Updated: Oct 3
It's early, the sun still tucked below the horizon—the salty Maine air, laced with an inkling of dried seaweed and fresh bait. Shuffling down the gangway Ean makes his way down to his grandfather's 36' Jarret Bay, rod and reels in hand with the hope of landing a bluefin at the forefront of his mind. His uncle, Lucas, following close behind, armed with a camera and lens that some might assume to be a smaller version of the Hubble telescope. Captain and crew assembled, they head out past the safety of Saco Bay, passing Wood Island en route to Jeffries Ledge, home to the elusive giant bluefin tuna.
At a young age, Ean quickly found his passion for fishing, starting in the freshwater ponds and streams of his hometown of Saco, Maine. It was only a natural progression that would eventually lead him to become a commercial Tuna fishermen, at the ripe old age of twenty. This doesn't go without acknowledging his grandfather, who was once a commercial fisherman off the coast of Maine. Like most fishing families, the art form has passed down from generation to generation, ensuring that the knowledge isn't lost with time. With his grandfather's commercial license set to expire, Ean decided to continue a family tradition, taking the helm of the newly built 36' and dedicating himself to learning how to fish for tuna.
It wasn't long before Ean was out fishing with a vengeance. Every chance he could, he was researching techniques, studying charts, and going out on his own figuring out how to catch the elusive bluefin. With the help of a friend, they set out on what would be the first trip of many. Marking 13 fish the initial day and catching his first tuna the next day, it was safe to say that Ean was undoubtedly "hooked."
"After hearing the reel go, I was hooked"
Ean is undoubtedly a driven individual, and commercial fishing is not one for the weak. The same meticulous mindset that drives him to get the reels to scream carries over into everything he does. Unlike most Tuna fishermen, Ean is also a student at Bryant University and a division one lacrosse athlete. Even with early morning training sessions and late-night studying, Ean continues to fish. While most college kids are scooping ice cream or waiting tables on the weekends, Ean makes the pilgrimage to Saco Bay in hopes of catching a few tunas before going back to class come Monday morning.
With the help of his uncle and partner in crime, Lucas Patry, they follow a family passion of the sea and life past the comfort of Saco Bay. Lucas wasn't always drawn to life offshore. In fact, he was hesitant to make his first trip to the deep blue, not having had the opportunity to go offshore. Unsure, Ean convinced his uncle to take the journey with him to the ledge, and before long, he, like Ean, was hooked! Ean described his uncle's reaction to the bail dropping and reel screaming as "shell shocked," and with good reason, reeling in an 80-inch fish weighing 260lbs is not for the weary. From that moment on, Lucas accompanied Ean on many trips offshore, capturing those moments the rod tip takes a nosedive, documenting their adventures on social media for all to watch and learn.
For Ean, fishing on Happy Ours isn't just about making the catch. It comes down to the process, the ability to break away from cellphone service and to enjoy the moments of anticipation. Despite his long days of balancing school, sport, and fishing, there is no doubt that Ean has a real passion for his family's tradition.
"Happy Ours" 36' Jarrett Bay
Find out more about Ean and his adventures offshore by following him on Instagram @happy_ours_fishing or @ean_patry. All photos in the article are courtesy of Lucas Patry or @sell_rain on Instagram.