PHOTO BY NICOLE GOODHUE BOYD
Matthew Arsenault of Plum Island holds a handmade stainless steel bass during a Why Knot Fishing gathering at Toscana’s Ristorante.
PEABODY — A few big fish tales were swapped on Wednesday night at a community meetup for enthusiasts of all stripes.
Why Knot Fishing, billed as a “team of passionate and positive anglers,” hosted the event at Toscana’s Ristorante on Bourbon Street, drawing a diverse crowd of professionals and hobbyists.
Why Knot was started three years ago by Endicott College graduates Joe Gugino and Matthew Zimmerman.
“Obviously, the fishing in this area is not year round,” said Gugino. “Winter lets you gear up and do trips that help you push out of your comfort zone.”
Matthew Arsenault of Plum Island was at the event to showcase his metal art business, Flood Tide Fabrications. Arsenault, a commercial tuna fisherman, crafts metal sculptures of aquatic life during the winter downtime.
“Even talking about it makes my blood boil,” said Arsenault about looking forward to getting back on the open ocean. “There’s no feeling like getting your (fishing rod) pulled by an 800-pound fish.”
Arsenault said his favorite fish story comes from one trip out on the Gulf of Maine last summer, when he hooked seven tunas in eight hours and took four home.
Robert Galante of East Coast Flies in Medford was on hand to demonstrate various types of fly-tying.
Galante, who teaches adult classes in the subject at Shawsheen Technical Institute, pointed to a fly called the Crackleback as his favorite.
“It doesn’t look like any type of insect, particularly,” he said. “But it catches fish when nothing else will.”
Most of the attendees came for a fun, laidback evening of socializing.
Fishing friends Gary George and Kevin French, both of Peabody, and Bill Eicher, of Stoneham, laughed when asked if they had any fishing stories to tell.
French recounted his experience landing a porbeagle shark, and Eicher took out a photo of his dog and most loyal fishing partner, Brady.
“These meetups are great,” said George. “Fishermen can be protective of their secret spots and tricks. You come here, and people are a lot more willing to talk and friendly.”
Why Knot’s next event is a fly tying night on March 8 in Wenham. Starting in April, they also take groups out on the water for kayak fishing with Little Harbor Boathouse in Marblehead.