Captain Damon Sacco is the founder of Castafari Inc which was established in 1998. After earning a bachelor degree at Hobart College in 1991, Damon ventured into the entertainment industry pursuing a passion in music, touring and recording 2 albums with the reggae/ska outfit, Iration. Damon went on to co-own and run a Best Of Boston named bowling alley/restaurant, Sacco's, located in Davis Square, Somerville Massachusetts.
Castafari Inc is a sportfishing enterprise offering 3 big game fishing tournaments, a winter sportfishing seminar series, custom offshore fishing tackle, and private corporate fishing adventures world wide. Over the past 20 years, Castafari has gained recognition all along the eastern seaboard, earning 14 top three tournament wins, 3 first place wins, a pending world record, two Massachusetts state records, and 2 fish over 1,000 pounds. Castafari offshore adventure has been featured on ESPN, National Geographic, Spike, Versus, CNN, ABC, CBS, The Scarborough Show, and even on the Today Show with Katie Couric! Damon has worked alongside aquatic biologist Dr. Greg Skomal (division of mass marine fisheries) tagging and studying sharks in waters south of Cape Cod.
In 2010, Castafari introduced 2 of it's main events, The Hyannis Tuna Fest and The Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic, 2 offshore big game sportfishing tournaments. For more info please visit www.hyannistunafest.com and www.obbclassic.com. Both events have generated over $100,000 to help pediatric cancer and autism victims and their families. In 2015, Castafari launched it's Big Game Fishing Seminar Series, which is held during the winter and spring months in the Greater Boston area. This event welcomes over 400 guests and over 50 participating vendors. More information regarding this event can be found on the seminar link located on the Castafari home page or by visiting www.fishing-seminar.castafari.com.
Captain Damon is an active sportfishing writing and photography enthusiast, and has had several of his fishing related photos and stories published in just about all of the major fishing publications such as Marlin Magazine, The Big Game Journal, Saltwater Sportsman, and On The Water Magazine.
Damon is a supporter of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, Coastal Conservation Association, International Gamefish Association, and Billfish Foundation which all act to preserve North Atlantic fish stocks and, more importantly, the future of our recreational angling industry. Damon is a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain, and has logged over five thousand offshore hours at sea in waters from Maine to Florida, and worldwide. Damon has fished at many world wide destinations, including Panama, Bora Bora, The Galapagos, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, The British Virgin Islands, Cabo San Lucas, Belize, The Bahamas, and right here in America. He is a father of two children Ava and Sebastian Sacco who more than likely will become increasingly active members of the Castafari lifestyle!
Captain Anthony Mendillo Jr. began fishing with his father as a child in Rhode Island waters. Anthony fished alongside fishing legend Cookie Murray, working the cockpit of the Cookie Too for several years. He has also fished alongside artist/fishing legend Guy Harvey on a variety of scientific and film related expeditions. Captain Mendillo is an Outfitter member of the Guy Harvey Outpost. Since day one of fishing, it was easily seen that "enough was never enough." Anthony embraced a true love for the sport in every aspect: lure making, jig tying, rod building, and eventually taking part in building his own charter boats and charter company based in Isla Mujures Mexico...Keen M Sportfishing. islamujeressportfishing.com
Anthony has been branded as one of the founders of the modern Isla Mujeres wintertime fisheries. Anthony now owns three charter boats, KEEN M, LILLY M, and the ANDREA M. The charter company KEEN M International is considered to be one of the best in the area. The Keen-M fleet are regulars at the top of tournament leader boards in Isla, with all three boats boasting tournament wins.
Currently Anthony fishes an average of 200 days a year. One of his most memorable days was catching 76 Atlantic sailfish! Captain Anthony is also a strong advocate for fisheries preservation. He was very instrumental in creating a rule at the local marina to only use circle hooks, and has also been very actively involved in satellite tagging.
Profiled extensively in Marlin Magazine, Saltwater Sportsman, and other sportfishing journals, Captain Anthony sets the bar for both angling professionalism as well as production. Keen M attracts attracts underwater photographers and film crews from around the world to interact with sailfish, tuna, and whale sharks in their natural underwater environments. We are very excited and honored to have captain Anthony fly up from Mexico to share his knowledge, experience, and expertise at the 2020 Castafari Big Game Fishing Seminar!
