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When you lose some of your best friends, you reflect upon the many great times you had with them. Heck, even the bad times that came up along the way just aren’t that important anymore.
When you look to your mentors in this crazy marlin fishing business we are in, you can learn a little from all of them. And when it comes to who you learned the most from, or which ones taught you the really important fishing lessons, they remain a part of you forever. That’s what I think about when it comes to the passing of Capts. Peter B. Wright and Jack Morrow. They were two important mentors to me. And yes, there were quite a few more who taught me about how to take care of a boat, fixing stuff, navigating long before the days of GPS and more, but these two were really special people.
Jack Morrow and his boss chartered us on The Hooker and The Madam. Morrow would be calling on the single sideband when he was on his boat or at his house, keeping me up to date on the weather and the news from Florida while we were traveling around the world. Like me, Wright was from Fort Lauderdale, and we shared similar paths and got to fish together many times in our careers. We actually met in the Lauderdale airport in the late 1970s while flying to Texas to fish in the Poco Bueno tournament, and so we talked fishing for a few hours. Then Jerry Dunaway chartered him in Australia and took my brother Kunta and me on that trip. It was a great way to learn firsthand what he did best—how to put real pressure on a marlin. I was also impressed with the way that they had backup spools of top shots ready to go if needed, because preparation is always important, especially in that kind of fishing.
The next year, Wright was my deckhand in the Poco Bueno and we won the tournament—he wired the marlin and Kunta gaffed it. What a team! The following season, Wright fished with me in St. Thomas and told me fish stories on the bridge for days while Jeff Fay and Kunta worked the cockpit. We had a great time.
A few years later, Wright helped me out by filling in for me on The Madam, taking the boats from Australia to Tahiti, then running The Hooker for a few charters. We did seminars together for many years in our older days and always had a blast sharing ideas and theories.
The best part for me and many others was being able to honor both Jack Morrow and Peter B. Wright with the IGFA’s Tommy Gifford Award and letting their peers tell some great stories about them while they were still with us. They both got to say a few words when accepting their well-deserved awards as some of the most legendary captains in the sport. We have all of this on film to share with anyone who is interested.
Read Next: One of Wright’s favorite destinations—Australia’s renowned Great Barrier Reef.
I really love this IGFA event. We get to honor these great captains and crews while most of them are alive, and they get to receive the recognition they deserve from their peers and families. So many greats have passed, but I believe that is so important to tell them how much we appreciate their accomplishments and friendship before they go, along with doing the same at their celebrations of life afterward.
Rest in peace, my friends.