December 16, 1999
A fish tale for you:
Wednesday, I was in Gloucester. On the way home I stopped in that shack of a tackle shop, "Old Hookers," on the west side of Route 17 near the bridge.
While I was looking over the lures, the young fellow asked if I had fished, where, when, what luck . . . the usual interrogation. In exaggerating our catch I happened to mention the scarcity of birds on Friday.
At that point he tells me he fished the mouth of the Potomac on Friday. He said they were under birds all day. In fact, no matter how far east they trolled, birds were thick to the horizon. Since it was his turn, he bragged about the 30-pound plus striper there frozen in the bit chest and how he was catching two fish at a time.
It wasn't the catching which interested me. Who believes a fish story even if a guy shows you the fish? It was the birds I was curious about. I never thought of birds flying twenty miles to fish. But I guess they could. Do you think?
Here are a couple of baits with swing hooks. Would you break them in for me? I am aiming for a citation on one of them come December 23.
My brother really enjoyed himself. He said he would like me to fly him down for the weekend more often. Ted, next time he is aboard the Gypsy, maybe he does not have to have quite that good a time, okay?
Best wishes to both of you for the holidays.
R. Rick Reiss
Newport News, VA
Re: Striper Fishing Trip With Shawn Fay, etal
A 47.5 inch Red Drum caugh during Reedville Tournament
State release citation - Weighed in at 37 lbs.
I just wanted to write to day that I had a great time aboard your boat yesterday. We really hit the jackpot of big stripers. I won't hesitate to recommend the Gypsy to others
Lindsay B. Trittipoe
Dear Mrs. Curtis,
Thank you for the photograph and frame of me and my fish. I have it hanging in my bedroom. I really have had fun fishing with you, and look forward to seeing you again soon.
The following is reprinted with permission from Rappahannock Record, August 26, 1999
Blue Marlins Strike Twice
By Ted Curtis
Every year my wife, Margaret, and I take our charter boat "Gypsy" to Virginia Beach for a week's vacation. We take friends fishing on days when the wind is light and on windy days we enjoy walking the docks and swapping fishing experiences with local boat owners.
On August 16, we were joined at 5:20 a.m. by Paul Sciacchitano, Ken Bransford and Fletcher Brown. Jeff Wehrung had arrived at 4:50 a.m. to organize and rig baits for the day. The 2 hour, 50 minute ride at a course of 105 degrees from Rudee Inlet put the Gypsy 62 miles off shore and exactly where Jeff had wanted to be. Margaret told Jeff two weeks prior to this trip that she had not caught a blue marlin and would like to go on this trip. "It doesn't have to be real big, 180 to 200 pounds would be o.k." Jeff confidently agreed, but until August 16, there was little billfish conversation as I was more interested in dolphin, tuna and wahoo which are far more prevalent.
As the boat slowed to six knots and Jeff was making final decisions on his spread pattern, I noticed Jeff holding a blue Marlin bait and Margaret kissing the attached ballihoo. I figured the odds of hooking a marlin were slim to none with six tuna baits out and only one for marlin. I was wrong.
Twenty-two minutes of trolling produced an explosion on the marlin rod. Jeff, Paul and I had been watching the baits when it happened and we all yelled "marlin" as the other lines were reeled in. Margaret tightly held the rod and reeled slowly, but something wasn't right. You don't get a marlin on and immediately gain line. I yelled, "He doesn't know he's hooked," and Ken yelled, "Don't tell him." So now the boat was riding at three knots and so was the marlin in the same direction.
Three minutes later the fish turned, felt the hook, and rose from the sea to walk on his tail only 50 feet behind the boat. He then sounded, stripping line from the Simano 50 reel down almost to the backing. Close to the end of the hour and 40 minute fight, Jeff was able to grab the leader three times, only to dump it seconds later. On the fourth attempt, the huge fish went under the boat, wrapping the leader on a rudder. I kept the engines in neutral. Marlin have been chewed by props in this situation. You don't kill marlin.
At this time I noticed Jeff was missing. He was under the boat trying to free the leader when he heard it part. Jeff re-joined us via the tuna door.
Paul estimated the length of the fish at 12 feet. Jeff and I estimated weight at 400 to 450 pounds. After an hour and 40 minutes of physical punishment, Margaret emerged from the fighting chair to thank all on board for their contribution to her dream. Bringing a fish like this to terminal tackle is a team sport and I was very proud of my team.
Remember those tuna I was looking for? There was still time. With the cockpit reorganized and trolling speed set at six knots, six tuna baits went out and yes, one blue marlin bait with Margaret's affection. Paul was on his way down the tuna tower ladder when a rod in a holder attached to the ladder began screaming off line. Paul and I thought he had tripped the drag with his foot. I was wrong again and Paul strapped on a fighting belt to settle into the second blue marlin of the day. The top water show was dazzling but this one broke off before making it into the boat. Jeff and I estimated the weight at 150 to 200 pounds. Estimated weight by Paul? Well, in his business (banking), he deals with very large numbers.