Tight Lines: New Sterling associates are competitive fishermen

May 20, 2022

It is not a requirement that the person helping arrange the financing on your new power boat be an experienced captain or someone who spends a lot of time on a boat.

But it doesn’t hurt, either.  Having a good working knowledge of boats and the boating life makes it easier for our associates to help you find and finance just the right boat for your lifestyle and family.

Two of Sterling Associates’ recent hires are not only old hands on boats small and large, but are both experienced fishermen who often participate in tournaments and fishing contests.

Doug Howell, who recently joined our South Florida office, grew up near Stuart, Florida, a town that bills itself as the “sailfish capital of the world.”  There are several major sportfishing tournaments out of Stuart every year, as the run out to the Gulf Stream, where the big pelagic species are found, is a short one.

“My Dad got me interested in fishing, probably starting when I was about eight years old,” Doug said recently.  “I’ve probably gone fishing almost every weekend since!”

Howell said he’s fished from just about every size boat there is, from a 70-foot sport-fishing boat in the Bahamas down to 35-foot center consoles. “When I was in a high school, a friend’s dad had a house down in the Florida Keys, and we’d go down there all the time, living on his 40-foot Express,” Doug explained.  “We’d spear fish, enter some of the day tournaments down there and just had a great time.”

Howell had another friend with a 40-foot Viking and he worked as a mate on that boat, in between fishing expeditions. 

Doug said he’s probably fished in five or six of the major tournaments out of Stuart over the years.  There’s usually an entry fee, or buy-in, for each boat, but there are thousands of dollars in prizes for landing the most or the biggest fish. 

Howell remembers one such contest when his boat landed the biggest tuna, out of around 80 participating boats. “That was pretty cool,” he said.  And he admits that the joy of competitive fishing includes the fun of the after-parties back at the yacht club. “It’s all fun,” he says.

Matthew Bedigian is another avid fisherman who recently joined Sterling Associate’s home office in Whitinsville. But his prey is a lot smaller than Doug’s.

“I grew up living on Webster Lake here in Massachusetts,” Matt said. “I’ve been fishing for bass as long as I can remember.”

These days, Matt fishes for both fun and, hopefully, some profit, as he participates in the B.A.S.S. Nation sponsored fishing tournaments at several ponds and lakes in Massachusetts.

Like other bass tournaments, the competitions last eight hours and the competitors keep the five biggest fish they catch in a livewell on their boats. There’s a weigh-in at the end of the day, and winners are determined.  In the B.A.S.S. Nation competitions, fishermen win points, trying to amass enough to qualify for the national tournament at the end of the year. 

Fishing off his Nitro Z-8, Matt has been fishing competitively for about three years. He said he’s probably won some “not crazy” amounts, but also notes that he has to deduct expenses from those winnings!

But even if he’s not getting rich – yet! – from his fishing, he loves getting out on the water.

Which is why boat owners love chatting with both Doug and Matt – they love boating and fishing and want to help their customers get out on the water as well.  If you’re in the market for a loan for a new boat (or recreational vehicle, private aircraft or manufactured home), give us a call at Sterling Associates. Our representatives are knowledgeable and experienced!