Captain Mark has been fishing for over 30 years. His ongoing passion on the water eventually led him to a full time career as a commercial fisherman and private boat captain. Mark has earned a reputation as one of the more proficient high liners in the northeast. Mark was recently featured in "In The Bite" magazine as one of the "Top Young Guns Of Sportfishing in 2018." He is also one of the top pro staff team members for Penn Tackle, Simrad, Momoi, Costa Del Mar, and Deep Ocean Apparel.
Mark is no stranger to the tournament winners circle. He has secured several tournament wins, including some of the biggest sportfishing events on the east coast, including the Mid Atlantic 500. Mark and his team secured a 1st place win in the 2019 Northeast Offshore Cup. Mark's team also caught the biggest bigeye tuna in the Montauk Canyon Challenge tournament in 2017 and again in 2018. When it comes to bigeye tuna, Mark is undoubtedly one of the best in the game, averaging around 25 per season. He has caught well over 200 bigeye tuna in the northeast canyons, and has consistently been a top producer of giant tuna on his own commercial fishing vessel. Mark has several 1,000 pound class giants on his resume as well. For over 15 years Mark has been helming top producing vessels like "Canyon Runner," "Reel Action," and is currently at the helm of the fishing vessel "Rebel."
Mark is also one of the first captains to integrate Green Stick fishing with a sportfishing vessel up here in the northeast. His ingenuity on this subject has helped many captains and crews catch fish. Mark is an active owner and innovator at Broadbill Fisheries which is a Long Island New York based tackle company specializing in offshore tackle products. His products will be for sale in the onsite J&B Tackle store. His spreader bars have proved to be highly effective on all species of tuna.
Mark has also presented publicly at several other major fishing seminar events, including the Canyon Runner Seminar series where he still presents annually. Canyon fishing has always been one of Mark's biggest passions, and he has offered to share his knowledge and fishing adventure to help connect more people with more big fish!
Captains Bryan and Taylor Sears have been fishing the inshore and offshore waters of New England for over 20 years. They grew up together on the South Shore of Massachusetts, fishing the North River for striped bass and quickly graduated to offshore fishing at a very young age. Bryan and Taylor both attended Massachusetts Maritime Academy where they became USCG licensed captains as well as received degrees in Emergency Management and Facilities Engineering, respectively. They have captained and mated on many boats throughout the Northeast, but most of Sears brothers' time is spent running their family owned/operated charter fleet, Mass Bay Guides, along with their father Capt. Greg Sears. Mass Bay Guides runs an average of 200 trips a season, focusing their offshore efforts primarily on bluefin tuna in and around the waters of Stellwagen Bank. This operation has earned it's way to being one of the most successful sportfishing charter businesses in the northeast. Their biggest Stellwagen giant weighed 1056 pounds. They brought 54 giant tuna to the boat in the 2019 season.
Bryan and Taylor's experience in the offshore fishing industry stems well beyond the waters of New England. They have both been anglers, mates, and captains in many different locations across the globe including Costa Rica, Cabo San Lucas, many areas of Florida, and Prince Edward Island.
Bryan and Taylor's offshore fishing experience also involves the canyon game of the Northeast. Collectively they have secured spots on the leaderboard in over 10 bluewater tournaments within the last 8 years including the Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic, The Nantucket Big Game Battle, The Northeast Offshore Cup, and the Canadian International Tuna Cup.
The Sears brothers offer their freelance services through their own company, "SeaBros." When not found fishing on Stellwagen Bank or Mass Bay, you can find them running all-inclusive fishing trips to Prince Edward Island Canada, the Gulf Coast of Florida, transporting vessels up and down the East Coast, guiding, outfitting boats, and offering seminars and workshops in the New England area.
Captain Lou Defusco is a Rhode Island native, and grew up fishing in the Point Judith Rhode Island community. He currently owns and operates his sportfishing charter operation, "Hot Reels" which actively fishes the waters south of the Cape and Rhode Island each Summer and Fall season. Lou has lived and fished in many different regions and oceans allowing him to land a wide variety of fish species. In addition to his home turf here in the North Atlantic, Lou has worked as a captain and guide in Costa Rica, the USVI's , Key Largo, Bermuda, and Isla Mujeres Mexico.
