Fish Nuts

Think you’ve got the fishing bug? You won’t believe the extent that these anglers push the envelope.

Martin Arostegui Case File: For Martin Arostegui, chasing IGFA World Records is a family affair. Not only does he travel the world tracking down trophy fish, but often takes his family with him. Arostegui holds over 300 World Records, which is more than any other angler. His son, Martini is a chip off the old block; he’s already broken or set 120 World Records, more than any angler in the youth division. In fact, this spring, 16-year-old Martini will be the youngest recipient of the IGFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Early Signs: Arostegui was a prolific angler before he joined the Miami Beach Rod and Reel Club in 1990 but it was the club’s internal competition that got Arostegui on the path to chasing World Records. “Members of the club advance in rank as they catch more trophy fish,” Arostegui explains, “Once I set one club record, I thought, ‘Why not catch 10.'” He started to target line-class records, fly-fishing records, and any new species that the IGFA added to the 1028 species eligible for World Record. Over 300 World Records later, Arostegui says he might slow down. “Now Maybe I’ll help my son, Martini (shown here) beat me,” he says.
Craziest Moment: As driven as Martin Arostegui is about setting World Records, he’s equally passionate about releasing fish alive. In order to register a fish for record, the angler must weigh it on a certified scale on dry land. For most species, that requires a quick run to the beach or bank to weigh, measure, and photograph the fish. When it comes to huge sharks, weighing and releasing the fish requires a little more effort and a lot more risk. But Arostegui has pulled it off with sharks pushing 400 pounds. To start, he fishes out of a specially designed boat that has a huge livewell on the bow. Once the fish is in the boat, they run to the nearest marina and weigh it using a special sling. Then, Arostegui hops in the water and walks with the shark until it has recovered enough to swim away on its own. “I’m a firm believer in catching and releasing fish,” he says.
Advice for the afflicted: “If you want to get serious about setting World Records, then study the species that are eligible, learn what Records are available, and figure out how to catch big fish on light tackle.”
Martini with a huge catfish.
Martin with his shark.
Charlie Moore Host of “Beat Charlie Moore” Case File: Charlie Moore is host of three shows on three networks with a sit-com in the works. “All of my success comes on the principle of putting the fun back into fishing,” he says. Moore has created such memorable characters as “The Codfather” and “Scarfish” and considers himself a pioneer of reality TV. “It’s not about the fame or money,” he admits, “its about having fun.”
Early Signs: Fishing and entertainment have been in Moore’s blood since he was a boy. The inspiration for his shows comes from his early days spent fishing Boston Harbor with his family. The personality comes naturally. “My teachers always told my parents I had a ‘gift’,” Moore says. Fishing and entertainment first came together for Moore with his premier show Front Row with Charlie Moore in 1996. “I was cussing, swearing, breaking rods, jumping in the water after missing a fish,” he says, “people thought I was the anti-Christ of television.” Since then, he’s built several shows on that formula and hard work. “I don’t believe in the ‘Big Break’,” he says, “it’s a long and painful process.’
Craziest Moment: Being the host of several television shows has allowed Moore to cook up and live out his wildest fantasies. The first three to come to mind when we asked for his craziest moments were: shooting automatic weapons with heavy metal headbangers Godsmack, fishing with Batman Adam West, and target shooting with Ted Nugent. “The whole thing has been a surreal fishing trip that set sail 14 years ago and hasn’t returned to the dock.” Advice for the afflicted: “Make it fun.”
Larry Dahlberg Host: Hunt for Big Fish Case Study: Hosting a television show called “The Hunt for Big Fish,” has driven Larry Dahlberg to the 4 corners of the earth and also driven him a little crazy. Although Larry still lives a few miles from the Minnesota town where he was born, he has traveled to fishing destinations that are both on and off the beaten path.
From giant catfish in South America, to Tarpon in the surf of Africa, to Giant Trevaly in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Dahlberg continually pushes the envelope to the ends of the world. For all of this, Dahlberg offers a simple explanation: “It’s not a passion, it’s a sick obsession.”
Craziest Moment: Fan’s of Dahlberg’s show could argue all day about the host’s craziest on-air antic. In fact, Dahlberg has just as much trouble narrowing down his most insane experience. Highlights include shooting the rapids on the Orinoco River, playing tug of war with a giant trevally while standing knee deep on a reef in the Seychelles, or going one on one with a giant catfish that pulled a 40 foot boat backwards. “I’ve been through 2 or 3 military revolutions,” he says, “It only seems spooky at the time.”
Early Signs: Anyone who has watched Dahlberg’s show has asked himself “How did that guy get that job?” Dahlberg asks himself the same question almost every day. “Like water runs down hill, it was just an accident,” he says. Dahlberg started fishing at age 4. “As long as I had a lifejacket on, my parents would let me go fishing,” he recalls. By age 11, he was guiding other anglers to trophy fish on local lakes. “Being a guide beat having a paper route,” he explains. When he got older, he realized that fishing beat out most adult careers, too. That’s when he turned his future over to the rod and reel. “I’ve gone through life like a knuckle head towards home plate,” he says. Advice for the afflicted “Just like life, love, and relationships, fishing is like a wet bar of soap, the harder you squeeze the farther it flies.”

