Capt. Jerry Dilsaver grew up on the Southport, N.C. waterfront that author Robert Ruark so finely detailed in his book, The Old Man and the Boy. His father, who was a shrimper and later a boat captain for the local river pilots association, helped foster a love of fishing in the coastal rivers and ocean that is still going strong.
After completing a degree at the University of North Carolina and East Carolina University, Capt. Dilsaver returned to his native North Carolina coast, helped start Carolina Adventure Magazine, and became a partner in Carolina Adventure Publishing Company.
The Raleigh based News and Observer Newspaper purchased Carolina Adventure in January of 1992 and Capt. Dilsaver signed on with the new owners to become the Saltwater Editor and Central NC Coast Regional Editor.
In April 2002, Capt. Dilsaver left Carolina Adventure to become a Staff Writer and Special Events Coordinator for North Carolina Sportsman Magazine. With the beginning of South Carolina Sportsman Magazine in 2006, Capt. Dilsaver also assumed similar responsibilities for this sister publication. In 2006, Capt. Dilsaver became a regular contributor and columnist for FLW Outdoors Saltwater Magazine.
In the declining economy of early 2009, Capt. Dilsaver was laid off in a downsizing move by Sportsman Publishing, but he continues to write for the magazines and websites, plus assist on special projects. In addition he does assignments for other publications and weekly columns in The State Port Pilot Newspaper (Southport, NC) and Carteret County News-Times Newspaper (Morehead City, NC).
Fishing has always been a passion for Capt. Dilsaver. Beginning in 1987, he became a sponsored competitor in North Carolina king mackerel tournaments. His successes started to mount up and with the inception of the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) in 1991, he immediately became a top competitor in their yearly series. By the mid 1990’s he had recorded successes in king mackerel tournaments from the Gulf of Mexico to Virginia.
With numerous top five Divisional and Open placings, Capt. Dilsaver and crew qualified for the SKA National Championship every year through 2001 and, after winning the SKA National Championship that year, is qualified for it for life. He has also record a handful of top 10 and top 20 finishes in the annual SKA National Championships.
With 1998 as the inaugural year of the U.S. Anglers Association and its king mackerel tournament trail, Capt. Dilsaver led his crew to the Top Overall Placing and garnered “Angler of the Year” honors for their effort. This effort was followed by a second place overall in 1999 and third place overall in 2000
During the 2001 season, Capt. Dilsaver and his team qualified for the SKA National Championship with a third place finish in SKA Division 3, then capped the year by traveling to Fort Pierce, Fla. and winning the SKA National Championship and the title “2001 National Champions”.
During 2005, Capt. Dilsaver and crew participated on the SKA Tournament Trail and the Wal-Mart FLW King Mackerel Tour. They scored a 10th Place Overall finish in the FLW King Mackerel Tour and then placed 11th during the championship tournament.
For 2006, Capt. Dilsaver was selected to lead the Seaswirl Fishing Team for the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour and Series and the SKA Divisional Series. The Seaswirl Fishing Team scored several high finishes and participated in the SKA National Championship.
On August 1, 2007, Capt. Dilsaver was inducted into the SKA Hall of Fame. SKA fishermen are selected for the Hall of Fame by their fellow competitors. Capt. Dilsaver said he was “Honored and pleased to be selected for the SKA Hall of Fame, especially because it was his fellow fishermen who made the selection.”
Also beginning in 2007, Capt. Dilsaver has enjoyed several years of semi-retirement from tournament fishing. He continues to compete in a few of king mackerel, red drum and kayak fishing tournaments while enjoying many days of non-competitive "fun" fishing.
Capt. Dilsaver was always interested in inshore saltwater fishing and in 2004, He teamed with Mercury District Representative Mark Skeen and Capt. Rick “Rodman” Bennett to capture Second Place Overall in the Cape Fear Red-Trout Celebrity Classic, held at Wrightsville Beach, NC. In 2008 Capt. Dilsaver headed the Sea Pro Inshore Fishing Team and competed in several regional redfish and inshore tournament series.
In 2008, Capt. Dilsaver became interested in kayak fishing and in February 2010 was selected to become a member of the Hobie Kayaks Fishing Team for the Southeast U.S. He participates in a several kayak tournaments each year and has notched several top ten finishes.