Lou's fishing exploits have earned him spots in the winner's circle of several northeast big game fishing tournaments, including the J&B Block Island Tri-State. Lou has also earned some notable catches including a 440 lb state record swordfish and a 58 lb tile fish! His accomplishments on the water have also been featured on Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. Lou is a highly accomplished writer and fishing artist, and has had his work regularly published in regional and international sportfishing publications. His marine artwork is genuinely unique and includes paintings, sculptures, swordfish bill restoration/art, and his latest focus which is painting teak finishes on yachts. Capt. DeFusco has made several appearances as an instructor for the nationally recognized Saltwater Sportsmanship Seminar Series, Big Game Bash, and Castafari Offshore Seminar, sharing his knowledge and skills for targeting swordfish and now his latest obsession, monster Golden Tiles. Capt Lou has worked hard at mastering the deep drop game, and has developed some very productive techniques for targeting a wide variety of big game species. He is also very proficient at the topwater jigging and popping game, and will be sharing his experience and knowledge on the early season tuna fishery that exists right in the backyard of Rhode Island.
Capt. Lou DeFusco and the crew of the Hot Reels are always on the hunt for untapped fisheries in New England. Tilefish have been largely targeted by commercial and party boats in New England...that is until now. A new band of recreational anglers are focusing their efforts deep below the surface. Hot Reels Sportfishing is one of the groups leading the charge. Capt. Lou has been working over the past couple seasons to adapt his knowledge of deep dropping for swords to focusing on Golden Tiles...big ones!
Captain John Bunar has been fishing the offshore waters of the northeast for over 35 years. At the age of 9, John cut his teeth as a mate on a local charter boat in Sesuit Harbor. He has since earned a reputation as being one of Stellwagon Bank's most proficient bluefin tuna highliners. From June to November, John spends most of his time chasing fish from Maine to Cape Cod. Owning and operating a sportfishing charter company based in Plymouth Massachusetts, John has successfully connected his clients to hundreds of giant bluefin tuna.
John is a 29 year USCG captain, and former member of the Yamaha National Fishing Team. He also hosted the Massachusetts Fishing Report show during it's entirety. John has also spoken publicly at a variety of New England fishing seminar and trade shows.Being on the water almost every day of the week, Capt. John has pioneered a variety of techniques that have increased his odds at catching fish. Whether it's where, how, or when to catch bait...what bait works when and where...when to anchor..when to drift, or even when to use a kite, John has mastered all of the above. More importantly, he is offering to share his knowledge and expertise with other fishermen, and will be helping to kick things off on Saturday April 1st at the 2017 Castafari Seminar. If you're a bluefin tuna enthusiast, and you fish Stellwagon, this is one you don't want to miss.
Captain Tommy Howd brings 25 years of fishing experience, spanning from the offshore waters of Maine, Florida, the Bahamas, and all the way to the Galapagos Islands. While earning a bachelors degree from Connecticut College in 2011, Tommy began his professional fishing career working for an offshore charter fishing operation in Newport, Rhode Island. His mating experience eventually landed him a spot with the “Canyon Runner” operation, fishing alongside captains Mark Decabia and Mark Deblasio. After several years working in the cockpit as a professional mate, Tommy eventually earned his USCG Captains license, and began running and captaining his family's vessel "Tokatomist," a 61 Ritchie Howell. Over the passed several years, the "Tokatomist" crew has garnered continued northeast tournament success, including a 140 lb. daytime swordfish caught on conventional tackle in the 2016 OBBC. Over 40 day time swordfish were brought to the deck of the "Tokatomist" with Tommy at the helm, including three fish over 300 pounds! Captain Tom Howd has earned a reputation as being a swordfish magnet. He has caught big swordfish every season, including a 300 plus pound fish in 2017. There isn't a more successful swordfishing operation in the northeast, and Tommy will be sharing his knowledge and ideas at this year's Castafari seminar!
