Jan 12, 2013

"So you want to be a lobster fisherman?"

"So you want to be a lobster fisherman?"

 Says Cpt as he peers out of his wheelhouse at the first mate and I working the trap on the washboard. We're just about done a row of traps and the weather is turning for the worse. Every time you look up from the deck work you realize just what it looks like out there and every now and then it's best just to tuck your head back down and stay focused on the floating boat.

All smiles on a chilly day!

 We fish where no one else does and the danger factor goes up ten fold because of it. This is my second boat with this crew. Totally different experience and I love that I was in the right place, performing at the right level to get on board. The first boat we fished fast, hard and deep...Cpt closed the wheelhouse door unless he was yelling at someone or saying good morning, or sharing a joke...but he was all production. Reminded me of my first "real job" working in the kitchen in Calgary. All production, low pay but for the select few that responded, a lifetime of experience.

 The boat I'm on now...and you won't ever hear the boat name or where we fish, those are the cpts secrets and mine....it's more like working not with a mentor but with a father figure. I don't know how else to explain it. Cpt is concerned with the crew, the first day I heard "Come in out of the cold" I came in and made a joke "I've never heard that before"...on the first boat only one day did we go into the slaughterhouse to escape the conditions and if I could show you a video of what it looked from out the front window of the boat you'd probably get seasick...it was "unworkable" and one of the 2 or three days in the entire season we had to shut it down.

 But the boat now is smaller, it's all wood instead of fibreglass. That makes it slippery as a holy...I don't even know what to call it. When it's icy on deck I do the old man shuffle, then the desperate grab and when and if I do find some stable footing I stick that as hard as I can and thank the deck for giving me a little love.

You can't beat these shorelines for scenic views...
 The first mate loves to watch me flop around in the cuddy during rough weather. On this boat we keep the lobster inside the cuddy so there is a lot more running to do. Here is an order of operations for pulling a set of pairs...................................................................................................................

 Actually I got tired just writing those out and had to abort the mission. It sounds like a lot of running when I say it...it feels like even more when I try to write it out. Needless to say as long as the boat is moving...so are you until the Cpt or the First tell you differently!

First mate standing watch!!
 Now let's be honest...the money this first season was similar to how much I used to get paid to be the MMMuffin Man mascot on the side of the road in Calgary when I was 14. No shit, no lies and no jokes...worst money per hour I've ever been paid in my adult life. Throw on the actual risk of injury or death and many friends are just wondering...wtf Bri?! That being said...you've got to be more than just a willing body to be worth anything...period... and in the first few weeks I truly brought nothing to the table outside of a mobile vessel to take a beating and a wild eyed amazement for just where I was and what I was doing. My friend Minki back home would be disgusted that after so many years of camping none of her knot prowess wore off on me at all. Swear to something that I am knot dyslexic because about the only knot I'm knocking off with frequent accuracy is the square knot ;) (and the cow hitch)...but the others are coming. I just don't want them to trust me with tying up the boat and safely lashing the deck items down....yet
Risk of freezing spray...

 But on top of everything there is one thing that you can't get anywhere else...the view. I am so looking forward to being out there in late May, Tshirt on, sun blazing down. No freezing spray, no icy deck, no blustery -40 winds...they say if you can make it through the winter...the summer is a lot kinder weather wise! So I'm crossing my fingers for record hauls, delicious sunshine and of course more My Time My Way experiences!!

  For lobster unlike some other ocean species it seems like there is no end to their production. One spawning female contains up multiple thousand spawn

female lobster protect the eggs by curling up the tales....it take about 7 yrs for a lobster to mature enough to eat
  and even though 90% never make it through the phase where they are as big as plankton the numbers appear to not be dwindling no matter how much lobster is trapped.The Bay of Fundy has different rules than other coastal lines. No shorts, no spawns (although I believe that is universal) and only two seasons a year. There are other areas that are open 365 with the ability to take and sell shorts. Shorts for those that don't know are lobster whose body is not long enough to qualify. They are supposed to be the sweetest meat but since I'm here in NB where shorts are not allowed I may never know. However the millions of pound brought in by atlantic Nova Scotian fisherman alone is an indication of lobster production because they have been hauling like that for years. However there is a downside..more lobster means less price. This year was one of the lowest year bottoming out somewhere around 2.50lb. What a change from 7-9$ lb just a few years ago. From rich to figuring out how to make it...the life of today's cpt's and boat owners is a different story. Same work to be done whether they are paying $100lb or .50...so only the smart cpt's make it through the messy spots.

 I wanted more pictures of the deck work but really it's a crew and you can't sit around pausing to take pictures while your fellow crew works their ass off. I managed to get some scenic shots but no lobster shots...that sort of sucks but I will be on board in the spring with a gopro hopefully and will get some good stuff.

 I was looking on youtube for some videos of what the boat is like but frankly it seems like every single boat does it differently. So I found this video...thought it was pretty good. It's in french so you have to read subtitles...which these days I'm realizing if I do I actually learn more...just something I'm seeing in me.

 Am I a fisherman? Not yet...but am I a part of this crew? Yes. I earned my spot, their respect and they mine. Will I be a fisherman? ;) Life is long is my favourite new motto!!!!

still got junk on my camera lens...anyone with a spare camera willing to send it out to me? ;)


  1. Nice to read about your adventures Brian! Sounds amazing, thanks for sharing. And I agree life is long..there are many adventures waiting to be experienced!

    1. You had an amazing 2012 yourself!! Can't wait to see what you get up to in 2013!! Big love to you cuz!!!

  2. Brian
    Looks like we're going to have to make you an Honourary New Brunswicker!



  3. If you ain't a salty dawg yet, you soon will be my friend... good one.

    1. You helped create this salty dawg!! Cheers TK and thanks for everything along the way!!


Thank you!