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Spear Fishing Down East

Owner Dave Gleeson Ups His Game off Newport, Rhode Island, in a Sailfish Center Console 

Those who grow up in Rhode Island have fishing in their blood. Rhode Island is, after all, called the “Ocean State.” In the case of Dave Gleeson, a water-loving native, he is as comfortable on the ocean as he is on land. “I grew up in Aquidneck Island and went down to the beach to swim or fish whenever I could. My uncle got a boat when I was about five years old, and always took me and my Dad out with him. I got hooked early on fishing.”

Fast forward to adulthood, and Dave still answers the call of the sea. He earned his master’s degree in Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, and also his commercial fishing license. Dave now works for the US Navy.

Such are the passions of those who grow up with a love of boating. But here is where the fun really begins. After owning several fishing boats together over the years, Dave and his Dad finally bought a Sailfish 206 Center Console. It is their “legacy” boat – and it has made as many memories happen as possible for years. From the dock at the Naval Base in Newport, Rhode Island, Dave and his dad’s adventures are epic and endless: cruising Newport Harbor, going lobstering, free diving, inshore and offshore fishing, and spear fishing.

“It’s a blast. We use our boat often and for as many adventures possible,” says Dave. “We like to leave before first light and run out to our chosen spot, while the sun is just coming up. We will usually set up for some drifts – sometimes we will troll a bit – then once the bite slows down we’ll start free diving. I will swim down to where the fish are – 30 feet, 40 feet, 50 feet to the bottom – down there the fish don’t exactly have to be hungry to catch them.” (Picture Dave with a spear gun on the inshore ocean floor. No bait – just him, the fish, and the blue sea.)

Dave’s comprehensive surface-fishing-to-free-diving technique enables his crew to maximize their total catch – from top to bottom. “Once we’re done fishing and diving, I’ll usually stop to haul my lobster traps on the way back to the dock. Then we will call it a day. We’ve got a pretty good system going.”

Dave and his dad were drawn to their Sailfish 206 Center Console because of its versatility and easy handling in big water. “There is a lot of deck space. I can stow my fishing and diving gear, and guests sit up on the bow comfortably and spread out, Dave says. “There is also plenty of seating on the stern. Our Sailfish is a super versatile boat.”

The Sailfish Variable Degree Stepped (VDS) Hull can handle all types of water and weather, especially in New England. “Our boat is phenomenal at what it’s designed to do, which is to get up on plane quickly, go fast and still be comfortable, dry and safe. It is nimble, turns quickly, is easy to handle and is very efficient. Our boat is pretty economical to run with our Yamaha F150. We use the boat a lot and hardly ever have to fuel up!” he smiles.

All of Dave’s fishing and big game adventures are balanced by family time and camaraderie. “It’s so easy to walk around on deck and not be cramped. The leaning post is comfortable to lean up against and is wide enough to hold two people. My girlfriend sits at the helm with me, even in November when we its cold and we cruise around at 25 knots. We find it plenty warm and cozy there together.”

At the end of the day, boating is all about enjoyment and shared experiences. “I love to cook with my friends and family in the summers. We have fish tacos, cook up lobsters or whatever we catch and bring home. I’m lucky that my friends are into it just as much as I am,” says Dave.

“Our Sailfish helps us accomplish a lot on the water. But for the most part, it’s all about spending time with friends and family and living for that call of the water,” Dave says.

We couldn’t agree more.

Company sitting at the bow of a Sailfish Center Console BoatLong Description

Dave’s family and friends enjoy relaxing on the bow of his 206 Center Console. Photos in header courtesy of Casey Hampton

Spear Fishing Down East

Posted:18/05/2023 03:57AM

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