Peter B. Wright Obituary
January 8, 1944 - January 23, 2023
Captain Peter B. Wright was born on January 8, 1944, in Patterson, N.J. He attended Stranahan High School, Fort Lauderdale, graduating in 1961, then enrolled in Georgia Tech and graduated with a B.S. in Biology. In 1965. He attended grad school and received a masters in Marine Biology at the University of Miami in 1967, where he published the scientific paper “A Contribution to the Ecology of Cyclinella Tenius in the Bulletin of Marine Science, Gulf and Caribbean. He then received an MBA in finance at Florida Atlantic University in 1972.
Growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he began working on charter sport fishing boats out of Hillsboro Inlet while still in grade school. From age 11 through high school, he fished on weekends and during summer vacations. He first fished the Bahamas with noted Pompano Beach captain John Whitmer at age 11 and fished many marlin tournaments in Bimini throughout high school and college.
In 1967 Wright visited the Antarctic collecting cephalopods (squid and octopus) as chief scientist for the University of Miami aboard a research cruise of the United States Antarctic Research Program. Upon his return to New Zealand, he traveled throughout the South Pacific and first fished off the Great Barrier Reef in 1968 with the founder of the Cairns fishery, Captain George Bransford, who is noted for catching the first grander out of Cairns.
Wright is credited with promoting and being the driving force in the growth and development of the Cairns fishery by attracting American anglers to make the journey to the Great Barrier Reef. He fished every season in Cains, Australia, from 1968 to 2008, most of which on his beloved and famous 40-foot Frank Woodnut built “Duyfken.” For five years, Wright also owned and operated the 37’ Rybovich charter boat “Humdinger” in Kona, Hawaii, with his partner Capt. Jeff Fay.
He’s been active in billfish and tuna management tag-and-release programs since the 1960s. He was instrumental in implementing archival pop-up tags and the transition to using circle hooks.
As a contributing editor, Wright wrote the Sportfishing column for Motor Boating and Sailing Magazine, along with many feature articles and boat reports for over 13 years. He was a consultant and editor for Australia’s Blue Water magazine. He gave many seminars and consulted in the marine and electronics industries and for major fishing tackle companies, including Aftco and Penn Fishing Tackle. He is credited with developing the famous “Wide Range” Soft Head fishing lure by Mold Craft with Frank Johnson. He also served on the Pro Staff for Bass Pro Shops and Offshore Angler.
For many years he served as Editor At Large for Marlin Magazine and wrote a monthly column, “The Wright Way,” answering readers' questions in the “Ask Peter Wright” section and did a bi-weekly blog for Marlin Magazine online. He was the head instructor for Marlin University programs and conducted seminars for clubs and various organizations. He has appeared in numerous noted fishing documentaries and TV shows, catching a wide variety of big game fish.
Peter B. was inducted into the International Game Fishing Association Hall of Fame. He also received the Legendary Captains and Crew Tommy Gifford Award in the first class to receive it. He is also a member of the Cairns Black Marlin Hall of Fame. He has guided anglers to catch more marlin over 1000 lbs than any captain in history.
When he was home in Stuart, Florida, he coached the Young Guns at Quail Creek, part of the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF), a nationwide program in sporting clays.
Wright fished far and wide, including the waters of Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Indonesia, Thailand, Mauritius, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, The Ivory Coast, Bom Bom Island, Cape Verde Islands, Canary Islands, Madeira, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands, Bahamas, US Gulf and East Coast, East and West Coasts of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, French Polynesia, Fiji, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Hawaii, the Galapagos, and many others.
Peter was predeceased by his mother, Elizabeth “Brownie” Hill, his stepfather Bixby Hill, his sister Elizabeth “Lizzie” Spinelli, his brother-in-law Peter Spinelli, and his father, Hardy Wright.
He is survived by the love of his life and wife Erin, his daughter Bimini, his brother Philip, his Australian family Vicky, Adrienne, GypsyRose, and Mandy, along with countless other dear friends and family members inside and outside the fishing community.
In his final years, it brought Peter joy to discover he had another daughter, Amanda Ellis. With that revelation, Peter was delighted to find himself grandfather to James Taylor Ellis and Lily Wright Ellis.
A memorial will be held at the IGFA building in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, February 24th, 2023. Please RSVP for the celebration of Peter’s life via this link here.
In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be pledged to the Peter B. Wright foundation, which will offer targeted support to programs within the IGFA, Billfish Foundation, North River Sporting Scholarship, Martin County Council on Aging, Young Guns Scholarship, and other organizations related to education and conservation.