Dave Justice

Dave Justice The Snook Guru Case File: While researching this article, we called George Poveromo, host of George Poveromo's World of Salt Water Fishing, and asked if he had any nominees. One of his old fishing buddies, Dave Justice, was top of the list. Justice earned the prestigious position by chasing snook like a man possessed. Since the fish are active day and night and can be caught from one end of the State to the other, Justice would often go on week-long binges that involved a lot of fishing and very little sleep. "Snook fishing is a full time job," Justice explains. Early Signs: Mixing Dave Justice and water is like mixing baking soda and vinegar – you're going to get an explosive reaction. Dave's parents moved to Florida when he was a boy and he grew up as an amphibian – only spending half his life on dry land. Dave recalls fishing on prom night in his tuxedo and Halloween in full rain gear. "People driving by on the bridge would throw stuff at us," he explains. Craziest Moment: From paying off bridge tenders to cutting across private property, Justice has gone to great lengths to reach the snook. But the farthest he has gone is wading in the gnat infested waters at the Boca Raton Spillway. "The no-see-ums were so bad that we would submerge ourselves with only our nostrils and eyes above water" he says. Still the flies would cover any exposed flesh, flying up his nose and crawling into his eyes. "We were fishing with live gizzard shad and the snook would often blow out of the water just a few feet in front of our eye balls." Advice for the afflicted: "Keep fueling the passion and go for it; these are the best years of your life."
Jimmy Price Back Water Guide/Comedian Case File: If you’ve ever used a Trout Killer soft plastic, then you have fished with Captain Jimmy Price. His face is on every bag that comes out of the factory. Price’s clients in Oak Isle return to fish with him as much for his antics as for the fish. From humble beginnings as a bricklayer, Price’s infectious personality has helped him build a successful guide business and a full time position as the comic relief on George Poveromo’s National Seminar Series. Early Signs: “I lost everything three times because of the rod and reel,” Price says. He started life as a brick layer, but after getting fired from a succession of jobs, loosing his house, and his car, he decided to give in to the addiction and turn his life over to fishing. “I was throwed out of my house, they had repo-ed my truck, but I had a freezer full of fish,” he recalls.
Craziest Moment: Every day is a crazy day for Price. His clients often claim that their wildest days on the water were spent with him. He once walked 42 miles to go fishing and ran a 13-foot johnboat 30 miles to fish Frying Pan Shoals. He used the same boat to fish the 3rd Annual U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament against high-dollar competitors in high speed fishing rockets. “All I saw was the 10,000 dollar purse for first place,” he jokes. Advice for the afflicted: “If you truly have the love, you don’t need advice. The love will carry you through.”

