Any Day of the Week, 11-Year-Old Colt Duffie Would Rather be Out Fishing Than Playing on His iPad

Let this sink in for a moment: Colt Duffie caught his first white marlin at five years old.

Now the sixth grader says “I’ve been fishing my whole life. I feel that fishing is my thing. A lot of people my age like other sports like soccer and football, but I’m happy when I’m fishing.”

If anyone on the planet is born to be a fisherman, it’s Colt. Born and raised in Ocean City, Maryland, Colt’s father Jon owns Duffie Boat Works, which builds sport-fishing boats ranging in length from 50 to 80 feet. And before becoming a boat builder, Jon worked as a charter fishing captain. Jon, like his son, has been involved in fishing all his life.

Colt with his first white marlin caught at age five.

Colt with his first white marlin caught at age five.

“Colt has been fishing as soon as I could put a rod in his hands,” Jon said. “Colt always likes to come by the shop and I’m trying to be a good dad and teach him the ropes and proper boat handling.”

“I want to be as professional fisherman and build boats with my dad,” said the 11 year old.

Colt originally started fishing in skiffs in Sinepuxent Bay. At age five, while still in his pajamas, he caught his first bill fish, a white marlin. “It happened the first thing in the morning.”

Although Colt only weighs 76 pounds, he enjoys fishing light tackle on blue marlin and sail fish. All the fish are catch-and-release.

“The light tackle gives the fish a better fight,” Jon explained. “The rods are very light and the drag on the line is about five pounds.”

Colt with a blue fish he caught fishing with his father, Jon.

Colt with a blue fish he caught fishing with his father, Jon.

“I like catching fish, the sport of it, and being out on the water,” Colt added. “I go fishing just about every day. I have a sister named Georgia. She nine. She doesn’t like fishing nearly as much as I do.”

Jon talked about how Colt goes fishing “mostly in the summer when he’s out of school. When he goes back to school, and he gets home from school, he hops on his bike and goes to the local dock to catch striped bass and spot. During winter, he goes to our neighbors and fishes a little pond for blue gill, catfish and large mouth bass.”

Colt will tell you that fishing “sure beats being inside on an iPhone and iPad by a lot.”

Colt hooked up with a white marlin.

Colt hooked up with a white marlin.

While Colt is not quite a fishing evangelist yet, he explained that “my friends like to fish with me and I like taking to catch fish they never caught before. They don’t do it as much as I do but it’s still fun to go with them.”

Colt often accompanies his father on his boat, whether its for charter fishing or a tournament. In 2020, Cole received his boater safety card, allowing him to drive a boat by himself on the bay.

“It’s cool, driving a boat by myself. But I go with my Dad when I’m driving the boat, not by myself.”

Colt felt that gaining the right and ability to drive a boat “has made me more responsible about my homework.”

The tuna that won Cole second place junior angler in the 2023 Ocean City Tuna Tournament.

The tuna that won Cole second place junior angler
in the 2023 Ocean City Tuna Tournament.

While they’re on the way out in Jon’s boat, Colt learns to rig the rods for different species, and different knots. Colt hooks his own marlin. Last summer, at 10 he set out to win the first place in his category of the season-long tournament of the Ocean City Marlin Club. And he succeeded.

“In the beginning of the summer, the fish never came, but later in the summer I started to figure it out,” he recalled. “I started to learn the method of how to hook marlin and started getting better and hooked 13 of them by the end of summer.”

These days, Jon is mostly tournament fishing and Colt accompanies him out on the water. “When I realized how passionate Colt is about fishing it makes me want to teach him all I can,” Jon said. “It’s great that I can pass all of this on to my son.”

Irwin Greenstein is the publisher of Young Awesome Hunter and Shotgun Life (


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