PETE BOINIS - AN ANGLER WITH AN OUTSTANDING FEAT
From football to fishing, Pete Boinis, has made a name for himself on land and sea.
A Washington, D.C. native who now calls Boca Raton, Florida, his home, Boinis says, "I got my start sports fishing in Ocean City, Maryland, back in 1963. Before that, I use to play football in college. But after college, and after a stint in the service, I got into fishing."
He adds, "My first boat was shaped just like a keg. It was 30-foot long and 30-foot high. It was a lot of fun for fishing."
A decade later, following a career with the Xerox Corporation, Boinis bought an island and built the Ship's Café fishing center complex, which included an 80-slip marina.
"Ocean City is the 'White Marlin Capitol of the World'. It use to be you could catch 20 white marlin in a day. So, we decided to promote the fishing and promote the city by starting a tournament. That was back in 1974," Boinis says.
He adds, "We started that first tournament with 50 boats and a total prize kitty of $20,000. Now, there are over 400 boats that fish and first prize for is $600,000. It's a very competitive tournament. Anybody can win. In fact, we've set several state records, both for white marlin as well as blue marlin, dolphin, wahoo and tuna."
The fishing grounds for white marlin used to be about 18 to 20 miles offshore, Boinis says. "Now its about 100 due to environmental changes and the effects of commercial long-lining. The tournament, though, is conservation-minded. We're proud to say that the participating anglers release over 97 percent of the fish caught."
Boinis' best fish story is one about white marlin. In fact, it's a story that's recorded by writer Jan Fogt in a Marlin Magazine article - 'Big Game Fishing's Most Amazing Feats'. "Back in 1983, in the fall, actually October 10th, we caught 59 white marlin in one day fishing off La Guaira, Venezuela."
Boinis, along with fellow anglers and Venezuelans, Aguiles Garcia and Raphael Arnel, caught this incredible number aboard Boinis' Ship's Café, a 44-foot Merritt. Mike Aman was captain and Tim Choate the mate. "We actually caught 60 whites during the 12-hour fishing day," says Boinis, "but because one fish ate two baits, they didn't count it."
Another great billfishing day, he says, "was when I caught seven blue marlin in one day in the Mona Passage off Puerto Rico."
Over the years, Boinis has billfished the world. "I caught a 1000-pound-plus black marlin in Australia. I've also fished in Mexico, South America, California and Hawaii."
His fishing travels are often aboard his 58-foot Ship's Café, a Viking yacht customized by Merritt.
Boinis has successfully angled in several tournaments held around the globe as well. "I've won the Master's Tournament in 1995 out of Cancun, Mexico. I've won the first tournament held in Guatemala, the first tournament in Costa Rica and several in the Bahamas."
Boinis is also a regular competitor in the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament and also frequent visiting angler aboard Jim Lambert's Reel Tight.
What compels him to billfish?
"I like blue marlin because it's the king of beasts. It's fast, a challenge to beat, a real fighter and unpredictable. White marlin are smaller, but real acrobats. Blacks are large and tough too. I like to catch them all," he says.
As for fishing style, "I like 30 and 50 pound tackle, nothing that's going to put a lot of drag on the line. And, I prefer bait rather than lures. Mackerel for blue marlin."
Boinis has fished as many as 200 days a year. "Now I'm fishing about 150 days due to business," he says.
In the year ahead, he'll head to Panama come January and February, then to Mexico in April and May, followed by the Bahamas for the early summer, winding up the year in St. Thomas, then Venezuela. "I might go over to Madeira with Stewart Campbell. Stewart's caught a lot of marlin over there this past year."
While fishing is fun, what Boinis likes about the sport is more than just the catching. "It's a chance to meet a lot of great people. Plus, it's a challenge and I like a challenge."
In the future, Boinis would like to see stronger regulations about commercial long lining. "I'd like to see the fish stocks go back up."