Donna Monte | Outdoor Channel
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Donna Monte

Donna Monte

First Mate – The Bounty Hunter

Donna Monte, who worked for nearly four decades in customer service for an adhesive manufacturer, was introduced to fishing in 1978 by her future husband Bill. “About six months into our relationship, he showed up at my parent’s house, with a boat on a trailer on the back of his truck,” she recalls. “I said, ‘What’s that?’ he said, ‘It’s a boat. We’re going to go fishing!’ I said, okay, I’ve never done that before, but I’ll give it a try. I’ll try anything once.” Right away, she enjoyed the experience of being out on the water in a fishing boat, but she didn’t want to have anything to do with actually catching fish. “I was like, ‘Oh, you’re hurting the fish,’ and blah blah blah. Then, one day, Bill asked her to take his rod while he performed another chore on the boat. “I said, ‘What am I supposed to do if the fish comes?’ He said, ‘Turn the handle.’ So a fish got on, and I reeled it in, and I didn’t give him his rod and reel back. It was awesome! I liked the challenge of it. And that was just a small fish, a codfish.” She was with Bill when he saw his first bluefin being offloaded in Gloucester. “I was like, ‘Oh my God – what is that?’” she recalls with a laugh. “I had never seen anything that huge before.” Pretty soon, she and Bill were venturing further offshore, in search of the giant fish. The first time they encountered one in the wild, it was even more revelatory. “You can have someone explain to you what catching a bluefin is like, but until you actually experience it, it’s just beyond what you can humanly imagine.” What appeals to Donna Monte is “the challenge of being able to actually get one on a line and then battle from there. It’s like nothing I’ve ever done. I’ve been to Hawaii and caught Pacific Blue Marlin, I’ve caught thousands of different species. Nothing compares to the power, it’s absolutely frightening. And they fight really hard. They don’t just jump on the deck. You can have one under your boat for a hour, trying to beat you.”

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