I started this blog/website so I could have a place for my friends, family, charter clients, and anyone else who loves to fish to check in on what’s been happening in my world of fishing. Being a traveling Sportfishing Boat Captain, Owner/Operator of Fish Downsea Fishing Charters with my 60′ Custom Sportfishing Boat, along with owning and operating a tackle company called Fish DownSea things get a little hectic, but I am always updating this blog/website as much as possible. I do everything I possibly can to keep my fishing reports up to date and information rich. So keep up with what is going on with the fishing wherever I may be in the world. Also, be sure to watch my fishing videos on this site, and you can see all of my videos at www.youtube.com/captainrickywheeler (Be Sure to SUBSCRIBE) as I am always working hard to get some great footage of all of the amazing things we get to experience being out there on the water everyday. CONTACT ME to book a fishing charter(s) with me throughout the year.
ABOUT CAPTAIN RICKY WHEELER
I have been fishing ever since I was a little kid. My Dad and Pop Pop were sure to get me out fishing around where we lived in Delaware. We would spend most of our time fishing in the DE River, DE Bay and Chesapeake Bay for striped bass, weakfish, flounder, and bluefish throughout my childhood with an occasional ‘offshore trip’ for small tunas and dolphin. When my Dad or Pop Pop couldn’t get me out, my Mom would trailer me and my little aluminum duck hunting boat to the local boat ramp and I would go fishing for white perch, spot, and striped bass with friends in my early teens, but it was when I started spending my summers at my grandparents in Wildwood, NJ that I started to take a huge interest in offshore fishing. For me, that was the ‘holy grail’ since I knew very little about it and loved being out where I could not see land. I worked as a dock attendant at South Jersey Marina during my Wildwood summers, and I made some connections with great people who would get me offshore fishing on my days off. I immediately became addicted to big game fishing. The addiction only grew after I hooked and caught my first white marlin (thanks to Don Gentilini of Super Crew and Jeff Thiel). Ever since that moment, all I wanted to do was get offshore fishing, especially billfishing!
Immediately after graduating from the University of DE, I went straight to work as a mate for that summer since it’s something I always wanted to do. The plan was to do it for a bit then continue my education. Well, fishing had other plans. At the end of that summer I picked up work on a 45′ Hatteras called Exile. Exile’s owner, Frank Pettisani, Jr., had me running Exile that Fall. I captained the boat for any trips Frank couldn’t make and mated on the trips he did make for the next 5 years. Although I grew up fishing my whole life, it is this job that sparked my career as a professional fisherman. Working on the Hatteras was an amazing learning experience. Frank was very laid back, an extremely knowledgeable fisherman, and a great teacher. He allowed me to handle pretty much every aspect of the boat. We fished hard on Exile, so I was able to get lots of experience and education on the water as well as on land with the customization projects on the boat.
We moved Exile to Venezuela in Fall 2010 and fished there and in Aruba for a couple of months. Shortly after I took the boat back to Venezuela from Aruba, I returned to the US since the situation in Venezuela made it difficult to have a charter operation there. I have been freelancing as a Captain and a Mate ever since which keeps me on the water fishing almost every day where I love to be. In 2011 my priority was being a Captain for lady angler Maureen Klause. Maureen’s passion is fishing for line class records, and we had already set 2 IGFA line class world records together. We have went on to set 12 more IGFA world records since 2011, and hopefully there are still more to come. I consistently fished as a Captain or Mate abroad in many locations throughout the Winter and Spring from that time until 2016. I spent every Spring in the Bahamas (and still try to do so), and my Winters have been spent fishing various locations such as Costa Rica, Grand Cayman, St Lucia, and Grenada. I continued to fish my Summers back home in the Mid-Atlantic as a Captain and Mate on various boats for pelagics and for Striped Bass in the Fall. Every year brought new adventures and opportunities as well as new friends…
In the Summer of 2016 I began running a full time charter operation as the Captain of a 65′ Paul Mann Custom Boat called ‘Exile 65’. I fished this boat in New Jersey, Isla Mujeres Mexico, Bahamas, and Grenada until the boat went up for sale in the middle of 2019. The Summer of 2019 I Captained a 61′ Viking ‘Wish You Were Here’ and had a great Summer of fishing winning the Mid Atlantic Cup on July 4th with a 489 pound Blue Marlin and acquired a 60′ Custom Sportfishing Boat to continue running my charter operation on the end of the Summer. I spent all Fall of 2019 in the Boatyard getting this boat up and ready to go, and by New Years Day of 2020 I was in Grenada ready to go for a big year on my own rig. CONTACT ME to book a fishing trip!
