Captain Ricky Wheeler
You will find Captain Ricky Wheeler at the helm on your fishing trips with Fish Downsea Charters. Captain Ricky Wheeler lives for saltwater fishing. As a Captain he has set 11 IGFA Line Class Records and 5 IGFA All Tackle Length Records. He also has plenty of tournament wins and placements to his credit as both a Captain and Mate, and continues to be highly competitive year in and year out. His passion and high level of enthusiasm for sportfishing shines through on every trip which makes him an absolute pleasure to fish with. He loves to teach and help people get on the fish of a lifetime every opportunity he gets. Fishing is all about having fun on the water, and Captain Ricky Wheeler wants to be sure everyone is having as much fun as him on every trip. He is well immersed into the sport of fishing not only running fishing trips, but also his tackle company Fish Downsea Tackle (www.FishDownsea.com) and writing articles for well known fishing magazines.
Recent Tournament Finishes and Professional Achievements:
– 11 IGFA Line Class World Records (Captain)
– 5 IGFA All Tackle Length World Records (Captain)
– 2020 White Marlin Open (Ocean City, Maryland) Daily Tuna (Captain)
– 2019 Mid Atlantic Cup Blue Marlin Tournament (Cape May, New Jersey) 1st Place Blue Marlin (Captain)
– 2019 Mid Atlantic Tuna Tournament (Cape May, New Jersey) 3rd Place Tuna (Mate)
– 2018 Mid Atlantic Tuna Tournament (Cape May, New Jersey) 3rd Place Tuna Points (Captain)
– 2018 White Marlin Smackdown (Cat Island, Bahamas) 1st Place Billfish Points (Mate)
– 2018 Hang Em High Tournament (Cat Island, Bahamas) 1st Place Overall, 1st Place Dolphin (Mate)
– 2017 Stone Harbor Invitational Marlin Tournament (Cape May, NJ) 3rd Place Marlin Points, 2nd Place Dolphin (Captain)
– 2017 South Jersey Showdown (Cape May, NJ) 1st Place Marlin Points (Captain)
– 2017 Avalon Meat Tournament (Avalon, NJ) 1st Place Overall, Heavist Fish (Captain)
– 2017 White Marlin Smackdown (Cat Island, Bahamas) 1st Place Billfish Points, 1st Place Dolphin (Mate)
– 2017 Hang Em High Tournament (Cat Island, Bahamas) 1st Place Overall, 1st Place Wahoo, Heaviest Fish (Mate)
– 2016 Mid Atlantic 500 Tournament (New Jersey) 4th Place Tuna, 3rd Place Home Port Calcutta (Captain)
– 2016 White Marlin Open (Ocean City, Maryland) 3rd Place Tuna (Mate)
– 2016 Stone Harbor Invitational Marlin Tournament (New Jersey) 3rd Place Billfish Points, 1st Place Team Award (Captain)
– 2016 Tobago International Gamefish Tournament (Tobago) Heaviest Dolphin (Captain)
– 2016 White Marlin Smackdown (Cat Island, Bahamas) First Place Billfish Points, First Place Dolphin (Mate)
– 2016 Spice Island Billfish Tournament (Grenada) First Place, Grand Slam Award, Set New Tournament Release Record (Captain)
– 2015 Marlin Month (Cape May, NJ) First Place Billfish Points (Captain)
– 2015 Offshore Canyon Kickoff (Cape May, NJ) Second Place Billfish Points (Captain)
– 2015 Wounded Warrior Shark Tournament (Cape May, NJ) First Place – Most Shark Releases (Captain)
– 2015 White Marlin Smackdown (Cat Island, Bahamas) First Place Dolphin, First Place Tuna, Second Place Billfish Points, Only Tournament ‘Grand Slam’ (Mate)
– 2014 Canyon Kickoff (Cape May, NJ) First Place Tuna, First Place Tuna Stringer (Captain)
– 2014 Hawk’s Nest Billfish Blast (Cat Island, Bahamas) Third Place Billfish Points (Mate)
– 2013 Labor Day Overnight Billfish Tournament (Cape May, NJ) Second Place Billfish Points (Captain)
– 2013 Viking Ocean Showdown (Cape May, NJ) First Place, Most Points Overall, Most Points White Marlin, Top Lady Angler (Captain)
– 2013 Shockley Offshore Tournament (Cape May, NJ) First Place, Most Points Billfish and Most Points Overall (Captain)
– 2013 Hang Em High Meat Tournament (Cat Island, Bahamas) First Place Largest Fish, Most Points Overall, First Place Dolphin, Second Place Wahoo (Mate)
– 2012 Ladies Billfish Tournament (Cape May, NJ) First Place Tuna (Captain)
BIO of Captain Ricky Wheeler:
Captain Ricky Wheeler grew up fishing in the DE River, DE Bay and Chesapeake Bay for striped bass, weakfish, flounder, and bluefish throughout his childhood with an occasional ‘offshore trip’ for small tunas and dolphin. It was when he started spending his summers at his grandparents in Wildwood, NJ that Ricky started to take a huge interest in offshore fishing. Ricky worked as a dock attendant at South Jersey Marina during his Wildwood summers, and it was there that he made some connections with great people who would get him offshore fishing on his days off. Ricky immediately became addicted to big game fishing, and that addiction only grew after he started to mate on sportfishing boats throughout his college summers.