Captain Sprengel is a Freestyle Outdoor Guide with over 20 years of Regional and international sport fishing experience. His connection to the sport fishing community stems from both experience on the water from a variety of platforms as well as in the tackle manufacturing and even retail facets of the sport. Captain Jack is a progressive member of New England’s Sport Fishing Community. He is a Freelance Outdoor Writer/Photographer and Published Author. His work is frequently seen in publications like "Saltwater Sportsman," "Sport Fishing Magazine", "Big Game Journal" and "On the Water" Magazines as well as many more. He is also an avid contributor to Internet publications like Fishtrack.com, Roffers and "On the Water's" fishing reports. A Multi-Species Enthusiast; He has traveled to many regions in search of trophy or more exotic game fish. Learning from its earlier development with the introduction of modern braided line systems, the captain now specializes in Offshore and Reef Style Jigging and Casting for large pelagic and tropical species with top water lures and jigs. The captain has fished and placed "in the money" as a crew member or at the helm in several Atlantic based big game Sportfishing tournaments, targeting everything from inshore species to larger offshore species like tunas and large billfish. Additionally, Jack has made numerous appearances on both New England based and major television networks, sharing his passion for the north east Sportfishing opportunities and techniques.
Jack has headed the Sport Fishing Presence at the Rhode Island Boat show for both the Newport Yachting Group and the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association as well as consulted and assisted in the layout and design of some northeast sport fishing boat brands. He has worked regionally as a guest speaker for the Big Game Bash, The Castafari Offshore Seminar Series as well as headlining for Bass Pro Shops Big Fish Weekend and Spring Classic. He has given hundreds of cutting edge audio/video Sportfishing Lectures across the Northeast. For the last 3 years Capt. Sprengel was selected to be an instructor at the National Saltwater Seminar Series for George Poveromo. In addition to his published works and outdoor guiding career, Capt Jack is also one of the two men at the helm of the RonZ Lures brand and an active member of Team Shimano's U.S. and Japanese based operations.
Captain Mike Pierdinock has been an avid angler for most of his life. He has fished in both the Atlantic and Pacific ocean, focusing his efforts in waters from New England to Florida and Central America. Mike is an USCG captain, and operates the charter vessel "Perseverance" fishing Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound and distant waters south of Martha's Vineyard. Mike specializes in the pursuit of tuna, sharks and groundfish. More info on his charter business can be viewed at www.cpfcharters.com.
Captain Mike is also a leading advocate for the northeast rod and reel fishery. He is very active on various fishery related commissions, committees, and advisory panels serving as a fishery advocate for the recreational and charter boat/for hire community. He is presently serving as the U.S. representative on the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Advisory Committee and has served as a U.S. Delegate at the annual ICCAT meetings; Massachusetts Marine Fishery Advisory Commission, Vice Chairman; National Marine Fishery Service, Atlantic Highly Migratory Species, Advisory Panel; and the New England Fishery Management Council, Recreational Advisory Panel. Captain Mike is the Massachusetts Chairman of the Recreational Fishing Alliance and is also on the Board of Directors of the Stellwagen Bank Charter Boat Association. Mike actively participates in fishery management issues that impact charter boat/head-boat captains and recreational anglers, and will be presenting details on the history and present management of the bluefin tuna fishery at the 2020 Castafari Big Game Fishing Seminar.
Captain Mike Pierdinock has made presentations at fishing seminars and shows throughout New England. He is a contributing author for the Marlin magazine. He periodically appears on Capt. Lou’s Nautical Talk radio show (WATD 95.9 FM) discussing the latest fishery management issues that impact charter boat/headboat captains and recreational anglers.
Dr. Walt Golet is a research professor and scientist at the University Of Maine and Gulf Of Maine Research Institute. Walter completed his graduate research and a Postdoc on Atlantic bluefin tuna at the University of New Hampshire. He then became a professor at the University of Maine in 2015. where he currently resides and teaches. The majority of Walt’s work focuses on understanding the age, growth, migration, reproduction, stock structure, and forging ecology for highly migratory fish in the Atlantic. Walter's primary objective is to improve estimates of stock status in hopes to maintain/improve fishing opportunities for commercial and recreational fishermen. In addition to his research, Walt holds one of four academic positions on NOAA’s Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel which is tasked with domestic management and policy of HMS species. He also serves as a technical advisor on the ICCAT Advisory Committee’s Atlantic bluefin tuna working group. His current research projects include work on Atlantic bluefin, yellowfin, bigeye, skipjack, broadbill swordfish and marlin. Walt will be sharing his knowledge and research on the local northeast giant tuna population and migration at the Castafari Seminar.
