The OBSESSION, with Richard Wright working the deck, had some excellent catches in 2011. Folks fishing on the OBSESSION earned 210 NC citations for meritorious catches, including 142 for white marlin releases, 7 for blue marlin releases, 15 for sailfish releases, 7 for wahoo, 8 for dolphin, 1 for yellowfin tuna, 6 for bigeye tuna and 24 for bluefin tuna catches and releases. Combined with the 916 sailfish we released in Mexico January- March 2011,for the second year in a row, customers on the Obsession released over 1000 billfish in a single season. The following is a monthly snapshot of a few of the very good catches on the OBSESSION last year.
In early April, Jim Thornboro's group caught 10 bluefin in the 180-300 lb class range. In late April, Jim Kennedy's family boated a limit of tilefish, 14 'gaffer' dolphin, a 130 lb mako shark and 13 year old Daniel Kennedy released a 250 bluefin tuna.
In early May, Dao NgUyen's crew boated 51 dolphin, including a 41lb bull landed by Ian Thomas, and a sailfish released by Andrew Chambers.
In mid-May, on a makeup group I put together, Chris Cunningham boated a 160 lb bigeye tuna, the group boated 25 gaffers &Gary Coffman released a 700 lb blue marlin.
Dolphin fishing was outstanding in June, with yellowfins mixed in most days. Jason McAbee & crew boated 60 dolphin including three 33 - 35 pound citation earning fish.
Tommy Shelton's crew had 60 dolphin, 4 yellowfin and 2 sailfish.
Jim Feldman's group only caught 3 fish but they were all whoppers.... Evan Feldman, released a 250 lb blue marlin, James Dooley, boated a 172 lb bigeye tuna, and after a hour and 20 minute "slugfest", Ben Ruedasill boated a 197 lb bigeye tuna.
July thru early August was a mixed bag of everything, Preacher Kenneth Cutre told me his son Jeffrey dreamed of catching a sailfish, I told him when to be at the boat and to bring good luck, as sailfishing had been a hit or miss proposition...he told me he had something better than luck on his side....he was right. They each caught 2 sailfish, 2 wahoo, a blackfin tuna, and 10 dolphin ...The good Lord definitely was shining on them!!
Kevin Tucker boated the OBSESSION's seasons largest 70 lb wahoo.
Steve Goodling & family boated three nice yellowfin in the 40-45 lb class range, two wahoo, one boated by Bradford Hastwhich, weighted 41 lbs earning Bradford a citation... and Steve, boated at 186 lbs, a bigeye.
White marlin fishing got going in mid-August. My wife Ruth Ann and friends, along with Richard's Mom & cousin, fished the Alice Kelly Memorial Billfish Tournament. They were sponsored by proprietor, Mark Ballog, of the Lucky 12 Restaurant in Nags Head.
Richard's cousin, Ann Reithlingshoiefer, released a 150 lb blue marlin on her first offshore fishing trip and Diane Steyn, from Sam & Omie's restaurant, released a white marlin, and though we did not win, everyone had a blast!
The first day of the Pirate's Cove Billfish Tournament we started off great.... Peter Zeliff released a blue marlin and a sailfish, Larry Waite released a white marlin, and 15 year old Tyler Sudbrink released 2 white marlin to give us 5 billfish for the day, a Grand Slam, and the lead in the tournament after day one. We were one fish shy of another daily prize on day two, releasing 9 white marlin.
On Friday, three boats passed us on the leader board, so we ended up tied for fourth place out of 75 boats, with the first place boat catching 20 fish, the second & third place boats catching 18 fish; we caught 17, and we ended up winning the daily prize for day one. My crew of Peter Zeliff, Larry Waite, Larry Waite Jr., Tyler Sudbrink, and mates, Richard Wright and Nathan, did outstanding jobs. Tyler came in second place for top junior angler, as he hooked 2 fish and caught 6 for the tournament.
The next week was the Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament which the directors made into a two day tournament, in view of Hurricane Irene coming this way..... weather was beautiful and fishing was good the first day..... Charles Spangler and crew released 4 White Marlin to put us in the top five boats, but we only caught 3 white marlin day two, which put us in the top ten, but not in the money.
September started off with outstanding white marlin fishing. Brent Nase & crew released 12 white marlin, including 2 double headers, and a triple header the second week of September.
The next day, Sandra Hilar, on a personal quest to catch all billfish species in one year, individually caught 11 white marlin with us on a day where we released a total of 13.
The fall tuna season got going in late September and was a nice mixture of yellowfin tuna & blackfin tuna with some wahoo, dolphin and billfish mixed in. Mike Switlick & John Parker each released a sailfish the last week of September and then filled the box with yellowfin & blackfin tuna.
Sportswriter' Rick Burnley, from Virginia Beach, rode along on the OBSESSION in late September and again in mid October, ironically, when Walt Ogden was filling in for Richard, who was in Canada duck hunting, and both trips coincided with Paul Ebert & his crew. Rick wrote an interesting article about yellowfin tuna fishing along the mid-Atlantic coast and talked about the days spent fishing with us...this was published in the SALT WATER SPORTSMEN, January 2012, edition.
Tom Lynch & crew boated their limit of Yellowfin by noon in October.
Typically, I run tuna charters at least thru Thanksgiving weekend, but last year we hauled the OBSESSION in early November to spend six weeks painting and refurbishing prior to heading to Mexico. Boats that continued fishing thru early December had good Yellowfin Tuna fishing.