Captain Scott Stewart has loved fishing and the outdoors since he can remember and has now taken his love and turned it into his profession.
Stewart, along with his first mate Frank Castro and secretary Angela Stewart, has created a new charter fishing company out of the Port of Brookings Harbor and aptly named it Ultimate Catch Charter.
Trying to offer an experience unlike any current charter operation in business, Stewart uses light gear rather than the more typical medium- or heavy-weight gear.
“We really feel it gives the people a good experience,” Stewart explained. “We really want them to enjoy the experience of getting the fish rather than just catching them.”
Stewart and his crew have a 24-foot Bayliner that is dedicated to seagoing tours and a 17-foot Fishrite drift boat that is used for winter steelhead fishing on the river.
While many fishing vessels will have a variety of rods on board, Ultimate Catch Charters, as a member of the Lamiglas Guide Program, relies strictly on Lamiglas rods.
Stewart doesn’t head out to search for halibut or tuna but chooses to limit his guided tours to rockfish, including lingcod, summer and fall salmon and winter steelhead.
As a graduate of Alaska’s Nautical School, Stewart has a master’s licence and is fully insured.
He began his guiding career in 1998 out of Corvallis. Spending time on the Santiam, Alsea and Siletz rivers honed his skills as a freshwater fisherman and his love for fishing has helped those skills transfer over to salt-water angling.
“I’ve always loved fishing and I’ve always been successful,” Stewart says. “If there was 10 guys fishing and one fish was caught, I was the guy who caught it.”
After marrying his wife Angela six years ago, Stewart moved to Brookings and worked for Loring’s Lighthouse Sporting Goods for five years before starting his charter business on June 17.
“I’m not a fisherman’s widow,” Angela says of her husband’s love of fishing. “I love to fish as much as he does.”
Occasionally when a fisherman is asked to tell a story it will involve the fish getting away. In Stewarts case it involves catching a fish without ever setting a hook.
“We were out fishing for rockfish and had hooked a small black and were reeling it in when we kept feeling nibbles,” Castro explains. “(Stewart) reeled it in slow and steady and anytime the nibbles would stop he’d stop reeling.”
“As I got the black up to the surface, I could see that there was a monster ling following the black up and trying to eat it,” Stewart says as he takes over the story. “Frank got the net out as I reeled the black just to the surface and then he netted one of the biggest lings that I’ve ever seen. The thing must have weighed close to 25 pounds.”
A fish story that ends with a fish in the boat is one that most clients like to hear, and Stewart has a lot of them according to his first mate.
“We’ve been fishing together for about six years and we just get along real well,” Castro says of his work with Stewart. “I’m responsible for making sure gear is in good working order and the fish are all legal.
“I also take any fish that we are putting back into the ocean and make sure that they swim away instead of just dumping them overboard. We really work hard to make sure that we help sustain the local fishing grounds and that means being responsible when putting undersized fish back.”
For any charters, Ultimate Catch Charters will provide all gear and tackle but does not offer any lunch or snack service.
“You’ve got to bring your own lunch,” Stewart says with a chuckle “but no bananas.”
Charters begin at 5:30 a.m. and end when everyone has limited out or the ocean gets too rough to be safe. Cost for the day is $85 for adults and $45 for children. Each adult will need to have applicable licensing and tags depending on the type of fishing being done.