Dr. Jeff Kneebone is an Associate Research Scientist at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium. He holds a Masters degree from the University of New Hampshire and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and has been conducting research on a wide variety of fish species in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for the past 15 years. His research focuses on numerous aspects of fish biology, ecology, and physiology, and is largely conducted in partnership with the commercial and recreational fishing communities. Through his research, he hopes to generate data that can improve fishery management and sustainability, particularly for highly migratory species. Jeff's current research focuses on a wide variety of marine fishes including sand tiger sharks, common thresher sharks, black sea bass, yellowfin tuna and Pacific bluefin tuna. He is also an avid fishermen and spends much of his free time on the water, primarily targeting tautog, sharks, and tuna. Jeff is currently working on a post catch mortality study on yellowfin tuna. He and his team are actively tagging northeast yellowfin tuna, aiming to better understand their migratory patterns and offshore ecosystems. Jeff will be presenting his research at the Castafari Big Game Seminar.
Captain Chris Young of Big Game Sport Fishing has been fishing the New England waters since he was old enough to hold a fishing rod. Growing up in Rhode Island, he spent his childhood summers, nights, and weekends fishing the local waters for any and all game fish. By the time he was in his early 20’s Chris was already an accomplished offshore angler fishing on tournament teams and landing giant tuna upwards of 900 lbs. Today Chris runs a 33' center console out of Rhode Island and is an active member of the New England sport fishing community working with a network including some of the top sportfishing operations in the Northeast. Chris has earned spots in the winners circle of many northeast tournaments, and is an extremely well rounded angler with multiple sponsors and pro staff positions supporting him on his angling journey. He fishes New England’s near coastal waters for Striped Bass, Fluke, and Giant Bluefin Tuna as well as offshore waters in search of Swordfish, Big Eye Tuna, and Marlin. When he is not fishing his local waters he enjoys traveling the world searching for big game pelagic species to check off his ever growing "catch list."
Captain Peter Bacon and Captain Shamus Mara of Big Game Sport Fishing, have been fishing the Southern New England waters from Rhode Island to the Florida Keys and the Bahamas for 20+ years. Best known as owner / operators of Rhode Island’s Premiere Charter Boat Fleet Big Game Sport Fishing and the originators of The Fluke Til Ya Puke Fishing Tournament. Pete and Shamus have a true passion for the thrill of the hunt, love putting their clients on fish, and use a number of techniques targeting all of the inshore and offshore species this world class fishery has to offer. Combined they spend over 110 days offshore every year. The Big Game crew was recently named 2017 Charter Captains of year by Sport Fishing Magazine. They've also been featured in On The Water Magazine, The Fisherman Magazine and Coastal Angler Magazine. Pete and Shamus have spoken and given seminars at fishing shows and clubs throughout New England, New York and New Jersey, as well as at the Castafari Big Game Seminar. Pete and Shamus have a competitive spirit and have earned a reputation as proven fish raisers. They take great pride in making sure that their clients have a memorable fishing experience of a lifetime.
Tony DuBeck has been working at PENN Fishing Tackle for 15 years. His posts at Penn have ranged from Quality Inspection, Assembly Team Lead, Repair Technician to now Parts and Service Manager. Tony's knowledge of PENN reels is vast. He is widely familiar and experienced with all reels ranging from small spinning outfits to big game conventional outfits. Tony has the ability to determine a faulty reel by feel, and can usually determine what is causing the problem without disassembling. In Tony's current role with PENN he manages a Parts and Service Team of 12 technicians. He will be at the show both days, and will be happy to work with people on an individual basis at his booth.
As Fisheries Liaison for Vineyard Wind, Crista Bank leads communications with members of the fishing industry. Most recently, she worked as a fisheries biologist at the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. At SMAST, Crista conducted collaborative research with commercial fishermen studying cod, monkfish, and halibut. Previously, she served on the Schooner Ernestina, the only surviving 19th century Gloucester-built fishing schooner and one of two remaining examples of the Fredonia-style schooners, where she earned her 100-ton United States Coast Guard Captain’s license. Bank also worked onboard traditional sailing vessels across the world, including journeys to the Indian and Atlantic oceans. She started her career teaching marine science at outdoor experiential education programs in New England, Southern California, and the Florida Keys. Crista earned a bachelor's degree in Marine Biology from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and a Master's degree in Fisheries Oceanography from U Mass Dartmouth's School for Marine Science and Technology.