Jodi Johnson

Jodie Johnson 102 Salt Water World Records on Fly Tackle Case File: Jodie Johnson holds 102 IGFA Salt Water World Records on fly tackle including 3 all tackle world records. She has fished from Mozambique to the Maldives and set records for everything from dogtooth tuna to dorado. "I tried to figure out how many hours I've spent on the water, but when the number passed 1000 I stopped counting." Early: "I started fishing so that I could go on fishing trips with my boyfriend," Johnson recalls. To learn the art of fly casting, she and her mother took a two day fly fishing course in Manchester, Vermont. "We thought we were good until we saw the video of us casting," she laughs. Her first fishing trip was to Alaska followed shortly by an expedition to the Seychelles. Her first World Record was a … that she caught in 2004 with the guidance of Captains Andrew Parsons and Richard Schumann. Since then, she has been on the fast track to accumulating an impressive list of World Records. Johnson doesn't make any excuses for getting a late start in fishing. "Starting the sport when I was a little more mature allowed me to have the patience to learn and to do the most important thing…listen to my guide." Craziest Moment: Two victories take precedence in Johnson's long list of World Records: a 60 pound barracuda she caught on 16lb tippet and a 116 pound dog tooth tuna that she landed with 20 pound tippet. "The barracuda was bigger than that, but we maxed out a 60 pound Boga Grip," she says. "The fight with the tuna didn't hit me until I saw the video." She also points to two heartbreakers: a 6 ½ hour fight with a dorado that broke off a few feet from the boat and a 2 ½ hour fight with a yellowfin tuna that missed the record by less than a pound. Advice for the afflicted: "Take a class or find a local guide and do a little learning before you go out on your first fishing trip."
Jim Sammons: Bluewater Kayak Fishing Guide Case File: While many anglers consider anyone who fishes out of a kayak a little crazy, many kayak anglers consider San Diego-based kayak fishing guide Jim Sammons extremely crazy. Sammons leads clients on kayak fishing expeditions from La Jolla to Baja, Mexico for everything from thresher sharks and yellowtail to marlin and tuna. Sammons spends hundreds of hours on the water pursuing his passion and testing out new tackle and kayaks for the most respected manufactures in the sport. When other anglers call Sammons crazy, he responds, “Yeah a little bit, but I’m having fun.”
Craziest Moment: After fencing with billfish and having thresher sharks jump over his kayak, Sammons has a hard time picking out his craziest moment in the ‘yak. But the stunt that put his name on the map occurred early in his kayak fishing career. Sammons was fishing for yellowtail off La Jolla when he hooked a striped marlin. “No one had ever caught a billfish before,” he says. The marlin dragged Sammons 8 miles offshore before he was able to get the fish to the boat and release it. “Once I caught that marlin, I started trying to figure out how to catch more big fish.” That quest took him to Baja Mexico where he now does a good bit of his guiding. Having mastered the art of catching bluewater fish from a kayak, Sammons hasn’t stopped pushing the envelope. “We’re putting together a trip to Venezuela in a couple months for giant yellowfin,” he says.
Advice for the afflicted: “If you think you’re addicted to fishing, get a kayak and you’ll fish 10-times more.”
Matt Watson Host: The Ultimate Fishing Show Case File: New Zealand native Matt Watson’s Ultimate Fishing Show will hit the States later this year but videos of his antics have already hit You Tube. You’ve seen him catching marlin from a jet ski, catching a giant bluefin with a handline, or diving out of a helicopter and grabbing a striped marlin.
Early Signs of Affliction: Watson felt the drive to fish at an early age. “At 3 or 4 years old, I would see my dad leaving early in the morning on a fishing trip and I would chase him down the road in my pajamas,” he recalls. When he was old enough to go along, he joined his family’s commercial fishing business. “Once I set off on my quest to catch a marlin, I realized that someday I would work on a big-game fishing boat.” Watson tried holding down a land-locked job for a while; until his friends called him at work to brag about a great day of tuna fishing. “The next day I put my home on the market, wound up my roofing business, and moved to Bay of Islands.”
Craziest Moment: Watson’s insanity is well documented on television and the internet. Out of all the wild things he’s done, he says that tying dead fish to his arms and jumping in the water with a school of mako sharks takes the cake. “It was supposed to be a gag,” Watson explains, “but the sharks looked pretty chilled out so I stayed in the water.” Until one of the toothy critters took an interest to one of the fish tied to Watson’s arm. “I managed to get back to the boat safely,” he says, “then we threw a mannequin in the water and the sharks tore it up.” Advice for the afflicted: “Go for it, it’s impossible to fight.” He adds, “And buy your wife or partner something nice…they won’t be seeing much of you anymore.”
Will James Big Game from a Jet Ski Case File: As a pro kite surfer, Will James has been known to take his hobbies to extremes. While most people would be satisfied with simply flying a kite or surfing waves, James does both at the same time, using a mini parachute to carry him on his surf board at breakneck speeds. So, of course, James would pursue fishing the same way he pursues other sports…on the edge. His list of catches, including marlin, tuna, dolphin, and wahoo, would impress even the most hard core anglers. But when folks find out that James catches these fish from the back of a jet ski they are downright amazed.
Early Signs of Affliction: James grew up fishing on Chesapeake Bay, so moving to Hawaii was like dropping a kid in a candy shop. Not long after settling on the Oahu, James and his surfing buddies were towing each other into huge waves with personal watercraft when he saw birds working over breaking fish. A few days later, he had his ski outfitted with rudimentary tackle and rigs. A few months later, he had installed a heavy-duty rod holder, a rescue sled to hold his catch, and a 50-pound class rod and reel. It wasn’t long before he had his first encounter with a sea monster.
“I was fishing off Oahu when my bait was picked up by a huge fish,” he remembers. The animal took off for the horizon and nearly spooled James’ rig. Then it turned and ran back towards him while he recovered line as quickly as he could crank. “I could almost see the when it turned and took off again.” Although the fish eventually got off, James was hooked on targeting marlin. He went back to work on his ski and his technique. “For the next year and a half I lost dozens of big marlin,” he says. Eventually, he ran into a fish that wasn’t so lucky. After a fight that lasted several hours and dragged him several miles, James brought a 459 pound blue marlin to the dock. “I’m working on rigging a new ski now,” he says. Maybe someone should warn the fish.
Craziest Moment: On more than one occasion, while fishing the bluewater off Hawaii, James has run into fish that are larger than him and his watercraft. Most of the time, he and the big, dark shadow will pass without incident. On one occasion, however, he got into a fight over his catch with a big shark. “I was pulling in a skip jack and I saw a shark come up behind it,” he recalls. When he got the small tuna to the back of the ski, he figured he would flip it into the foot wells before the shark could grab it. Unfortunately, he figured wrong. When he pulled the tuna onto the ski, the shark followed with its jaws chomping. James gunned the engine and the ski lurched forward just in time to leave the shark wondering where its breakfast went. Advice for the afflicted: “Carry more safety equipment than you ever think you will need.”

Think you’ve got the fishing bug? You won’t believe the extent that these anglers push the envelope.