For Captain Eric Kerber, fishing is not a pastime. It’s not a hobby. Fishing is life, and not just because it’s also his job. When Kerber isn’t running a charter trip, he’s out fishing for fun. When the reports are terrible, he’s out scouting, trying to make his own report. When an angry ocean won’t let him break the inlet, he’s rigging tuna lures, sharpening plug hooks, or wading the Delaware River for smallmouths because he just has to wet a line. It’s this drive, passion, and tenacity that have earned him one of the most loyal followings among charter captains in New Jersey.
Spend five minutes on a boat with Kerber, and you’ll find his enthusiasm infectious. For those that know him, it’s funny to think that in 2003, Kerber was glued to dry land, mulching and raking leaves as the owner of a very successful landscaping company. If you know anything about the fishing industry, however, you know that you don’t get into it full-time for the money. Despite the security that came with landscaping, Kerber knew it wasn’t his true calling.
“I got tired of getting phone calls about a bass bite going off while I was cutting somebody’s lawn,” he says. “I couldn’t take it. I just wanted to fish.”
In 2007, Kerber sold his business, bought his first boat, and On A Mission Fishing Adventures was born. Pulling from decades of experience chasing every saltwater species that swims from Cape May to Sandy Hook on boats and in the surf, it didn’t take long for Kerber to create a buzz in the Jersey fishing scene. Yes, he could catch fish, but his reputation was being built upon much more than that. When a captain doesn’t set time limits on the day, customers notice. When he can keep spirits up, hopes high, and anglers laughing during the toughest conditions, customers talk about it. When he’ll burn the extra fuel to get you on your first or 500th striper, tuna, or mahi, customers never forget. These are just a few of the reasons why Kerber’s repeat clients are legion, and why when you step onto his boat for the first time, you’ll feel like you’re fishing with an old friend within seconds of that handshake.
These days, Kerber is widely hailed as one of the best striper and fluke captains in the state, though his repertoire covers many more fisheries. From chasing bluewater tuna with topwater lures, to flyfishing for mahi mahi and false albacore, to bottomfishing for tautog and seabass, Kerber can tailor any trip to your skill level or aspirations. He is just as excited about achieving your fishing goals as you are, and will pull all stops to make them a reality. His vast knowledge of local fisheries has earned him press in national magazines such as Field & Stream, Sportfishing, and Salt Water Sportsman, as well as regional publications like On The Water and The Fisherman. For almost a decade, Kerber has been the co-host of Field & Stream’s “Hook Shots,” a fishing web show with a punk attitude in which he shares his tips in the “Hardcore Tackle” segment.
In 2014, Kerber also began working in the Florida Keys during the winter. Since then, he’s expanded his knowledge of the backcountry enough to call the shallow cuts and flats around Islamorada his second home waters. He is just as proficient here chasing snook, seatrout, snapper, and tarpon as he is chasing the New Jersey staples, which is why so many of his loyal customers happily follow him to the warmth of the Keys during the Northeast cold season.