Capt. Mike Perkins shows one of the fish caught when he took a group out fishing on his boat the Nor’Easter earlier this month.

Capt. Mike Perkins shows one of the fish caught when he took a group out fishing on his boat the Nor’Easter earlier this month.

KENNEBUNK — It was 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday in early June. The sea was calm with overcast skies and the temperature was mild. By all accounts, it looked to be shaping up to be a good day for deep sea fishing.

And it was.

At the dock at Performance Marine in Kennebunk, 15 friends from Connecticut gathered to board the F/V Nor’Easter for a day of fishing the frigid waters of the Atlantic for haddock, pollack, cusk and more.

The party had come well prepared with food and drinks to keep them going all day and coolers, which they hoped to fill with fresh fish fillets.

“We’re here to fish, have fun and fill our freezers,” said Ted Harakaly. “It’s something we look forward to every year.”

Once everyone was onboard and settled in, the Nor’Easter steamed approximately 35 miles to Jeffrey’s Ledge – one of the richest fishing grounds in the area.

“I always go to Jeffrey’s because I know the fish are there,” said USCG licensed Captain Mike Perkins, owner and captain of the Nor’Easter.


With over 40 years of experience on the water, the seasoned captain comes from a long line of fishermen with family roots in southern Maine dating back over 200 years. Perkins began lobstering with his grandfather at a young age before going to work on commercial dragging boats and eventually lobstering on his own boat out of Kennebunkport and Perkins Cove (so named for his ancestors) for many years before becoming a charter boat captain.

“I’ve been doing charters on this boat for 10 years, and on my other boat for 18,” Perkins said as the boat made its way out.

Perkins’ crew mate was Mike Harlow, a retired commercial fisherman with over 40 years of experience. The two have fished together off and on over the last 35 years and work together like a well-oiled machine.

“We’re here to guide customers. We want them to experience fishing, but we will help if they need it,” Harlow said.

Perkins provided everything his passengers needed for a hassle-free day of fishing, rods, reels and all gear, including his own handmade jigs. There was a bathroom on board and plenty of seating for up to 24 passengers.

“All you need to do is show up with a lunch and drinks and be ready to fish, and we’ll take care of the rest,” Perkins said.


By 10 a.m., the boat reached its destination, and everyone quickly got in position to fish. Within minutes, the fish were biting and hooking up one right after the other. Harlow assisted with gaffing, unhooking and measuring the fish as they came in. He was efficient, friendly and knowledgeable.

“See that circular mark on the fish, that’s where a lamprey eel was latched on,” he explained as he removed a hook.

Perkins offered tips to passengers on how to best hold the rod and how to cast and reel while answering questions throughout the day about his life as a fishermen.

Marissa Perdue, 22, was fishing alongside her boyfriend, Shawn Meduna, and her father, Fred Watts. Perdue reeled in one of the first legal-sized haddock of the day. Haddock must be at least 17 inches to keep. This unlucky fish met the minimum size and then some, and wound up in the commercial size cooler on deck while Perdue got right back to fishing.

Pollack were plentiful and reeled in frequently. Almost all caught exceeded the 19- inch minimum length to keep. Cod were also being caught often, though these fish had to be released due to current fishing regulations. By 11 a.m., the boat’s cooler was more than half full of haddock, pollack, cusk and whiting with every passenger reeling in at least several fish.

Around 11:30 a.m., excitement struck when a large porbeagle shark – a relative of the great white – swiftly and unexpectedly surfaced within feet of the boat, trying to snatch a cod on a line.


“Get the lines out of the water,” Perkins ordered.

The passengers quickly followed the orders and gathered in awe to watch the big predator circle around fish heads Harlow tossed in.

“That shark is a monster!” Seth Houle said.

And indeed it was. Perkins estimated it to be at least 300 pounds. Eventually, the shark departed and the fishing resumed.

By 2 p.m., the cooler was full and the reels and lines were put up for the day. Perkins steamed back to port while Harlow filleted the freshly caught fish, bagging individual portions up for the party, but not until the largest fish caught was determined and announced.

Perdue’s 20-pound-plus pollack took top honors. Perdue’s boyfriend Meduna had the second largest pollack and Perdue’s father had the third largest fish of the day, making it a family affair of winners.

“That’s my girl, she’s always catches the biggest fish wherever we go,” Watts said.

By 4:30 p.m., the boat was safely back in port, and the happy customers departed with their coolers full of filleted fish.

“There’s nothing like eating your own fish that you caught. The captain put us on to some good fish today. We will definitely be back to do this again,” Scott Medina said.

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