The Cricket II – the boat that inspired the book and movie JAWS – has launched her 2015 fishing season in eastern North Carolina. This is the first full season the vessel will operate within her new mission: enriching the lives of veterans and wounded warriors with fishing adventures aboard the world famous Cricket II.
On Friday, April 10, the Cricket II was pulled from the water at Bock Marine, Beaufort, and new bottom paint, donated by Sea Hawk Paints, was applied. Additionally, new electronics were installed, made possible by generous gifts from supporters including veterans groups. After this work, the Cricket II moved to a slip made available for the season at Homer Smith Seafood Company in Beaufort.
In late October 2014, several groups of disabled vets from the Wounded Warrior Project went fishing with Captain Joe DiBella. “We started catching speckled trout, and before my eyes, I watched a quiet group of men, who got on the boat timid and cautious, become open and engaged, joking that they were now experts at fishing for speckled trout.
“When the day ended and we headed in, I invited my ‘expert fishermen’ to come up and drive the boat. The smiles on these heroes’ faces when we arrived back at the dock were beyond explanation. It was as if they had a new perspective on life. I gave each of them a donated Daiwa spinning rod to commemorate their trip and told them to ‘keep fishing’! I think it’s important for people to know what we’re doing on the Cricket II. These experiences have the potential to change people’s lives,” said DiBella.
The Cricket II is a 42-foot, one-of-a-kind, original-design, handcrafted Chesapeake-style fishing vessel, built in 1947 by Tiffany Boat Works, now Tiffany Yachts. The Cricket II was built for Captain Frank Mundus who in 1978 Newsweek magazine was called “the most celebrated shark fisherman in the world.”
Mundus fished out of Montauk, NY, for 50 years, specializing in the hunt for sharks, in particular great white sharks. Author Peter Benchley made numerous fishing trips on the Cricket II and said these fishing trips with Mundus inspired his novel “JAWS” and the blockbuster movie that followed. It was no coincidence that the character Captain Quint bore much resemblance to the real-life Captain Mundus.
The Cricket II holds nine world records including the largest fish ever caught on rod and reel, a 3,427 pound great white shark – caught on 130# test line in 1986. Her rich history also includes a rescue at sea, catch/tag innovations and release programs, species conservation, and early experimentation with the first shark cages. You can see the legendary boat’s history, adventures, restoration, and future plans online at www.cricket2project.com.
The Cricket II has been restored by a North Carolina non-profit foundation for the sole purpose of providing no-cost fishing trips for disabled veterans including wounded warriors. Her huge cockpit will easily accommodate wheel chairs, and other accommodations have been made to assure accessibility.
In addition to regular fishing trips, the foundation hopes to establish an annual tournament every fall with corporate partners sponsoring teams of veterans.
All gifts to the Cricket II Project are tax-deductible, less any benefit provided the donor. The project is governed by a volunteer board of directors. All proceeds go directly to supporting fishing trips for our veterans.
For more information, or to support the project and help sponsor fishing trips for disabled veterans and wounded warriors, contact Capt. Joseph DiBella at (252) 725-4277 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find more information by visiting www.cricket2project.com.