— March 2003
By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
Just Call Him Brew
|Part 2: This man breathes tuna talk like people breath oxygen.|
He made his first long-distance trips in a 25-foot center console Mako, which he christened Cormorant. (All of Minton's boats are named for this voracious diving sea bird whose sole purpose is catching fish.) Going 70-plus miles offshore in a 25-footer is a bold move, especially since sea conditions can change in the blink of an eye. But when I had a chance to look around Minton's current boat, the 31 Bertram (he still has the Mako), I learned that safety has always been a prime concern for him. The boat is complete with survival suits and submersible VHFs for six, engine-driven crash pumps, a life raft, a GPIRB, four individually wired 2,200-gph bilge pumps, six parachute flares, and more. "Most people don't know how dangerous [being offshore] is," Minton says.
Having honed his skills over several seasons aboard Cormorant and Cormorant Princess and having bagged his share of yellowfin, big eye, and longfin tuna (often limiting out), Minton turned offshore fishing from a hobby into a reason to be. He fishes as many trips as the weather allows. "You can't fish for tuna if all you got is weekends, boss," he tells me. To ensure he's never far from his boat or the bite, he implemented some changes last year. Following the events of September 11, Minton decided Hoboken was a little too close to New York City and too far from the tuna he pursues with such fervor, so he purchased a home in the Hamptons and moved his boat there. How does he remain a businessman and an avid fisherman? He's installed video conferencing in his home to keep in touch with his managers at the gym, he has a satphone onboard for when he needs to conduct business from the canyons, and when it's windy and he can't go out, he'll actually go into the office. Not a bad deal, huh?
This man breathes tuna talk like people breath oxygen. Of tuna fishing, he observes dryly, "It's a disease." Though his fishing lifestyle may seem extreme to the casual observer, what's extreme to a man who used to hurl his body down a mountain at a high rate of speed on what look like two long tongue depressors?
During my interview, Minton spent time hunched over his Bertram's twin 165-hp, 5,000-hours-and-going-strong Perkins diesels, preparing them for his next trip. He says he wouldn't trade those powerplants for anything. After explaining their virtues to me, which include reliability and the sound they transmit through the hull when trolling, he says, "Hey, boss, want to go for a boat ride?" I happily take a seat as he revs the engines and maneuvers Cormorant Princess out of Hampton Bays' Jackson's Marina and through Shinnecock Inlet to a flat-calm ocean. Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" (the music in the famous helicopter scene in Apocolaypse Now and his theme song when leaving for tuna trips) blares out of the customized stereo system, and he looks to the horizon. But he isn't looking at the same horizon I'm looking at, he's imagining the place several horizons over where the tuna are and where he will soon be.
The last I heard of Minton was in late November. His crew told me he'd found a weather window of about 36 hours to get one late-season trip in to "catch something big," as he likes to say. Although I didn't find out how he did on that trip, I'm sure he waited until the last butterfish bait was gone and the final thunnus headed south before he pulled lines to call it a day. That's just Brew.
This article originally appeared in the March 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.