Sportfishing on Offshore Wind

“If You Build It – They Will Come”

Offshore Windmills Might Be Responsible For The Resurrection of The Sport-Fishing Industry … The Likes of Which We Haven’t Seen In 50+ Years!

A few years ago, Kevin Costner stared in a film called “Field of Dreams.” In the movie, Kevin Costner hears a voice in his head that keeps repeating “If You Build It, They Will Come” so he built a baseball field in the middle of no where and people came.

When it comes to Offshore Wind Farms, I believe,
“If You Build It The Fish Will Come” and I predict Offshore Windmills will attract Giant Tuna, Swordfish, White Marlin and many other trophy sportfish. They will return to the areas in numbers and sizes we haven seen in 50+years with the windmill structures as the game changer and the Sportfishing on Offshore Windmills will be some of the best in the world.

I say this because, when I was a boy, the areas where the wind farms are to be built were teaming with Sportfish and Big money tournaments were an almost weekly occurrence, attracting fishermen from all over the world.

My grandfather George McTurck was a legendary rod and reel Swordfish captain back in the day, and celebrities waited in line for years to fish tournaments with him and others out of Montauk.

He and other captains from Nantucket, Marthas Vineyard, Block Island, Montauk, Shinnecock, Freeport, Brielle NJ and all the way down the eastern seaboard.

Back then, Sportfishing in this part of the Eastern Seaboard was “World Class” and the Palm Beach millionaires like Buzzy Brown and his buddies would run their super yachts up from Florida to fish tournaments against the locals.

Local Legends like:

  • Billy Holtzman out of Shinnecock
  • George and John Potts on the “Bluefin”
  • The Murray Brothers on the “Cookie” out of Freeport and Montauk
  • George McTurck on the “Sportfisher” (my grandfather)  
  • Doug McCann on the “Francis Ann”
  • Walter Haab on the “Seacon” 
  • George Pitts on the “Marie III”
  • And a whole bunch of other fishing legends whose names evade me at the moment.

An Offshore Fishing Trip Back Then Was 12 – 15 Miles Offshore –
Not 80+ Miles Like It Is Today

  • If you wanted Swordfish, you went SW to 120’ – 150’ of water.
  • If you wanted Giant Tuna, you went NE to Nebraska Shoals.
  • If you were fishing the big money White Marlin Tournaments, you headed east and fished the flats SW of Martha’s Vineyard.

I would sit at my grandfathers feet listening to the stories, hanging on every word when they all got together for the annual boatmen dinners and dreamt of one day fishing the tournaments myself.

Then unfortunately, the foreign factory trawlers (Russians) showed up close to our shores catching everything they could – processing the good fish and cooking everything else into fish meal, and the sport-fishing began a long, slow decline.

Our illustrious government in its infinite wisdom, created guaranteed loan programs to build up the US commercial fishing fleet without regard or any forethought of regulations.

Thousands of boats were built  that were 600% more powerful and 900% more efficient than the fishing fleet was. Marine habitat was disrupted, small fish caught and discarded dead and the Multi-Million Dollar Sportfishing business collapsed.  So did my dreams of becoming of a tournament sport fishermen.

Which leads me to the saying “If You Build It, They Will Come”

Offshore Wind might be the single biggest boost to the Offshore Sport Fishing Industry we have ever seen because the turbine mounts will become huge structure and marine habitat fields.

Let me explain exactly what I mean with a little fish lesson using early American settlers in Colorado. 

Fish are no different than wildlife or people.
Take a look at Colorado – huge open fields with nothing but dirt and grass. For the most part, nothing really “lives” on the fields but rodents.

However, animals roam the fields moving from one area to the other in a north-south direction in search of climate because that is where the food is. So they would graze from one area to the next and settle in close to the mountain ranges for the season.

People were no different and in the early days, settlers built towns and homes close to the mountains and tilled the fields close by.

Now take the picture in your minds eye and move it into an ocean setting. 

Fish do the same exact thing.
They move over vast underwater fields going from one area to another, grazing along the way following water temperature and food.  When they come across structure (Mountain ranges) they tend to settle in for a while and hang out till the water temperature becomes uncomfortable and the food leaves.
No different than wildlife

So, in following up with the saying: “If You Build It They Will Come” is exactly what is going to happen with Offshore Wind Farms.

The structures in the water will grow plant and mollusk life which will become food and attract small fish, which will become food for bigger fish and the bigger fish will become food for the larger fish and the cycle will go on.

I am totally convinced that within 5 years of the Offshore Wind Turbine mounts being installed we will begin to see the return of large Sportfish and the resurrection of the Multi-Billion Dollar Sport Fishing Industry.

Sportfishing on Offshore Windmills Will Become “World Class.”
People will come from all over the world gladly leaving billions of dollars behind just for the opportunity to fish them.

I’m not alone with this belief either – and every single person I know and talk to who remembers what the fishing was like 50 and 60 years ago agree with me. 

It is my hope and dream to remain healthy enough to fish them with my grandchildren when the time comes.

The Sportfishing Industry needs to get behind and support Offshore Wind for all it’s worth because the Sportfishing on Offshore Windmills is going to be very productive.

Imagine ….. bringing back the lucrative Sportfishing Industry and powering millions of homes with green renewable energy.

2 thoughts on ““If You Build It – They Will Come””

  1. Great news and another incentive for more offshore wind farms! How should energy companies take advantage of marketing this when bidding for-and installing-more capacity?

  2. Brian Patteson

    You seem to have left out a key part. There used to be blue water much closer to shore back in the day. Offshore wind farms won’t turn the ocean blue again.

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