Down East

Captain David Willis: You Row a Boat Standing Up

Menhaden captain David Willis of Beaufort, NC talks about moving up the ranks of the fishmeal and oil industry, navigating the “dry boat” in the early years. He refers to “whips” and “color”, which are signs of menhaden schools on the water’s surface. The dry boatman helped the captain and crew locate fish until spotter planes made them obsolete. The small craft was rowed standing up, sometimes in the roughest of seas. This was produced as part of the “Raising the Story of Menhaden Fishing” project funded by the NC Humanities Council for the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center, Harkers Island.



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