In July of 2010, Capt Dilsaver began an association with the Wounded Warriors Battalion at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base through the Warrior Athlete Reconditioning (WAR) program on the base. He traveled to Camp Lejeune weekly to take members of the Wounded Warriors Fishing Club on fishing outings. This continued through January 2012.
While Capt. Dilsaver usually writes the articles, he was featured in the November-December 2012 issue of Wildlife in North Carolina Magazine in an article highlighting his tournament success and love of teaching others how to fish.
While Capt. Dilsaver’s tournament success is impressive, it is his dedication to the sport of fishing and helping beginning anglers develop successful skills and techniques that really set him apart from the crowd. He spends approximately 50 days each year conducting seminars, manning booths at fishing and outdoor shows, giving in-store product demonstrations, speaking to fishing and civic groups about fishing and otherwise promoting saltwater fishing.Add a handful of tournaments each year to this and it is extremely easy to see why so many fishing related businesses have chosen to support Capt. Dilsaver as their “Fishing Ambassador”. He is supported in his efforts by Hobie Kayaks, Sea Striker, Star Rods, Power-Pole, Lowrance, Betts Tackle Ltd., MirrOlure, Pro-Cure, Precision Tackle-Cajun Thunder, Salty Bay Baits, Clarkspoon, Captain Gary’s Marine Care Products, Balloon Fisher King, GMCO Maps and Charts, Maps Unique, Breathe Like A Fish, Stick-It Anchor Pins, Yak-Attack, Ego S2 Nets, Road King Trailers, Capps Promotions, Max Cooler Companion, Engel Coolers, South Chatham Tackle, Winner Chevrolet and Southport Village Boat and RV Storage.
In addition, Capt. Dilsaver is a working member of the outdoor press. He is a member in good standing of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) and the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA) and is a contributing writer for North Carolina Sportsman Magazine, South Carolina Sportsman Magazine and Tide Magazine, plus the Fishing Columnist for the Carteret County News-Times Newspaper and the Outdoor Columnist for the State Port Pilot Newspaper.Capt. Dilsaver is a noted freelance writer and still photographer, with credits in numerous publications and has regular features on the North Carolina and South Carolina Sportsman Magazine websites. From 1996 to 1999 he had a weekday fishing report and weekend tournament report on WTKF, 107.3 FM in Morehead City, N.C. In 2012 he had a weekday fishing report on WRNS 95.1 FM in Kinston, N.C. and WTKK 106.1 FM in Raleigh, N.C. He has also been a featured guest on many outdoor shows ranging from the iconic Southern Sportsman to Carolina Outdoor Journal.
Capt. Dilsaver served on the Southern Regional Advisory Committee for the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission from 2002 – 2013, on the Board of Directors for Fishermen In Support of Heroes (FISH) from 2012 – 2013 and the Marine Fisheries Advisory Board for the Brunswick County Commissioners from 2013 to 2015. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the North Carolina Saltwater Fishing Tournament for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, the board of directors for the Long Bay Artificial Reef Association, the board of directors for the North Carolina Public Access Foundation. He served as Tournament Director for the King of the Cape Classic King Mackerel Tournament from 2002 through 2007, on the Long Bay Lady Angler Tournament Committee from 2005-2008 and as tournament coordinator Brunswick Islands Saltwater Classic from 2009 to 2013. Furthermore, he maintains an information web site, www.captjerry.com, which offers fishing tips, current fishing reports, and more.
Capt. Dilsaver’s real love is teaching others how to fish so they can enjoy their time on the water as he has. When you attend a seminar given by Capt. Dilsaver, expect to learn a lot of “when, where, what, why, and how”. His knowledge is based on more than 40 years of recreational fishing, 25 years of tournament fishing, 10 years as a commercial fisherman, and is tempered by more than 25 years of instructing fishing in various formats. Drawing from his many years of fishing the southeast coast, he will often refer to your favorite waters with knowledge that can only have come from personal experience. If you attend a seminar presented by Capt. Dilsaver, don’t hesitate to ask questions—he welcomes them.