Three Lantern Marine & Fishing

By Steve Zelck

It’s July 5 at 6:55 AM, and the scene is Stellwagen Bank. Gannets and Shearwaters are swooping over the water and diving on sand eels. The eels are so thick, they sound like they’re on top of the water as they escape the numerous whales and other predators.

As I look out the cockpit, I see our live mackerel and balloon suddenly air born, followed by Charlie himself. A massive explosion of water ensues; all I see is a giant tail. I grab the rod and seize the hook – Cam clears the other rod, Donna Monte drops the anchor, Bill Monte fires the engine and the battle begins. We back down in pursuit and disappear from the fleet. This fish means business.

I take a break from the rod after two hrs. and let the young Cam try to slow the monster down – he cranks while the beast runs and we continue to back down. Cam takes 50 yds. and the fish takes 25 yds. This continues for another two hrs. We are now four miles from the fleet, off the bank and into deep water.


This group from Maine managed to defeat the 400-pound beast in just over an hour aboard the F/V Bounty Hunter.

I jump back on the rod and the same fight continues – gain 50, lose 50. The battle reaches its five-hr. mark – we spot “color” and know that he’s close, but then he’s gone as he rips off another 100 yds. I get him back in color again, and off he goes. Cam takes over once more, and the beast goes on another long run.

Bill is now aggravated and the fight is approaching seven hrs. – a Bounty Hunter record! Bill takes over on the rod. He yanks; we see color a few times but end up with the same result.

Now we are at nine hrs. and Donna throws on her gloves and battles the beast for an hr. before surrendering—this is a mean fish.

We’re all taking 15 to 20 min. on the rod and are exhausted. Doubt creeps in, and we all know that the fish might escape. At this point, it’s now been 11 hrs. Bill gets back on the rod and strengthens the drag up to 45 lbs. He yanks, and we gain. We can see he’s swimming beside the boat, getting closer.

I take the rod as Bill grabs the harpoon and throws a perfect shot. We wrestle for another half hr. with rod and harpoon line, and he finally comes up and succumbs (12 hrs. and four people later). We got him! There are hugs and high-five’s all around. With some tail rope, he’s in the boat and measuring 105 in. long and 600 lbs. The beast and our group fought gallantly.

My body wasn’t right for a week afterwards. News of our epic battle spread all over the dock and town; there were pats on the back as we told the story. It took a while to recoup, but we are back at it. The big bluefin are everywhere and the rod and reel bite is phenomenal. Since our 12-hr. fight, we’ve boated a few and lost a few – so get out there and get yours! I wish you all a nice, short fight. I wouldn’t wish 12 hrs. of hell on anyone – but that’s why we do it!

SteveZelck_HeadshotFORECAST BY: Steve Zelck was born and raised in Gloucester. Steve’s love of the sea lured him back to pursue his fishing passion and not a day goes by without him checking the pulse of the harbor for action. If you don’t find Steve at Three Lantern Marine, you can bet he’s out working on his lobster boat, F/V Erik and Devin, named after his kids. He also tuna fishes aboard the F/V Bounty Hunter with Captain Bill Monte from Wicked Tuna