Smooth sailing for Mario on Fish Attack
First Mate Mario checks the lines and rods aboard Fish Attack ahead of day two of 2019 Brian Manning Memorial Cup hosted by the Barbados Game Fishing Association,
Can you imagine calling a boat your office, sailing the waters around the island, taking people, locals and visitors alike to catch fish, your job?
Mario Springer does and it has been his story for over five and a half to six years.
The 25-year-old is heavy into sports fishing and is the First Mate on the vessel Fish Attack, one of Barbados’ leading game fishing boat.
You may say he is simply following in his father, a fisherman by trade, footsteps, but whatever it is, Mario believes he has found his true calling.
“When I was younger my father’s friends use to prod me and try to get me to try it. They were the ones who got me involved and got me to try my hand at Game fishing. This is about six or so years now. I was 19 when I truly got my sea legs,” he told Loop Lifestyle. “From there I hit the water running, you could say. I had the opportunity to work with some good people, starting with a boat called I-O-U, which is there just two or three boats down from where I am now working on... still working with some great people.”
From there, he went on to try his hand at commercial fishing aboard Wave Dancer, later moving to Real Crazy 2, ultimately ending up on Fish Attack with Skipper, Matthew.
“Sadly I find it is not something that you would find most young people wanting to get involved in. You see, yes, game fishing is a sport, but it is also a business. It is how I . . . it is how several other people make a living. This is what we do.
“I’ve tried to convince a few of my friends about it, you know, trying to get them to get involved in it but they say it is a lot of hard work. I have to let them know that it is times better than working in an office. There is no one to stress you out. This is my own Las Vegas – relaxing,” Mario said.
Among his duties as First Mate, he has full control of the entire experience onboard the boat from the time those chartering go out, fish and returns to shore. In, addition, as the Captain’s second in command, he is responsible for getting everything for tournaments.
“Getting ready is all about preparation. You have to make sure that everything is right and in working order. You have to make sure that the engine is right. You have to check that the fishing gear is up to par, your lines, your hooks, and then you have to find and arrange the bait for the duration of the competition. Honestly, it is lots of work, but I won’t lie to you. It is worth it.
“If you think about it, you are essentially putting out all of that effort to go out there and fish and you’re trying to get Marlin, Sailfish, and in the process, you’ve got to remember that it is a competition. You hone your skills doing it because in the long run, what you’re doing is trying to get up there to be the lead boat,” the St Leonard’s Boy’s alum added.
When Loop Lifestyle spoke to Mario it was at the end of the first day of competition in the 2019 Brian Manning Memorial Cup hosted by the Barbados Game Fishing Association, where vessel from Barbados and others in the region are vying for an overall prize pot of over US$10,000.
“I won this tournament two years ago when I was on Real Crazy 2. I released three Sailfish. Last year it was not my luck as I didn’t win, but this year . . . I am going to try my luck again. We’re hoping to be up there in the winner’s circle. So far I raised three sailfish, one blue marlin but it did not stick but we [Fish Attack] have a better chance on Sunday of doing better and finishing the competition,” he told us while recounting some of his past experiences.
“Earlier this year during one of the international tournament that we had, that was my first real competition. I was so nervous, but when it ended, I got a Blue Marlin, it was the first one for the season. After that tournament, I caught 13 [Marlin] in one month when I went out commercial fishing for about two or three days at a time.
“And no matter how others might look at it – as a sport or as a business, there are a lot of benefits when to work in my office. Travelling is one. I have been to St. Lucia, Grenada and Tobago for some tournaments. Next year my next step will be going to Costa Rico,” he said.
As Mario prepared the boat for the next day’s event, he gave us a peek into his plans for the future.
“I want to open my own business selling fish. I have plans to buy a vessel and start up my own charter business. I intend to do sport fishing, everything. From there I am looking to get a Longliner to do commercial fishing so that I could be out at sea for days at a time . . . But you’ve got to start some were and go up from there – that is where I am at.”