Thursday, April 24, 2014
PORTLAND - Trying to get a fisherman to divulge secrets, especially about favorite fishing holes, is usually a waste of time.
Captains Linda Greenlaw and Rob Evon and first mate Brandon Pierce with a 74-inch bluefin that sold at auction in Tokyo last year for $4,000.
Photo courtesy Browne Trading Co.
But this summer, anglers will have a chance to learn from one of the best: Linda Greenlaw, the Maine fishing boat captain made famous by the book "The Perfect Storm."
Greenlaw, an Isle au Haut resident, author and world-renowned fisherman, will offer chartered fishing tours for bluefin tuna out of Portland Harbor through Browne Trading Co. on Commercial Street.
"It's really fun fishing," Greenlaw said of landing a hard-fighting bluefin with a rod and reel.
Trips will be aboard the Hazel Browne, a 46-foot Wesmac owned by Rod Mitchell, the owner of Browne Trading Co.
The boat, which is being prepared for the fishing season, will be berthed at Port Harbor Marine in South Portland starting May 5.
Rob Evon will captain the Hazel Browne during charter trips, which will cost $1,100 for 11 hours or $1,700 for an overnight trip. It will cost an additional $1,000 to fish with Greenlaw, who will go on selected trips because of her limited availability.
Greenlaw, who is promoting her latest book, "Lifesaving Lessons," became famous as the captain of one of New England's top offshore swordfish boats. She has been fishing for bluefin tuna for two years.
Last summer, Greenlaw got married to Steve Wessel, owner of the Wesmac boat-building company in Surry, and stopped fishing about midseason.
Evon took over as captain of the boat after making a couple of fishing trips with Greenlaw.
The partnership grew from there, said Greenlaw. She has already booked one or two charter trips for the upcoming season, she said.
"(Evon) is a natural," she said. "He certainly didn't need any lessons from me about tuna fishing. I just sort of went along for the ride."
Evon has been fishing in Casco Bay since 2007. He owns Maine Saltwater Angler, which offers fishing charters for striped bass, bluefish, cod, haddock, pollock and mackerel. He has won the Casco Bay Anglers Club Striper Hunt for the last three years.
"I have studied the art of striper fishing and became very proficient at it," said Evon. "I have taken the same approach to tuna fishing."
Atlantic bluefin tuna is one of the most sought-after fish, averaging 6.5 feet in length and 550 pounds, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. One fish can sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
Bluefin can grow to be 12 feet long, weigh more than 1,500 pounds and swim at speeds approaching 50 mph, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Greenlaw said they can be caught anywhere from two miles to 200 miles off the Maine coast,
A bluefin must be at least 73 inches long to sell commercially. Evon said that last year he landed a 74-inch tuna, which dressed out at 235 pounds and sold for $4,000 at auction in Tokyo.
Charter fisherman can keep one tuna per trip as long as it measures 29 to 50 inches, Evon said.
If a commercial-size fish is caught, it will become the property of the boat, but the guests will be refunded a percentage of the charter costs.
The boat will be used for commercial fishing when charters are not booked. Evon said details are being worked out to offer a Community Shared Agriculture program, which allows people to buy shares upfront and split the catch with a dozen local chefs.
With Evon and Greenlaw working together, Evon said he hopes to be fishing six days a week.
"Having the opportunity to learn from someone as accomplished as Linda Greenlaw has been amazing," Evon said. "She can run a Down East boat better than anyone I have ever met and her level of experience on the water in all types of conditions is invaluable."
Evon has owned and operated Port City Music Hall on Congress Street since 2009. He is now selling the venue to the State Theatre.
Evon's dream of running a charter tuna boat is also a dream of Greenlaw's, who said she is looking forward to hanging out with charter guests.
"I'll get a nice day offshore and someone else will be responsible for everything and I can just have fun," she joked.
Don't necessarily count on Greenlaw to tell all of her secrets, however. One of her earlier books was titled "All Fishermen Are Liars."
Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at: