If you’ve heard there’s a new girl in town, then you heard right! Christina Pyle, of Catch-n-Carry, a local Ocean City fileting company, has been passed the metaphorical torch- or fileting knife in this case.
A Baltimore County native, Pyle was given the opportunity to filet the biggest game and billfish in the world at the White Marlin Open. When the Motsko family, along with the WMO reached out, it was an immediate yes.
Christina and her husband own the popular fileting company, Catch-n-Carry, based right here in Ocean City. “We process fish mostly from charter boats. We deal with the mess and the time consuming process of cutting and packaging fish.” A member of their team comes right to the boat and carries it away for you. But that’s not the only thing Catch-n-Carry offers. Pyle filets the fish into meal sized portions and flash freezes it to -5 degrees. “Our goal is to prolong the freezer life of someone’s catch.” With many families on vacation, it’s a unique service that helps get their catch from pier to home.
Passing the Filet Knife
Being her first-time fileting for the WMO and taking over the filet station came with huge responsibility and pressure. Christina stepped into a vacancy at the marina, where dock legend, Rose Stivers had fileted at the WMO for more twenty years. “I’ve watched her over the years and can’t believe I’m attempting to fill in her shoes.” However much stress it may entail, Christina is no stranger to pressure as she works as a career firefighter when she’s not slicing through tuna or mahi.
This year has been extra special for Pyle. Catch-n-Carry gets to partner with the Maryland Food Bank and commercial electric contractor, Dvorak LLC. Christina will be assisting with fileting and processing the fish caught during this years 2022 White Marlin Open. Dvorak LLC. offered to sponsor Pyle and Catch-n-Carry to “provide fresh, flash frozen fish to families in need.
Tricks of the Trade
When asked about a special fileting technique, Pyle explains that it’s more of a combination of several techniques put together. “I’ve been taught many different ways to filet and I guess I’ve come to use a technique that works best for me.” And with a variety of knives at her disposal, making sure to find what makes you most comfortable is key. Being safe with knife skills is crucial and Pyle can tell you that first hand. She’s only had a handful of accidents with the knife, even while practicing the best knife etiquette.
While picking the proper knife size for fileting monster bill and game fish is important (Pyle prefers an 8” blade), her knife size may vary depending on the type of fish. For example, some fish carry more meat in their head while others carry more on the belly. Christina explains, “Tuna have a lot of meat. They have a back loin, belly loin, and collar meat. So- we try to capture as most meat as we can when we cut.” Even though tuna have a thick skin that can make fileting tricky, tuna are her favorite fish to cut and portion.
You Go Girl
Being in a male dominated industry, Pyle can sometimes stand out on the dock with her long blonde hair hanging out of her Catch-n-Carry hat. Yet Christina explains, over the past few years, “there are a lot more female anglers and female only tournaments. I’ve met a lot of really cool women who share the same passion for fishing as me.” She believes that a lot of women may have felt intimidated to fish but are now stepping out their comfort zones and trying something new.
Christina would like to thank all of the boats that have donated fish to the Maryland Food Bank this year along with Dvorak LLC, the WMO, and the Motsko family for the incredible opportunity. If you’d like to know more about Catch-n-Carry, you can follow them on Instagram @catch_n_carry or visit their website www.catch-n-carry.com