Marlin Expeditions Instructor Spotlight: Brad Goodrich and Charles Perry

New school meets old school when it comes to proper angling training
View of the cockpit from the tower, where several anglers reel a marlin in boatside.
“I love being an instructor for Marlin Expeditions. It’s a fantastic way for novice or seasoned anglers to learn from some of the best fishermen in the business, in real-time situations, and in some of the best fishing locations.” -Capt. Brad Goodrich. Marlin Expeditions / Out Your Front Door

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The old saying “There’s more than one way to skin a cat” couldn’t be more relevant when it comes to teaching people to fish. Fishing itself is a culmination of techniques that have evolved, yet somehow have managed to stay the same, for thousands of years. Certain variables are always constant, and even though the tackle (slowly) gets more advanced, fishing requires a basic understanding of not only the species you’re fishing for but also how to get yourself connected. If you’ve ever caught a bluegill, I promise you can catch a blue marlin, if you can stay focused. Capt. Brad Goodrich and Charles Perry are two Marlin Expeditions instructors who bring together the notion of old-school basics and new-school techniques. And to say we are blessed to have them on our staff is an understatement.

Capt. Brad Goodrich demonstrating to an onlooking Expeditions attendee.
Goodrich (right) breaks down the mechanics of the spread for a Marlin Expeditions attendee in Costa Rica. Marlin Expeditions / Out Your Front Door

Capt. Brad Goodrich

I have been lucky enough to fish and work with Goodrich for several years now, both on boats I used to run and at Marlin Expeditions. If you were to close your eyes and imagine an exceptional mate—one who is excited to be there just for the sake of it, and one who is just competitive enough to keep you interested—Brad is it. It’s always story time, but not in the sense of, “This is what I’ve done—aren’t I great?” But the stories he tells always have a point, a learning message, if you will. I don’t think he does it on purpose; I just think he’s a people person, and genuinely is always in his students’ corner.

Fishing isn’t easy. Fishermen are competitive by nature, and razzing is a common thread. It’s extremely easy to get in your own head, which is the worst possible place to be, especially when you’re learning. In your head is where loser scenarios flourish and a lack of self-confidence breeds. And once you’re there, it’s hard to get out—second-guessing yourself and ultimately developing bad habits. In Goodrich, you get someone extremely good at reading the room. He can tell, instinctively, what you’re thinking; he knows why you’re thinking it, and somehow he always brings you back to earth, even after the worst-case scenarios have occurred.

He has a way of putting your mind at ease, breaking down the bite so you can easily understand the mechanics of it even though it happens so quickly. I’ve only ever heard wonderful things from his students, and I promise you will enjoy fishing with him as he markedly hurdles a once novice and sometimes timid angler to a confident, experienced offshore fisherman.

Goodrich is a Florida native, is a longtime ­tournament-win­ning­ mate, and now runs the 56-foot Viking Amuck full time out of Islamorada, where he lives with his wife and four daughters. He’s worked side by side with some of the best tournament teams in the game and has fished all over the world. With many skills and modern angling techniques in his quiver, he is what we call a well-rounded fisherman. “From grunts to granders” is his motto, and his ability to teach someone to catch both is his style. Of course, fishing can be challenging, but he makes it fun, and his record as one of the top-winning instructors we have at Marlin Expeditions speaks for itself. He and instructor Debbi David have brought more Marlin Expeditions shootout winners to the stage than any other, which puts him in the world-class category no matter which way you slice it.

Charles Perry at his table next two two billfish trophies and dozens of photographs on the table in front of him.
“One of the things I like about Marlin Expeditions is that a group of people, sometimes strangers, comes together to learn and improve their angling skills. We must be doing something right because the program has a lot of repeat clients.” -Charles Perry Harry Hindmarsh

Charles Perry

In the fishing world, Charles Perry’s career is the pinnacle. He grew up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and he’s a big-fish legend who has traveled the world over in search of records, which ultimately cemented his place in the lineup of what became known as the “fish assassins” of the 1970s and ’80s.
In 2011, he was bestowed the IGFA’s Tommy Gifford award, a recognition assigned to the sport’s legendary captains and crewmembers. This award isn’t a participation trophy; it’s a highly thought-out distinction granted by a board of the industry’s finest. Not surprisingly, Perry now sits on that board, tasked with the responsibility of paying homage to the fishermen who continue to make strides in their trade by way of leadership and peer respect. It is an honor to be acknowledged by your peers this way, and no one deserves a seat at the table more than Perry.

His career is all-encompassing. He has wired and weighed 28 certified grander marlin and has released countless more since. A study under Capt. Peter B. Wright in Australia, and part of Stewart Campbell’s iconic Chunda crew, Perry and Bark Garnsey, along with Campbell, toured the world in search of giant marlin, something he wanted to do since he began fishing at the age of 6.

For more than 20 years, Perry has been working with Dr. Barbara Block’s Tag-A-Giant program, which focuses on tagging and tracking bluefin tuna off the North Carolina coast. And most recently, he’s been exploring the 70 years’ worth of historical contributions that fellow Outer Banks captains have had on both fishing and boatbuilding for the book “Big Fish, Better Boats,” with the help of Qualifier’s Capt. Fin Gaddy. It seems that Perry’s contributions to the sport-­fishing industry don’t stop, with a career that rarely anyone can touch.

Read Next: Learn more about Marlin Expeditions here.

Perry is mild-mannered and composed, but tenacious and focused, and he says the camaraderie found in the fishing industry is like no other. Hanging out with people who have a love for fishing as he does is the only place he wants to be, even as his professional, world-renowned career switches gears. I call this giving back. Giving back to the sport that has given so much is how a career truly comes full circle. Giving back to the sea that has provided him a living for close to 50 years. And giving back to the industry that has supported him over and over again. He is a giver, a wealth of knowledge that you might never find anywhere else. And the wisdom he’s had to keep so close to his chest for many years is now available to anyone willing to listen.

It’s a pleasure to fish with Perry, and I don’t know what we’d do without him. He’s a rare treasure that we are privileged to have teaching again this season, and he is always honored to fish with those who want to learn by engaging fishermen one Marlin Expedition at a time. A rarity indeed.

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