Big fish, little fish, it’s all fun fishing to avid angler, Sean Leary.
Leary is a native of Houma, Louisiana; a town located about 40 miles from the Gulf of Mexico that is steeped in Cajun culture and famous for its food, fishing, music and its Mardi Gras festivities.
“I grew up in one of the best fishing areas in the U.S.,” says Leary. “As a kid I’d go fishing for speckled trout and red fish.”
A couple of local fishermen, who were Leary’s father’s friends, took him under their wing and out on their boats to tag along. They’d all go out for a day or three-day weekends in search of billfish.
“I started billfishing at age 11,” he says. “We go anywhere from 40 to 140 miles offshore for billfish.”
Leary caught his first blue marlin at age 19.
“Three friends and I went offshore for three days,” he explains. “We caught three blue marlin back-to-back and didn’t see anything else the whole long blustery weekend. My fish was about 400 pounds. It took me more than an hour to catch it. It was pretty incredible.”
Before that momentous catch, and after it, Leary wired a few hundred billfish. He worked on sports fishing boats as a mate until his late 20s. Then, his fishing tapered off when he got married and started a family.
“We still go fishing inland in the winter and off the beach in the summer,” says Leary. “It’ll be a few hour trip in the morning or a night trip. I own an 18 1/2-foot flats boat and a 22-foot bay boat, but I’ve gone as far as Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama to fish with friends.”
Last summer, in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, Leary’s good friend Jon Gonsoulin took his 57 Viking, Done Deal, to St. Thomas for the summer marlin season. Gonsoulin invited Leary to fish as an angler with him in the the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin (ABMT) or ‘Boy Scout’ tournament with him.
“Jon’s fished all over–Panama, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic–and he had heard about the Boy Scout Tournament. It’s a prestigious tournament and he decided to bring his boat, his cap, Capt. Jason Buck, and crew down. I only caught one fish during the tournament, but our team caught a couple of fish. It was fun, but stringent. I’m use to more laidback fishing.”
Leary’s best fish story isn’t about billfish, but of a large version of a much smaller fish.
“A friend and I were out fishing in the lake with my four-year-old son,” he tells. “My son hooked up a fish with his Snoopy rod and we ignored him. Then a few minutes later we looked around and saw him reeling in what turned out to be a 5-pound 2-ounce trout. It’s one of the biggest trout I’ve ever seen. I think we were more excited than he was.”
Most recently, says Leary, “I haven’t fished as much as I’ve wanted to because of work, but I hope that will change in the future.”
Leary is an aftermarket manager for Oil States Skagit SMATCO, LLC.
What does he like best about fishing?
“It’s relaxing,” he answers.
Someday, Leary concludes, “I’d like to go king salmon fishing in Alaska. It’s because salmon are one of my favorite fish to eat, they can grow to a large size, and I’ve heard Alaska is a beautiful place.”