I have always loved fishing since I was a kid, and it is something I just can never part from. I love being offshore, especially when I am billfishing! My competitive drive and pure love for fishing makes everyday on the water so much fun. There is very little out there that can compare to the experience of Bluewater fishing.
Recent Tournament Finishes and Professional Achievements:
– 11 IGFA Line Class World Records (Captain)
– 5 IGFA All Tackle Length World Records (Captain)
– 2020 White Marlin Open (Ocean City, MD) Daily Tuna (Captain)
– 2019 Mid Atlantic Cup (Cape May, NJ) 1st Place Blue Marlin (Captain)
– 2018 Mid Atlantic Tuna Tournament (Cape May, NJ) 3rd Place (Captain)
– 2018 White Marlin Smackdown (Cat Island, Bahamas) 1st Place Billfish Points (Mate)
– 2018 Hang Em High Tournament (Cat Island, Bahamas) 1st Place Overall (Mate)
– 2017 Stone Harbor Invitational Marlin Tournament (Cape May, NJ) 3rd Place Marlin Points, 2nd Place Dolphin (Captain)
– 2017 South Jersey Showdown (Cape May, NJ) 1st Place Marlin Points (Captain)
– 2017 Avalon Meat Tournament (Avalon, NJ) 1st Place Overall, Heavist Fish (Captain)
– 2017 White Marlin Smackdown (Cat Island, Bahamas) 1st Place Billfish Points, 1st Place Dolphin (Mate)
– 2017 Hang Em High Tournament (Cat Island, Bahamas) 1st Place Overall, 1st Place Wahoo, Heaviest Fish (Mate)
– 2016 Mid Atlantic Tournament (New Jersey) 4th Place Tuna, 3rd Place Home Port Calcutta (Captain)
– 2016 White Marlin Open (Maryland) 3rd Place Tuna (Mate)
– 2016 Stone Harbor Invitational Marlin Tournament (New Jersey) 3rd Place Billfish Points, 1st Place Team Award(Captain)
– 2016 Tobago International Gamefish Tournament (Tobago) Heaviest Dolphin (Captain)
– 2016 White Marlin Smackdown (Cat Island, Bahamas) First Place Billfish Points, First Place Dolphin (Mate)
– 2016 Spice Island Billfish Tournament (Grenada) First Place, Grand Slam Award, Set New Tournament Release Record (Captain)
– 2015 Marlin Month (Cape May, NJ) First Place Billfish Points (Captain)
– 2015 Offshore Canyon Kickoff (Cape May, NJ) Second Place Billfish Points (Captain)
– 2015 Wounded Warrior Shark Tournament (Cape May, NJ) First Place – Most Shark Releases (Captain)
– 2015 White Marlin Smackdown (Cat Island, Bahamas) First Place Dolphin, First Place Tuna, Second Place Billfish Points, Only Tournament ‘Grand Slam’ (Mate)
– 2014 Canyon Kickoff (Cape May, NJ) First Place Tuna, First Place Tuna Stringer (Captain)
– 2014 Hawk’s Nest Billfish Blast (Cat Island, Bahamas) Third Place Billfish Points (Mate)
– 2013 Labor Day Overnight Billfish Tournament (Cape May, NJ) Second Place Billfish Points (Captain)
– 2013 Viking Ocean Showdown (Cape May, NJ) First Place, Most Points Overall, Most Points White Marlin, Top Lady Angler (Captain)
– 2013 Shockley Offshore Tournament (Cape May, NJ) First Place, Most Points Billfish and Most Points Overall (Captain)
– 2013 Hang Em High Meat Tournament (Cat Island, Bahamas) First Place Largest Fish, Most Points Overall, First Place Dolphin, Second Place Wahoo (Mate)
– 2012 Ladies Billfish Tournament (Cape May, NJ) First Place Tuna (Captain)