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A titan of the industry

A 640 pound bluefin caught by Faxon Michaud and friends Ben Koopman and Ryan Delisle. Photo by Faxon Michaud

Faxon Michaud grew up around fishing. His many connections through family and friends have kept him on the Marblehead coast for the majority of his life. This has resulted in him single-handedly commandeering one of the most popular fishing charters in town for the last decade.

Michaud got introduced to the sport as a student at Sigler Guide Service’s fishing camp for kids. It was through the camp, along with lobster fishing with his uncle, Jay, that he developed his passion. His relationship remained so strong with his fishing instructor, Randy Sigler, that Michaud reached out to him for advice before getting his captain’s license. However, Sigler had more than just advice to offer.

“I called him because I knew he had his captain’s license,” Michaud said. “He goes ‘Oh yeah, absolutely I can help you out.’ So we had a little bit of a conversation and then next he goes ‘So the next question is, do you want a job?’”

The student became the teacher, as Michaud went on to teach the same techniques he learned years before.

“It was like a full circle coming all the way back around working for him,” Michaud noted.

Another influence on Michaud was Bob Hanson, owner of Hanson Marina on Tioga Way. Hanson’s knack for catching the massive Atlantic bluefin tuna is what led to it later becoming Michaud’s catch of choice as well.

“He has been catching bluefin for forty years,” Michaud said. “I’ve been going after bluefin since I was 15… There is nothing more incredible in the ocean that swims. I’ve caught marlin, swordfish, yellowfin, big eye, but bluefin just take the cake always.”

After gaining experience working for Sigler, Michaud took a “leap of faith” and bought his vessel. He planned to start a business that would give customers the chance to learn the bluefin-fishing experience through his instruction, and Titan Guide Service was born. The origin of the name is relatively unrelated to fishing, but nonetheless fitting.

“There was a guy in town who had a boat named Flying Elvis,” Michaud said. “That was the name of the Patriots’ logo and I always liked that. I was watching a preseason football game and the Titans were playing somebody and I went ‘Titan, that’s a dang good name.’”

For bluefin fishing, Michaud emphasized the importance of starting very early in the morning in order to obtain the best position among the other boats.

“We meet at the dock and try to get out of there by 4 a.m.,” Michaud said. “And then sit out there as long as the other people can tolerate it. My tolerance for it is astronomically large, I am happy to sit out there for 18 straight hours if that’s what it takes to get a bite.”

Michaud’s fishing reels contain 1,500 yards of line in order to wrangle the bluefins, which can weigh more than 600 pounds and put out between 40 and 50 pounds of drag — the weight a fisherman is fighting against while trying to reel the fish in.

Michaud explained how the bluefins counter the efforts of those fishing for them, and that the process of capturing one requires patience.

“The goal is to get on top of them up and down, and then when they get tired they start to pinwheel,” Michaud explained. “They’ll start to go in circles and you’re gaining a foot in a circle if you’re lucky.”

The payoff is worth it, as clients get the exhilaration of catching a fish larger than the average person, and learn the skills required for it. The catch is later sold on the seafood market.

Titan Guide Service’s future remains bright as Michaud’s regular customer base is as strong as ever, and his social-media presence continues to grow, with some videos reaching up to 12,000,000 views. Michaud puts it all together, and has no issue being the driving force behind it all.

“I’m the accountant, fisherman, social media, cleaner, everything,” Michaud said.