Immediately after graduating from the University of DE with a Bachelor's Degree, Ricky went straight to work as a full time mate for that summer since it’s something he always wanted to do. The plan was to do it for a bit then continue his education. Well, fishing had other plans. At the end of that summer Ricky picked up work on a 45′ Hatteras called Exile. Exile’s owner, had him running Exile that Fall. Ricky captained the boat for any trips the owner couldn’t make and mated on the trips he did make for the next 5 years. Although Captain Ricky grew up fishing his whole life, it is this job that sparked his career as a professional fisherman. Working on the Hatteras was an amazing learning experience. Frank was very laid back, an extremely knowledgeable fisherman, and a great teacher. The owner allowed Ricky to handle every aspect of the boat. Ricky fished hard on Exile, so he was able to get lots of experience and education on the water as well as on land with the customization projects on the boat.
The Fall of 2010, he moved Exile south where he fished for billfish in Venezuela and Aruba for a couple of months. Shortly after Ricky took the boat back to Venezuela from Aruba and then returned to the United States since the situation in Venezuela made it difficult to have a charter operation there. Captain Ricky Wheeler went on to be a freelance Captain which kept him on the water fishing almost every day, where he loves to be the most. In 2011 Ricky's priority was being a Captain for lady angler Maureen Klause on her 27' Contender. Maureen’s passion is fishing for IGFA line class records, and they had already set 2 IGFA line class world records together. Ricky and Maureen went on to set 14 more IGFA world records since 2011, and hopefully there are still more to come.
Ricky continued to fish as a Captain and Mate in many locations from 2012-2016. He has spent numerous Spring seasons in the Bahamas fishing with Captain Joe Trainor catching billfish, mahi, wahoo, and tuna. His Winters have been spent fishing various locations such as Costa Rica, Grand Cayman, St Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago to name a few, but the Wintertime mainstay has been fishing for billfish, big yellowfin tuna, and wahoo in Grenada. Captain Ricky Wheeler continued to fish his Summers back home in the Mid-Atlantic out of New Jersey as a Captain and Mate on various boats for pelagics and also striped bass in the Fall. During this time he also started up his tackle business, Fish Downsea Tackle Company as he and a charter customer teamed up to help fill some voids that were in the tackle industry. Being on the water daily gives them a big advantage, and Fish Downsea (www.FishDownsea.com) continues to develop more and more saltwater fishing tackle made in the USA by fishermen for fishermen.
The past few years in New Jersey he has run Exile 65 (a 65' Custom Paul Mann) and then Wish You Were Here (a 61' Viking) in the Summer of 2019. In the Fall of 2019, Ricky made the move to acquire a 60' Custom Precision Sportfishing Boat to continue building stability in his charter business. After 5 months of hard work in the boatyard bringing the already impressive 60' Custom Boat to be an even better and updated boat, he now has a boat to constantly offer on all of his charters that brings in high end performance, amenities, and comfort in an affordable package for any charter you wish to go on anywhere he happens to be in the world.
"I have always loved fishing since I was a kid, and it is something I just can never part from. I love being offshore, especially when I am billfishing! My competitive drive and pure love for fishing makes everyday on the water so much fun. There is very little out there that can compare to the experience of Bluewater fishing."
-Captain Ricky Wheeler