Digest — October 2003
By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
King of the Giants
|Part 2: He turned to giant fishing exclusively in 1968.|
“I had a Morgan Skiff 26, and it didn’t have a rod on it. I’d use it to pick up girls. It was great. I’d go inshore, pick up a girl, and take her for a ride,” he recalled with an ear-to-ear grin. But his picking-up-girls days with the skiff ended with his discharge, and it was back to fishing.
After becoming a builder and general contractor, Amoroso began to earn local respect as a fisherman while he owned a 1957 36-foot Klein, which was built in Gerritsen Beach (in the Brooklyn borough of New York City) and named, like all his boats, Marlin. I figured there had to be a deep and mystical reason for all his boats bearing the name of this fierce fighting fish. “Perhaps it was out of respect for a particular battle between this angler and a pugnacious pelagic?” I thought. In straight-talk Amoroso-style, he gave me the answer. “That was the name of my first boat when I got it, and I didn’t feel like changing it,” he said. Oh. Next question.
He used his Klein to fish for all sorts of species, from shark to tuna to marlin. “We were going to the canyons with fuel barrels that were gravity-fed into the fuel tank,” he recalled laughingly, like a kid who has gotten away with taking his parents’ car for a joy ride. After all, when you carry barrels of fuel a couple hundred miles into the ocean and come back, you’ve gotten away with something. Amoroso added that marlin were plentiful, and bagging 40 to 50 tuna (not of the giant variety) per trip was easy.
Working on his trolling and drifting techniques, he turned to giant fishing exclusively in 1968 and has kept with it ever since. He says he “just liked them.” As the marlin is to Hemingway’s Santiago, so is the giant fish to Amoroso. It’s his be all and end all.
So for nearly 50 years, these giant fish have called Amoroso each season to do battle, and oftentimes he has been the victor. He said, “We’ve caught a lot of big fish.” Some of the pictures he showed me included fish in the 600-, 700-, and 800-plus-pound range, with his personal best coming in at more than 1,200 pounds. But he admits that even an experienced angler like himself can be humbled. “If there’s a new way to lose a fish, [my crew and I] will find it,” Amoroso joked. This may be true, but as he shared with me some of his tricks of rigging, trolling, and chunking baits and how to use a boat to tail-wrap a fish, I concluded that he’s probably caught more than he’s lost.
At 73 years old, most fishermen would rather catch bass by the sandbar or under a bridge, but not Amoroso. He admits that he doesn’t have the energy he used to for those 3 a.m. starts but adds that he’s still going to chase giants for a little while longer. “I’ll stop fishing when I can’t get from here to there,” Amoroso told me as he pointed to the deck and then to the flying bridge of his Hatteras. In the short time I spent with Amoroso, I got the feeling he’ll always find a way to “get from here to there.”
Oscar Amoroso has battled giant fish like this one for five decades.
This article originally appeared in the September 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.