This is a bittersweet fishing story. This morning as I write, fisherman Mike Pawluk is steaming toward Montauk on the Kirsten Lee, a boat he went ground fishing on for about fourteen years. He fished with Captain Steve Lee and they were friends and still are. They’d been through changing fishing regulations together, documenting days at sea, to the quotas and catch share plans. Shrimping closed a few years ago. Mike says the fish weren’t there. The Gulf of Maine was warming. And it was hard not to pull up cod which is restricted. Long long story short. The Kirsten Lee is sold to people on Long Island. Mike was my technical expert on all things fishing as I wrote the story of Johnny, a NH fisherman, and Sofie, his daughter in my novel that comes out this week, Either the Beginning or the End of the World. He told me so many things about the moon and he’ll do this journey on the day of the super moon when it will be enormous and red. The sweet part: Mike got his own boat, a small boat, and he’s had the best season lobstering in his years of fishing.
Here’s an interview Tammi Truax and I did with Mike for WSCA Radio’s “Seacoast Journal”
One day when Mike and a crewman were fishing on the Kirsten Lee 40 miles off Chincoteague. The crewman became sick and had to be airlifted by a Coast Guard helicopter from the boat. Here’s a picture of the Kirsten Lee from above, taken by the rescue team in the helicopter.
You can hear many fisherman tell their stories. My daughter, Elizabeth Farish, collected oral histories of New Hampshire fishermen when she was Regional Site Manager for Historic New England, based in Portsmouth.