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January 30, 2009

Licensed to Fish

So you want to be a professional captain? Here's how.

Voices of Experience

SALT WATER SPORTSMAN EDITOR Ted Lund has held an OUPV license since 1992. As a former light-tackle guide in Key West, he and his clients set 27 IGFA World Records.

"I got my ticket while still in college," Lund recalls. "I had to drive daily from Gainesville, Florida to Jacksonville for a week. The hardest part, though, was the paperwork. Make sure to use your instructor as a resource when filling it out - and whatever you do, don't send your application to Miami."

Capt Frank Crescitelli ( is one of the top skippers in the New York metropolitan area. As an Orvis-endorsed guide, he specializes in stripers and tuna. He and his partner, Capt. Anthony Grassi, earned their licenses in 1998.

"We went to Sea School together in New Jersey but had to take our exam on Long Island," Crescitelli explains. "As we drove to the test, some guy plows into me and totaled my new Durango. It only had 43 miles on the odometer. We were shook up but passed the test. Afterwards, we found out Anthony had a concussion."

"I got my first license back in 1968," Miami tarpon expert Bouncer Smith ( recalls. "My tutor was Capt. Bobby Gashler. We flew to Nassau to bring back Rita Hayworth's 45 Norseman that had blown an engine and I studied on the way. We didn't have much money, so we stopped in Bimini and bought a loaf of hot bread, New Zealand butter and peanut butter for supper."