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, Frank Pettisani, Jr., had him running Exile that Fall. Ricky captained the boat for any trips Frank 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. He allowed Ricky to handle every aspect of the boat. Ricky and Frank fished hard on Exile, so Ricky 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, they moved Exile south where they fished for billfish in Venezuela and Aruba for a couple of months. Shortly after Ricky took the boat back to Venezuela from Aruba he returned to the US 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 12 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 every Spring 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 past two winters he has spent most of his time fishing for billfish and yellowfin tuna in Grenada aboard the Exile again with Boat Owner, Frank Pettisani, Jr. 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.
Frank Pettisani Jr. and Ricky Wheeler have always enjoyed fishing together and love getting people out there fishing, so the Summer of 2016 they started to get serious about making the move to start up a new charter business with a boat that would not hold them back. Frank secured thebeautiful 65′ Paul Mann Custom Sportfishing Boat that he named Exile 65 to be the boat for the program. Captain Ricky Wheeler will be running charters aboard Exile 65 year round in various fish rich locations and working hard to get people fishing trips they will never forget.
“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