water.
August 9, 2021...
One year later, the same crew chartered the boat, and we went out on our first offshore trip together since August 18th of the previous year. Sharks were once again the target species, so I went back to the same spot.
This time, we were there for only 25 minutes, when something very large hit the live bait, creating a tremendous disturbance on the surface. As the line was being ripped off the reel, I started the engines and went into hard reverse to avoid being stripped. Using the fighting chair instead of stand-up, and with the crew rotating on the rod and pulling hard with a lot of pressure, after 2 hours, we started to get the fish under control, and we got our first visual. It wasn't a shark.
Another hour went by and the runs got shorter and shorter. It would go to the left then back to the right, looking for the least resistance. Then, after 4 hours, the line went down at a 45 degree angle and stopped. I knew right away it had gotten tail-wrapped. The question now was are we going to be able to raise this really heavy fish on 100-lb. line. With Jeff lifting with the rod, and Bryan helping by hand, inch by inch, foot by foot, they got it to the boat. Once we made sure it wasn't going anywhere, we pulled the 766-lb. Bluefin Tuna through the door.
Back at the dock a couple hours later, I mentioned to Eric that they should stop on the way home and buy a lottery ticket, based on the luck they've had fishing the last two years. With a big smile on his face, he responded by telling Bryan and me that we were the worst shark fishermen he had ever been out with.