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Fishing: A Lifelong Love Flourishes

“Ever since I was a little boy, it was the only thing I wanted to do,” said Manhasset resident Nicholas Marchetti, on the sport that combines his passion and livelihood: fishing.

Marchetti’s love affair began more than 15 years ago, when he and his father trawled Manhasset Bay in search of striped bass, bluefish and fluke. Since then, not much else captured his attention.

“I wasn’t very into video games. I was more into fishing stuff. Buying new fishing rods, or new boots or something,” Marchetti said, noting that he used hard-earned money to purchase his first boat at the age of 16. “I didn’t actually get my [driver’s] license until I was 19.”

Marchetti graduated from high school and began college in Connecticut, but before long was irresistably drawn back to the waters off Long Island’s north shore. His fishing and business skills were unquestionable, thanks to unofficial employment as a mate at age 13, a captain’s license that allowed him to run fishermen’s boats at age 18 and the opportunity to watch his father run a successful auto body business for years on end.

Although Marchetti only had several weeks of classes under his belt as a business major, he felt certain that he could operate a successful fishing company. Marchetti’s father, James, agreed. Never Enuff Fishing soon became a reality.

“[Nicholas] can work 20 hours a day and he doesn’t stop working. So when I see somebody give that much effort to something, I don’t mind helping,” he said, noting that he loaned Nicholas money that was initially earmarked for college tuition.

Marchetti, now 23, is actively paying his father back.

He docks two boats – a charter boat named Never Enuff and a 56-foot party boat named Never Enuff III – at the World’s Fair Marina, and takes groups of 10 to 40 people aboard every day during the warmer months. Seven-hour daytime trips begin at 7 or 8 a.m., but Marchetti is also fond of five-hour evening excursions.

The Never Enuff boats typically trail fluke, porgy, bluefish and striped bass, but the fish are never idly awaiting Marchetti’s arrival.

After helping a group catch bluefish last week, he explained, “The technique in catching bluefish involves being very persistent with them … being able to stay on top of them and follow them around as the school moves.”

Regular customer Frank Suriani respects Marchetti’s ability to track fish, regardless of the difficulty involved. “[His boat] is more versatile than any other boat I’ve been on,” Suriani said, adding that he is eager to scan the Sound for blackfish next month. “I look forward to blackfishing with these guys every year. [Marchetti is] like the Michael Jordan of blackfishing.”

Marchetti is humble, but is quick to acknowledge that customer satisfaction is one of his priorities. “Knowing that you’ve got 30 people who paid you to take them out on the boat … [when] you catch fish for everybody … that’s when you know you’re a good captain,” he said, adding that his customer base is varied.

“We get serious fishermen, and then we get people that don’t even live in this country and never fished before in their lives. Sometimes it’s fun when you’ve got people who have never done it before, and you catch them a bunch of fish, and it makes them happy and they say it’s one of the best times they’ve ever had.

Marchetti has come a long way from his first days as a mate, when fishermen exchanged full days of free fishing for the 13-year-old’s assistance in baiting hooks and washing boats. Crew members now work for him—and some are nearly twice his age—but that is no matter. Nor is the hectic schedule that leaves Marchetti with one or two nights per month to spend with his friends.

Rather, Marchetti’s concern regards the fate of Never Enuff Fishing. “The stress is hard to deal with: worrying if you bring enough bait out, making sure the guys don’t break down the boats and blow up engines, and worrying if you’re going to have a slow week [because] you have to pay for the $2,000 fuel bill at the end of every week,” he said.

“You’ve got to take it day by day, just relax,” he said. “Just keep chugging along until the wintertime comes, and you can shut down the boats for the winter and start them up again in April.”

Come late November, Marchetti’s customers tend to cozy up behind closed doors with hot chocolate, but he takes on commercial fishing for Flushing restaurants and the Fulton Fish Market.

What helps Marchetti brave the cold? “As many layers as you can get on. Usually a pair of very heavy insulated jeans and about five pairs of socks, [plus] four or five sweatshirts.”

One day, in about 20 years, Marchetti hopes to place his business in the hands of trusted employees, so he can simply relax in the open seas.  Until then, he will continue his labor of love atop waves that have always felt like home.

“I’ve been on the water probably more than I’ve been on the land, to be honest with you,” he said.