Jones Family Bags The Big One After 12+ Years Of Tournament Fishing
Meet the Crew
Cuttin’ Up is run by Jones’ middle son Nicholas, while his oldest son Travis works the cockpit setting dredges and angling. “One of my sons is up, the other one is down,” Jones explains. “This way they do not compete or rival.” The youngest of his three boys loved fishing as well but unfortunately passed away in a scuba diving accident back in 2015. Jones also has a daughter, Faith Victoria, who loves fishing, and his wife Debbie enjoys tagging along, but prefers a more relaxing cruise or staying home with the grandchildren.
The Jones children are joined by a tight group of friends they grew up with. “I am so proud of my boys and the guys fishing with us.” Jones continues, “The core of that group has been with us at every tournament—virtually everybody on that boat is like family to us, all around.”
What Friends Are For
Another friend and customer of Bluewater Yacht Sales, Perry Nichols, purchased a 64-foot Viking at the 2018 Miami Yacht Show. Nichols also copes with muscular dystrophy and, like Jones, he immediately turned his boat over to the experienced team at Bluewater’s Hampton Yacht Yard for extensive modifications. As with the original Cuttin’ Up, Bluewater’s Brian Motter was instrumental in designing and implementing all of the adaptations for Nichols’ boat.
Nichols and his crew fished his 64C, Knot Done Yet and enjoyed success on the tournament trails in 2018 and 2019, which then led to the purchase of a new 72-foot Viking. With delivery of his modified 72C on the horizon, Nichols was prepared to sell his heavily customized 64, and Bluewater was poised to play matchmaker.
“Bluewater’s Scott James has been instrumental in everything, including the transaction on the 52’ Viking and then the 64’ Viking.” Jones continues, “Perry [Nichols] did me right on the deal and I am grateful he afforded me the opportunity to buy his boat.” Bluewater Yacht Sales was also ready to make a deal to ensure this exchange happened for these two amazing friends. “Bluewater bent over backwards to make the transaction happen to show respect to myself and Perry,” Jones says. “They wanted me in this boat!”
Once in a Lifetime
Although the 64’ Viking was already adapted for Nichols, Jones still needed to make some modifications to suit their different styles. Nichols spends a lot of time in the cockpit, while Jones prefers to be on the bridge with Capt. Nick. Once again, Motter stepped in to problem-solve, mounting an electric reel on a gimbal from the aft rocket launcher allowing Jones to fish from the bridge.
Another required customization was to change the tuna tower to allow for passage under the Rudee Inlet bridge. “The tower ended up being chopped off and then hinged in the back with locking anchors in the front so that it flips backwards,” Jones says. “A storm tide may make it tight getting under the bridge, but the boat passes fine at low and high tide now.”
In 2022, Jones and the crew entered his new and improved Cuttin’ Up in the VBBT as they had done for over a decade. Little did they know this year would be oh so different. On the first day of the three-day tournament, Captain Nick Jones was on the tower of the 64 Viking when he called out the bite of a big fish. “We weren’t certain what we had for the first hour of the fight,” Jones recalls. “The first time the fish jumped, we were shocked. Then it turned and darted from us, pulling line fast.” This first glimpse raised the adrenaline for the whole crew as they confirmed it was a blue marlin, and a girthy one at that. “We knew it was a big one,” Jones recalls.
Even so, upon returning to the docks to have their big blue weighed, there was much excitement around the 64 Viking and her crew. “We received so many compliments and the professional fishermen were giving us a lot of accolades as well,” Jones says. The excitement around Jones, his sons and their close friends grew more intense as the tournament staff announced the weight: 612.5 pounds!
This blue marlin easily held the lead spot through the duration of the tournament, landing Cuttin’ Up in the top of several categories along with a generous tournament purse of $281,400. Captain Nick Jones along with mates Travis Jones and Skip Price were honored with the Top Crew Award and Cuttin’ Up also received the Wayne McLeskey Memorial Top Boat Award.
After such an incredible finish to the tournament season, Jones and his family and the usual crew continue their fun fishing—perhaps as practice for the next tournament season. The Cuttin’ Up crew has their eyes set on the next VBBT along with the White Marlin Open in Ocean City. “I have been blessed and fortunate to have this opportunity to do this with family and friends,” Jones says. “For the boys it has always been fun fishing—even in a tournament.”
Recent upgrades to the 64 Viking include electric reels and custom rods. Nick and Travis want to ensure their dad can continue doing what he loves and enjoying this memorable time together as a family.
“I am gonna do this ‘til I can’t do it any longer!”